Catching up with Daniel Stevens from LA currently performing in “ADDICTION: the Untold Story”
Tell us about yourself and why you’re here:
I’m an actor from LA working in my 1st ever Fringe Theatre Production. I normally work in films but like most of us have to work elsewhere to subside my work. So I also work for a company called “Task Rabbit” which is like an Uber Service supplying Handy Men. I think you have Task Rabbit here now in the UK?
Is this your 1st time in Edinburgh and are you enjoying the experience?
We’re all having a great time here. It’s our 1st production on the Festival circuit and our Executive Producer is hoping it will be the start of a tour of the Festivals. Everyone has been so welcoming and friendly. Our company “Artistic Diversity Alliance” is non-profit so we’re all here for the experience which has been great.
How did you come to be involved in this production?
It all happened so fast! I was hired at the last minute, just 2 weeks before we left LA to come here! I spotted the casting call on Craig’s List and applied.
Were there many applications via Craig’s list?
I don’t know, it was a private audition so I didn’t find out about the competition.
The play tackles the thorny issue of #ME TOO so what are your thoughts on this subject?
Well we’ve discussed this amongst the cast and none of us have experienced anything like this personally. I’m sure ity has happened and the actors now coming forward must be relieved to air their feelings.
Are there any other plays here at the Fringe Festival tackling the #metoo scandal?
I haven’t seen anything advertising this so far, but there are a lot of plays I want to see while I’m here!
While playing Mario Burns you’re objectified by one of the other characters playing a Director role and you’re required to strip naked about 6 times.
Well it was certainly a unique experience. I’ve never done anything like this before! Nothing in my life had prepared me for playing such a role. We discussed issues surrounding the context and the thought of getting naked was a bit scary. I didn’t actually strip off in front of the cast until 3 days before we opened. There was never any pressure to do so on a particular time or date but one day I decided “now or never” and went for it. I’m now completely comfortable being naked and wonder why I was previously so nervous about doing so. It’s no longer any big deal.
How did it feel to play Mario and be the subject of this abuse?
It does make you think doesn’t it. It was handled very professionally by our Director so I never really struggled personally with being abused in the play during our rehearsals. But also, Mario doesn’t come across as a victim, he has his own agenda.
Mario Burns adds an interesting twist to the play by using the abuse to his advantage. This came across as brave and perhaps a little controversial?
Well it’s interesting that my character Mario, although he’s being abused, he does go along with the abuse. There’s a realization within Mario that this could be advantageous. Mario is probably strong enough to say no if he wanted to. The power trip to be able to demand Mario gets naked on a whim, and generally when he’s alone with the Director, is actually the Director’s weakness that can be used as a weapon for getting future work and cast into other roles.
Do you think this is in any way realistic in the #metoo scandals?
Undoubtedly careers have been progressed by the casting couch process. It shouldn’t have happened. But perhaps not every situation is as black and white as you’d initially suspect – there will be grey areas when it comes to the manipulation. The abuse has undoubtedly happened on a fairly regular basis but sometimes you might ask “Who’s manipulating who?” This play bravely presents another angle to this issue.
ADDICTION: the Untold Story
Tickets: click here
“Inspired by a true events, a young black woman rises to power in the Hollywood entertainment industry while suffering through an illness. She also deals with a sister with her own dark secret, and a fiancee with a major drug habit. A drama sprinkled with some audience suggested improv and light comedy, it maintains fully scripted theatre. Addiction deals with sex addiction head on, as well as other addictions in the world and abuse generated by those in power.”
EQUITY ACTORS UNION is here to support performers who may have been affected by some of the issues covered within this play. Equity has four offices located in the United Kingdom:
Members and non-members with queries regarding membership can call 020 7670 0207 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
EQUITY UK GUIDELINES FOR CASTING: Click here