Ashland Contemporary Theatre's current production of Tom Dudzik's comedy "Greetings," now playing at the Ashland Community Center, features Levi Anderson as Andy Gorsky, a young man who brings his fiancée home to meet his family only to encounter a surprising situation.
Anderson, a Southern Oregon University graduate, works in film and video as a key grip and cameraman. He is fairly new to acting. We chatted on a snowy day at Downtown Coffee in Talent.
EH: You've done some acting?
LA: Only on camera in independent films and videos. My friend Ross Williams has X-RATS productions; they do local commercials and internet videos. We did a 10-minute short film that was released this year called "Self-Inflicted." That was my first leading role. I played a sadomasochistic character that is always beating himself up. He is struggling, looking for love, so he is trying to find and date a nice girl; but all of the women he meets are weirded out because he's always covered in bruises and cuts. It's kind of a dark comedy. Before that, I did slapstick comedy in little web video skits. There's a recurring one, where I get chased by zombies. In the first skit, I eat this energy bar made for people on the run from zombies. We made a follow-up to that where I find this energy drink made for people on the run from zombies, and then there's one where I find this rancid old hot dog, and I eat that. Basically the theme is that I get this gastrointestinal discomfort from whatever I've eaten or drank. I get away from the zombies with explosive diarrhea. In those videos, I have no lines, I just run and make funny faces and pretend to explode.
EH: Are there any videos that we can look up on the internet?
LA: There's "Gogbar" and then "Gogjuice" and then "Gogdawg." One of those got second place in a Medford Mail Tribune contest. This summer I also played a sadistic serial killer. This was a feature called "Creeper." It should be out this winter.
EH: What brings you to acting in theater?
LA: I've always had an itch to be an actor. At SOU I studied film and video. It was open-door. You had creative control. They gave you all this motivation to create. I started writing and directing all my own stuff, always comedy. I love comedy. And then I wrote a series called "I Kappa Foo." It was just a blast. There was a lot of improvisation. We had written a script, but once we were shooting, we let the guys go crazy with it. We all just had a ton of fun. It was hilarious. Then I started working in film and video because it was, "Ok, I'm good at this, and this is fun, and I can actually make a career in it." I took the avenue of just doing silly skits with my buddies as an excuse to be on camera again. With all these video skits, there is not a lot of rehearsal, and there are no deep story lines or character development. With theater I can actually put work into it, take it beyond having fun, work on the craft, and see if I can develop some good acting skills.
"Greetings," by Tom Dudzick and directed by Evalyn Hansen, plays Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. for the next two weekends, Dec. 21, 22, 28 and 29, presented by Ashland Contemporary Theatre at Ashland Community Center, 59 Winburn Way. Tickets are available at Paddington Station in Ashland and Grocery Outlet in Medford, or at www.ashlandcontemporarytheatre.org. Reservation line: 541-646-2971.
Evalyn Hansen is a writer and director living in Ashland. She trained as an actor at the American Conservatory Theatre and is a founding member of San Francisco's Magic Theatre. Reach her at email@example.com.