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Jack Sharkey: Swamp Things, Rope Swings, and being a Jarvis Baddie

August 6, 2010

Jack Sharkey is a bad man. In Jarvis, that is. Sharkey attacked our questions with gusto.*

Tell us a little about Kyle Nordlund.

I like to think of Nordlund as someone who read a bit of Calvinism and took the argument that because everything is predestined we have the right to do whatever we want a bit too literally.

Nordlund’s pretty despicable. How do you get in the headspace of the character?

It actually wasn’t that hard, horrible as that may sound! I’ve been playing villains onstage for a while (actually I can’t remember the last time I played a good guy onstage). For the most part, I took a look at myself and went “So if I had too much money, no role models, and no morals, what would I be like?” The biggest thing to playing Nordlund is going offstage and immediately cracking a joke at the character’s expense. Helps me keep things in perspective.

What’s your most memorable Jarvis moment?

James’s smoshing [as Jimmy McFadden]. At any point. I always say to myself “That’s the funny” when he hits someone with that bright green bat.

How did you get involved in this crazy world of theater?

Back in high school we did a show called Wiley and the Hairy Man. Great tale about a little boy named Wiley who has to deal with (you guessed it) the Hairy Man. Our teacher was a lovely woman named Kate Hamm, and decided that the show needed to be tweaked. So rather than just having Wiley, his mother, and the Hairy Man, she had about twelve of us act as the swamp and the Hairy Man, Cirque du Soleil style. She actually brought in a former Cirque company member named Bruce to help direct us. I remember distinctly as I was swinging from one two-story-tall rope lattice to another thinking “You know, I could do this for the rest of my life.” And since then I’ve always wanted to be an actor.

If I’m not acting, I’m ____________.”

Geeking out with some Marian Call music and a Vertigo comic.

Dream role?
That one seems to change every time I read a new play! But for right now, it’s Tupolski from McDonagh’s
The Pillowman.

Tell us a little about the whole teaching Shakespeare to wee ones thing.

There was certainly the initial “You want me to teach eighth graders WHAT?!” But it was actually much easier and far more fun than it sounds. We taught them iambic pentameter by making them walk like pirates, how to write like Shakespeare by writing “Yo mama” insults in couplets and having them explain all the naughty jokes when Mercutio and Benvolio are trying to find Romeo right before the balcony scene.

It's AD's version of Where's Waldo: Find Sharkey! Hint: Awesome hair.

I remember distinctly as I was swinging from one two-story-tall rope lattice to another thinking “You know, I could do this for the rest of my life.” And since then I’ve always wanted to be an actor.

Did you have any cursed moments as the lead character in the Scottish play?

Oh yeah! Never used to believe in “The Curse.” But after I broke my hand during the rehearsal process, Lady M cut her foot open during final dress, and one of our witches broke her leg on opening night, I totally believe in that and just about any other theatre curse.

Who do you consider a modern-day demigod? Why?

Joss Whedon. He’s got a cult, a gift given by the gods, and knows everything there is to know about human nature.

*Sorry. Had to.

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