Stephen Peirick is local St. Louis actor, playwright and director who is looking forward to an exciting (and busy) 2017. Next year, he will be appearing in A Doll’s House with Stray Dog Theatre in February and in August: Osage County with St. Louis Actor’s Studio in April. Next January, his play Wake Up, Cameron Dobbs will open with Kirkwood Theatre Guild and his short play, Screaming, will open as part of the 2017 Pick of the Vine festival with Little Fish Theatre in San Pedro, CA. His latest full-length play, Monsters, will have its World-Premiere as part of Stray Dog Theatre’s season in June. And next fall, he’ll join Take Two Productions to direct one of his favorite shows: Next to Normal.
Q: What was your first experience in theatre?
A: We did Christmas plays throughout my grade school years, that I always looked forward to. But my first “real” theatre experience was as a freshman in high school. I played a police officer/witness in Union High School’s production of Night of January 16th by Ayn Rand. And I was hooked.
Q: What is the best piece of career advice anyone has ever given you?
A: Never take rejection personally. Which is a hard lesson to learn – but, you have to if working in this discipline. There are so many things in the audition process that we, as actors, cannot control. You may be incredibly talented but can be ruled out on height, age, look, or simply because another actor worked better in the director’s vision of the show…I’ve been too unattractive for roles, too handsome for others; too heavy for some characters, but too thin for others. I can’t control any of those things. So I’ve adjusted my approach and developed a thick skin. Now I simply try to focus on giving my best audition. I work, I prepare, and I do everything in my power to deliver the audition that I want a director to see. And then, when I walk out the door, I leave it behind. I try not to focus on those “coulda, woulda, shoulda” thoughts.
And it’s the same thing when submitting a play to an opportunity. I’ll read the submission guidelines and put forth my best work, the one that I think best fits what a theatre is looking for…with the understanding that once I’ve hit the “submit” button, I’ve done all I can do.
Q: Tell us about a backstage or onstage mishap you lived through.
A: In college, I was doing a production of The Actor’s Nightmare. In that production, I played a character who got slapped across the face several times. In one performance, the actress who slapped me wore a ring that was a smidge loose, and it rotated on her hand to where the stone part of the ring was on the inner part of her fingers, instead of the outer. When she slapped me, the stone cut my face and I bled a bit through the rest of the show.
Q: What is your dream role/show?
A: As an actor, I have several: Ned Weeks in The Normal Heart, Pastor Greg in Hand to God, Proctor in The Crucible, Freddy/Phillip in Noises Off, Walker/Ned in Three Days of Rain.
As a director, Next to Normal (which I get to tackle next year) and The House of Yes.
Q: What is your current guilty TV Pleasure?
A: Survivor. And old episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Veronica Mars.
Thank you Stephen- can’t wait to see your work!!
Grace Austin is an STL area director and educator. See her work at gracemaustin.com
**DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in this post are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of THE SCENE SHOP.
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