Patrick Ervell F2014 via Style.com
I spend most of my money on food and clothing. I think it’s safe to assume that as I earn more money, I will increase my expenditure on finer food and finer clothing. So, true to the broke kid in me, I have begun browsing my favorite designers in anticipation of said increased expenditure.
He’s dancing with words.
I’m doing a horrible job at keeping this up. Lemme fix that. Enjoy this short film I shot today called “The Long Ride Toward Trenton” written/directed by/starring me and co-starring the NJ Transit automated conductor voice.
During the summers of 2005 and 2009 I spent time in England training with unforgettable mentors at the British American Drama Academy. BADA, as it’s better known, has fueled so much of my passion for theater and provided key experiences that have shaped the professional I am today. I was really honored that David Byron asked to interview me for their alumni newsletter, check it out.
DAVID: You graduated Juilliard only two years ago, but you’ve covered a remarkable amount of ground since then, having acted in four productions in the past year alone. How’ve you managed to hit the ground running?
CHRIS: To be honest, it kind of comes back to a chat I had at BADA in Oxford in 2009. Toward the end of my time there it occurred to me that, while I was having the time of my life I was also starting to worry about life after school. So I wanted to get some advice. One day I sat down with the Dean of the school, Ian Wooldridge, for dinner. I remember feeling pretty tough sitting at the teachers’ table at the time - especially when the dining hall looked like Hogwarts and the faculty were a comparable league of wizards, if you know what I mean.
I was like, “Man, I’m about to graduate next year, what kind of wisdom do you have for me?” He thought about it a little bit and finally said, “Look. Don’t be an amoeba, floating along. Make things happen.” He referenced Tarell McCraney, a BADA alum who had talked to us earlier that day, as an example of a self-starter (and, you know, RSC playwright-in-residence, winner of a ‘Genius Grant’… no big deal!). At first I didn’t know what he meant. In my head I’m like WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? I’M AN ACTOR — NOT EVERYONE CAN STUNT AT THE RSC! I JUST WANNA MAKE IT, MANNNN! But out loud I’m like “Thanks, Ian!”
Fast forward to now: man is my life different. Like I honestly had no idea what to expect after graduation, but after highs and lows, I can finally say I understand what Ian meant, in my bones. I’m literally living like I’m dying. Like, I could die tomorrow and be like, “At least I didn’t waste no time.” Not just work-related, but every minute of my day, in every aspect of my life. It guides my life.
Don’t scale it back.
According to this list, HONKY was the #1 off-off-Broadway play of 2013. Since I was in HONKY, I’mma go ahead and say I like this list.
Did a little radio interview - my first actually - with Ray Andrewson for the WQUN Morning Show about Fences. Was very sleepy, but hey, I had fun.
I love reading James Baldwin just as much as I love listening to and watching him. Here, Jim on the triumphs and limitations of his (still living) contemporaries in social justice, Malcom X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., plus the question which the future of our nation depends on.
Just put out my very first newsletter two minutes ago. Strangely anxious feeling about self promoting to that many peoples inboxes. View it here if you didn’t get one. You can also click that subscribe button in the upper right to join up.
Me, my little sister (Taylor Dior) with a photobomb by my big brother (Jared McNeil) rehearsalgram for Fences at The Long Wharf (via Instagram).
And hey PS - you can get $5 off from your ticket purchase at The Long Wharf theatre if your use code “EBFENCES” before Nov 22!
It has begun!
I’ve just started rehearsal for August Wilson’s Fences directed by Phylicia Rashad, playing the role of Cory. It’s a co-production between the Long Warf Theatre & McCarter Theatre - which means you have two opportunities to catch this bad boy. It’s a close trip for NYC residents to either New Haven or Princeton. Find tickets to your liking here (Long Wharf) and here (McCarter).
I’m genuinely looking forward to do the best work of my career so far with this one, so please come check this out!
I watched a video last year where a guy set a video camera on a tripod in front of Monet’s Water Lillies at The Orangerie for the duration of the museums open hours and left it alone to record. The footage was astounding. The overwhelming majority of people seemed to barely stop to look at this epic work of art, rather, they merely paused in front of it for a picture. Sometimes, it was only a quick (yuck) selfie and they were off to the next.
I wonder if people would go all the way to a museum and exhibit such bizarre and disinterested behavior without the ease of camera phones, social media self-publication, and the culture that comes with it. My reaction to what I saw in the video was, while clearly these people don’t care about the art before them, you have to wonder about who they think cares about the picture they will soon upload. The conclusion I come to, however incomplete, is that in this culture scenario, nobody cares. The experience begins as quickly as it ends, a photo for the sake of it self, mere “content” to forge a more ideal vision of self, to be witnessed and then forgotten.
But what I didn’t ask is - why do we do this? After watching Louis CK recently on Conan and now this, I’m increasingly confident that the reason is indeed loneliness.