THE PROFESSOR talks about the perils of original thinking at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Name of Edinburgh show: The Professor
Venue: Drawing Room, Assembly Theatre, Assembly Rooms on George Street
Performance time: 3:20pm
Show length: 60 minutes
Ticket price: £13 / £12
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I’m an American living in London and this will be my 15th year performing at the Edinburgh festival. I’ve also worked in the West End playing opposite Martin Shaw and the great Robert Vaughn in 12 Angry Men. I’ve done a lot of international touring: Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Holland, Canada, Ireland and around the UK.
Tell me about your new show, what it is all about?
The Professor is the farewell lecture of a teacher who’s faced some pressure for how he sees the world. It’s a very funny show about the perils of original thinking.
How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2019?
In an age of unreliable narrators and clearly outlandish claims can we ever be sure of what’s true and what’s not? What’s possible and what’s not? After seeing this show the audience may just believe that anything is possible.
Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
I’ve never liked the oft used phrase “surviving the fringe”. What’s to survive? You mean like surviving a day at the beach? Winning the lottery? Pursuing your life’s dream? The best way to survive the fringe is to not think too much about how all things must come to an end.
What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
I was doing a solo show in Oxford and while delivering the denouement, two young women suddenly got up from their seats in the front row, sat in the chair that was behind me and struck a tableaux of lesbian vamps, which they held straight through to the end.
Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
Reed Birney. He won Tony Award for his performance in The Humans a couple of years ago when in his 50s. He’d had success in his early 20s but then struggled for 30 years. But he kept at it and kept at it and he’s now one of the most respected actors in the US. He was always a great actor but his time in the wilderness may have had everything to do with his becoming an extraordinary one.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I hide in the corner and weep like a child.
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
The Shark is Broken by Ian Shaw. He’s playing his father Robert Shaw in a behind the scenes story of the making of JAWS based on Shaw’s personal diary. Also, I want to see the stand up show Dan Soder: Son of a Gary.
Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
Because I have mouths to feed, for the love of Mike!!
Thanks for having Tea With Wilma
FOLLOW WEST END WILMA