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Artist Profile: Matt Lunsford


Name: Matt Lunsford

Age: 29

Hometown: Blackwater, England

Current residence: South Tampa, Florida

First Jobsite project:The Nature Of Fear And It’s Effects

Favorite show you’ve ever worked on: I have to say my favorite show is this one, The Pillowman. It’s the best script I’ve ever read, or closest to my own sensibilities as a performer anyway, and the process so far has been a wonderful experience in collaboration (apart from the other actors who won’t talk to me off stage, and that one time the director cut my brake cable, which I’m pretty sure was a practical joke, and the hospital stay was very pleasant indeed).

Last show you did in the area: Romeo & Juliet – Alleycat Players

Tell us a little about the character you play in The Pillowman: Detective Tupolski enjoys meeting new people, displaying his extensive knowledge of the guide books about interrogation and origami, and endearing himself to people who, on the surface, might not seem to deserve it. He is a charmingly sinister retalient, but he has a beautiful singing voice. My
only regret is that he doesn’t get to use it in this show.

What do you like about working with Jobsite? Working with Jobsite has always been just like hanging out with good friends doing what we all love to do, except instead of compiling lists of movie titles with one word replaced with a vulgarity (Raiders Of The Lost %$#@; One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s $%*&), or rolling out tired and, to be honest, poor impressions of Christopher Walken or Carl from Slingblade, or drawing ludicrous facial hair on the sleeping drunkard in the corner with a Sharpie, we end up producing great theatre and have a lot of fun doing it.

Any story you’d like to share about the rehearsal process? Well, one evening on break I was doing my Walken saying “Priscilla, Queen Of The *&%#” when I heard someone say, “Ah Laack the way you tawk, mmm hmm!” and received a bang on the head and woke up with an inky handlebar moustache and mutton chops.

Also, David Jenkins let us all know that the pauses in the script are very important, so we should always honor them, and give them the uncomfortable awkward time they deserve, because they really lend weight to the battle of wills on stage. So during rehearsal I would stick with my pauses for an excruciating amount of time, and invariably either Steve (Garland –
Katurian) or Ryan (McCarthy – Detective Ariel) would start their next line, or think they must be forgetting something and call for line, and I would have to inform them I was still pausing, for dramatic effect, and they would check their watches, sigh loudly, make tea, or cook a roast dinner until I was finished doing what could be described as “Richard Burtoning the pauses”. Chewing on the set, basically. Being made completely of ham and cheese.

Why do you think people should come see The Pillowman? This play is an incredibly clever story. It allows, even requests of, the audience to be smart, and to ask questions. Questions about the characters, about themselves, and about society. The play does this without EVER getting up on a soap box and TELLING the audience what to think, or what “The Message” might be. Because I hate that. This play is very funny. The playwright, Martin McDonagh, has managed to write a play that deals with serious issues while being extremely funny, and at times disconcertingly so. One may find oneself laughing right into a very serious moment. Just when the audience thinks it knows where this play is going, it twists in another direction and takes them by surprise. That’s extremely difficult, and he’s done it with seemingly effortless precision. It is simply unmissable.

Dependants of ignorance: Some fish live in my house, luckily in a tank, but be assured I have not taught them to drive it for safety reasons. Their most surprising feature, as voiced by my relatives regularly, is that they are still alive. I love them, and they don’t mind me too much.

Top 5 books: Jitterbug Perfume, by Tom Robbins. A Prayer For Owen Meany, and Hotel New Hampshire, both by John Irving. Narcissus And Goldmund, by Hermann Hesse. The Underachiever’s Manifesto, by Ray Bennet, M.D. It’s good so far, but I haven’t picked it up in a while.

Top 5 movies: The Big Lebowski. The Life Of Brian. Twelve Angry Men. Ghostbusters. Nuts In May.

Top 5 bands: The Shins. The Beatles. Radiohead. The Divine Comedy. Sting-a-ling ling.

Favorite quote: “Those who can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – BenjaminFranklin, 1759.

Favorite local spots: My girlfriend’s house; Mad Dogs And Englishmen – fish and chips; The Publix on Nebraska in Seminole Heights for the people-watching; my uncle and aunt’s guest house.

Favorite vacation spot: Key West/Switzerland. It’s a draw.

Hobbies: Painting and doing drawings. Making my girlfriend snort with laughter, which I’ve done TWICE! Writing. Woodwork. Playing the only song I know on the piano, over and over and over again.

Heroes/Role Models: Hmm. Well, if Atticus Finch, the Dalai Lama, Eddie Izzard and Monty Python could be squeezed into one being and still be comfortable, then that being would be my hero, above and beyond achieving that impossible feat. Or Jethroe the Dog, because he’s been through a lot, but still wags his tail a great deal, and never complains.

Anything else to add? Well, I’d like to thank David Jenkins for casting me in The Pillowman, and for his excellent direction, not only because I know he’ll read this, but also because I am genuinely massively grateful to him for giving me this opportunity. I’d like to thank Jobsite for being such a good company to work for and with – solid, quality theatre is hard to come by, anywhere, and these guys are doing a sterling job of creating wonderfully entertaining, engaging work again and again.

I’d like to thank most of all my wonderful girlfriend Kari for all the help she’s given me, and all the support throughout this rehearsal process, and throughout our relationship. She has, literally and figuratively, bent over backwards for me, and that’s incredibly generous behavior.

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