Gerry Rodriguez tells us about “It Can’t Happen Here” (currently playing at Berkeley Rep), getting shout outs from Jake Gyllenhaal and Jon Hamm, and the time he acted so well he made an audience member faint.
InViolet: How do you identify in the theater world?
Gerry: Actor/fight director/occasional director
InViolet: Tell us about your journey with InViolet so far.
Gerry: I was asked to participate in a theatre retreat by Bernardo Cubria for a company called InViolet about 4 years ago. I had heard of the name but knew very little about the company. My wife Marguerite Stimpson was also asked to go, so I said sure, why not. It was an incredible retreat and haven’t looked back since. Thanks for having me…
InViolet: What’s your favorite InViolet memory?
Gerry: Oof, hard to choose from but I’ll give it a shot. I know you asked for a “memory” not “memories” but I have to name a few, because they are so great! Top of the list, putting my hands down Joe Mancuso’s pants (really everyone should be doing that) because have you met Joe? Acting as a scrotum-less hustler hitting on a phlebotomist (played by Jen Bowen) in Erin Mallon’s 10-minute play, as an audience member proceeds to faint. My current favorite is acting in Bernardo’s play “Neighbors.”
InViolet: You are currently acting in “It Can’t Happen Here” at Berkeley Rep. Tell us all about it! And – ahem – Jon Hamm and Jake Gyllenhaal performed a scene from it at the Broadway Fundraiser for Hillary??
Gerry: Yes, it’s a new adaptation of a Sinclair Lewis novel by the same name. The original adaptation was produced by the Federal Theater Project in 1936. The play was performed in 17 states and in several languages simultaneously on the same night. It takes place in 1936 Vermont, and it was a satire written at the time as a reaction to Huey Long. It the plots a course as to what might have happened if the Huey- like character had taken office instead of FDR. Angela Razzano, co-artistic director of InViolet brought it to my attention that Jon Hamm and Jake Gyllenhaal performed excerpts from our play on Broadway Live – a campaign for Hillary. It was pretty great to watch the words of our play being performed, especially during this political climate. Couldn’t be more proud to be part of this production.
InViolet: You gave one hell of a performance as José in Bernardo Cubria’s “Neighbors” at InViolet’s Play Fest this past June. That guy seems to be in your blood! What’s it like working on this role? (PS – We’d love to see you in a full production of this play one day).
Gerry: Thank you! I love that character and play. José is a great character and a once in a lifetime type of role for me. Sometimes some characters fit and sometimes they don’t I guess. I feel honored every time I get to be him. Thank you, Bernardo. I would also love to do the full production of this play.
InViolet: You have a longstanding relationship with INTAR Theatre, led by the amazing Lou Moreno. Tell us about being part of that community.
Gerry: INTAR is an off-Broadway theatre that has been producing Latino voices since 1966. I was first introduced to INTAR by Daniel Jaques who is a wonderful director. Then brought on board to co-teach movement workshops with the guru himself David Anzuelo (if you don’t know who he is you should). Subsequently working with current artistic director Lou Moreno on several projects. Lou is a champion of talent and an incredible voice of not only Latino artists but the theatrical community at large. INTAR has provided me with a home when I really needed one.
InViolet: You and Marguerite Stimpson hold the honorable title of “InViolet Theater Company Married Couple.” It gets extremely uncomfortable for all of us when you make-out during our company meetings. That aside, what’s it like having a partner who is in the business as you are?
Gerry: I didn’t know we had a title. Don’t be jealous now… It’s great to have my wife in the same company because it allows the opportunity for us to work on something together, which rarely ever happens outside of the company. It’s also nice to have a partner in the same business because there is an immediate understanding of each other.
InViolet: If you could choose one childhood Halloween costume of yours to revisit as an adult, which would it be?
Gerry: I would like to revisit my Dracula and ninja costumes. I’m thinking of a combination of the two. Dracula-on-the-top and a ninja-on-the-bottom type of action. A ninja with a cape, what’s cooler than that?
InViolet: What’s up next for you?
Gerry: Finishing up my run of the “It Can’t Happen Here” and getting ready to go back to NYC!
Facebook: gerardo rodriguez (careful because there are many)