Versatile actor Dan Domingues (he plays female serial killers! unrepentant assholes! aggressive life coaches!) talks about his obsession with horror films, his love for his A.R.T. classmates (and fellow Invi members) Nurit, Gerry and Marguerite, his latest show at Abingdon and his new podcast!
InViolet: How do you identify in the theater world?
Dan: I identify as a theater actor. I love rehearsal, I love tech, I love opening nights. I love sharing a show with a different group of people every night. It still seems like magic a little bit to me. I still have yet to find the comfort and sense of excitement on a film and TV set that I do on a stage.
InViolet: Give us the skinny on your InViolet journey so far.
Dan: Well, I’ve been an official company member for about 9 months give or take but I’ve been excitedly circling InViolet for about two years. Marguerite Stimpson and Gerry Rodriguez invited me to an InVi Christmas party a while back and that introduced me to who and what InVi was. My first event as a company member was a One Night Stand play written by the incomparable Bixby Elliott where I got to play a female serial killer and that was a thrill.
InViolet: Have a favorite InViolet memory you can share?
Dan: I loved seeing the full productions Branched and Sommerfugl because they were so fully realized. You get used to seeing shows in NY with a lot of ambition but perhaps not the talent or resources to pull it off. Both Branched and Sommerfugl were so impressive because from the bottom up, there wasn’t a weak leak. Great acting, impeccable technical elements, a passionate audience base — I knew I was watching people who cared about what they did and would stop at nothing to realize it.
InViolet: Last year you tore up the stage in J. Julian Christopher’s The Locusts Have No King at INTAR (also featuring InVi member John Concado). We had a little row of InViolets there to see you one night and we lost our minds with how good you were. What was that whole process like?
Dan: Having InVis there was very special to me. They are the MOST supportive group of people. And thank you for the kind words. Yes, we loved doing that show. But we were terrible to John. In the play, he was the character that got the most abuse and that bled into our offstage relationship. The thing is John is just THE sweetest guy — he has an openness and an eagerness to make every moment count and the rest of us were jaded old bastards so he was easy pickins.’ But that play had a wild journey. It was originally going to happen in the fall of 2014 but was canceled. A year and a half later, Lou Moreno of INTAR (another gem of a guy, just love him) put it back in the season. We lost our original director and several actors but got the genius young director David Mendizabal, John and the beautiful Liam Torres on board and the rest was a joy. It was a dream to work at INTAR — a rite of passage for any Hispanic actor in NY — and our playwright J. Julian was wonderful. I was grateful to be in that show because the guy I played was an unrepentant asshole and that’s not something I get a chance to play often.
InViolet: You have a thing with horror movies, huh? Or perhaps just horror posters? You often put horror movie posters on the social media. You seem like a relatively peaceful guy, so what’s up with the love of gore?
Dan: You’ve opened a Pandora’s Box right there. Get me started on horror movies and I may never shut up. Yep. Guilty as charged. Total horror movie fanatic. It’s my “thing.” Some guys have sports. Some guys have video gaming. Some guys have poker. I have horror movies. My love goes back as far as I can remember. And you’re right, it is antithetical to my character — I think of myself as a pretty non-threatening guy. But there’s an energy, a vitality, a sense of wrongness that draws me to horror. It’s the one genre where anything goes and filmmakers are allowed to be their most creative and outrageous. And I love the art of the horror movie poster. My poster collection, accumulated over 30 years, includes mostly movies from the 70’s and early 80’s — my horror sweet spot — and they’re some of the most vivid one sheets every drawn. Okay, I better stop now…I could go on and on.
InViolet: You went to grad school with several InViolet members, namely Marguerite Stimpson, Gerardo Rodriguez and Nurit Monicelli. Please embarrass them by telling us a story we shouldn’t know.
Dan: Oh, I totally wish I had some dirt on the three of them! But we actually weren’t at the ART program in Boston at the same time. You see they are SO much older than me so they were long gone by the time I got there. But in all seriousness, I’m sure there’s no way anyone could find anything incriminating on those three because they are the kindest, most supportive, positive people I know. Gerry helped me book the show at INTAR last year, Nurit and her husband Tommy were crucial in helping me sign with my new agents and Marguerite and Nurit have championed me to countless directors and writers over the years. And that’s just scratching the surface. They’re the best.
InViolet: A few weeks ago you played a Tony Robbins-like character leading a huge self-help seminar in Erin Mallon’s new play written for The Brooklyn Generator. You were pretty much perfection in the part. Do you have experience telling everyone how to live their lives? How did you channel all that awesome?
Dan: Well, it all starts with the words and when you have Erin Mallon’s words to say, most of your job is already done for you. I am the least bossy or aggressive person you’ll find — I avoid confrontation at any cost. I’m getting better at standing up for myself as I get older but I’m the furthest thing from a Tony Robbins. But that’s the joy of doing what we do — stepping into a skin dissimilar from your own. I did watch the Netflix documentary Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru and that helped. That was a lovely afternoon working on that reading because our director chose to stage the show among the actual audience and I wasn’t sure how it would turn out but the ensemble really rose to the occasion. With only four hours of rehearsal, it all just came together.
InViolet: You’re performing in James Lecesne’s The Mother of Invention at Abingdon Theatre Company until 2/26. We can’t wait to see it! Who do you play? You having a good time with it?
Dan: I’m having a great time in the play so thanks for bringing it up. It’s a comedy about a son and daughter dealing with a mother with Alzheimer’s. Yep, a comedy. As they move her into a care facility, they gather at her home in Florida to clean it out and sell it. But there’s a certain local mechanic who complicates things and I play said mechanic. The play’s a world premiere, which is always exciting, and a little anxiety-producing and it’s one of the first plays being produced at Abingdon under its new artistic director Tony Speciale. Tony is directing us and he’s a smart, generous guy. He’s going to build Abingdon into a force on the off-Broadway scene, mark my words.
InViolet: What’s up next for you?
Dan: I was surprised to discover that a film I shot almost two years ago just premiered at Slamdance! It’s called Future ’38 and maybe that’ll get a release soon. But I’m a free agent come February 26th. In the meantime, check out my movie podcast on iTunes or Google Play. It’s called “Hot Date with Dan and Vicky.” My fellow movie-loving friend Vicky and I pick a random date in history, find an interesting film that came out around that date and talk about it. I was inspired by fellow InVi Bernardo Cubria, who is a podcast master. He’s doing serious, thought-provoking work with his podcast. Ours is much more pop culture but we LOVE doing it.