Friday, November 20, 2015

How a Phantom (Tollbooth) and Spirits Led to Acting Success

Alex Knox in Euyrdice.
Molly Gutman and Knox in the 1995 Theatre Conservatory Players production of Mother Goose on Trial.
For Alex Knox, a stopover at a tollbooth started his path to an acting career, and it began at South Coast Repertory. He was nine years old when bounded onto the stage as Tock the Watchdog in SCR’s Young Conservatory Players’* production of The Phantom Tollbooth. He took his acting lessons to heart and now enjoys a lively career in theatre, film and television.

Knox initially sought out theatre as an opportunity to be part of an ensemble, something he readily found through acting classes in SCR’s Theatre Conservatory.

“We were a team, but without having to compete against other students,” he recalls. “We focused on listening to each other. That was very useful as I started my career and, I have to admit, I loved the group warm up games. That’s where we could jump around, make noise and not get into trouble!”

In 1995, he auditioned for SCR and was cast as Peter Cratchit in A Christmas Carol, a seminal experience for him because he workedworking with founding company members like Hal Landon Jr. as Scrooge, Richard Doyle as the Spirit of Christmas Past and others.

“I remember watching the ‘grownup’ performers waiting backstage quietly for their cues and seeing how sacred each performance was for them,” he remembers. “That taught me what a privilege it was to perform onstage. I still feel that way.”

In 2013, he played Orpheus in SCR’s production of Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice—a performance that earned raves from StageSceneLA, which called him and co-star Carmela Corbett, “two talented, charismatic young actors we are sure to be hearing much more from.”

The 1995 production of A Christmas Carol with Knox, third from left, Hal Landon Jr., John Ellington and Laurie Woolery.
Knox is a member of Antaeus Theatre Company, where he has performed in shows from Macbeth to the hit radio play, “The Thin Man.” He received kudos on both coasts for his one-man show, No Static at All, and he played Freddy in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion at the Pasadena Playhouse. He earned a BFA in acting from the University of California Santa Barbara and his graduate degree from the Yale School of Drama. 

In 2013, he returned to A Christmas Carol as a ‘grownup’—Ebenezer as a Young Man—a role he has again in 2015.

“It’s amazing now to be an example for the young actors. I try to set the tone with a reverence for the theatre, the play and my fellow performers. I also love bonding with the kids. When there’s a sense of fun and trust backstage, that shows up in the play onstage. Being with them all is a great reminder that working in the theatre is fun. There’s a reason it’s called a ‘play.’”

Check out current acting classes at SCR.

*Now called Summer Players

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