An interview with Aaron Holt
By Cheryl Minns, Arts Editor
Rumble Theatre’s Tremors Festival is shaking things up this year with three shows being performed simultaneously in different parts of the Russian Hall in Vancouver on November 12-15. This year’s theme is youth, featuring shows with young characters about the struggles of growing up.
With up-and-coming directors, designers, actors, and more working with local theatre professionals, they will present Harry Gibson’s Trainspotting (about a group of young people in Edinburgh), Hannah Moscovitch’s This is War (about four young Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan), and Sean Graney’s The 4th Graders Present an Unnamed Love-Suicide (about students performing a friend’s play in honour of his death). Tickets are available from $15 at eventbrite.ca.
Aaron Holt, a Douglas College theatre grad, will be performing as class bully Mike Rice in The 4th Graders Present an Unnamed Love-Suicide. The Other Press had the opportunity to interview him about his experience with Tremors, musical theatre, and Douglas College.
How did you get involved with Tremors?
I heard that they were having auditions and, having had the pleasure of working with Stephen Drover before, I jumped at the chance to audition.
How has your experience been working with the theatre professionals?
Sasa Brown and Stephen Drover have been awesome. It’s great to know that you’re not completely alone and that you have someone there to help guide you through the process when you have questions or want to bounce ideas off of someone that has been down this road before.
What is it like to play a fourth grader in The 4th Graders Present?
It is challenging but highly rewarding in that there is so much truth in the way children conduct themselves. They don’t hold much back, which can make this process highly rewarding in some ways and harder than others.
Did you draw inspiration from your childhood for this production?
Yes. I feel like a lot of Mike’s feelings and the things he says I can remember thinking when I was a kid. A lot of the time when I’m stuck, I look back on my own childhood and think, “How did I/my friends/etc. react in a given scenario?” And a lot of the time the answer is right there.
How do you think audiences will react to this show?
Some will laugh, some will cry, and I think it will definitely make audiences think. Despite the fact that we are playing 10-year-olds, there is a lot of depth in this production and people may even see a lot of parallels in these characters with themselves—their hopes, their struggles.
What has your experience in musical theatre been like?
Well, I did two musicals in high school, and then had the opportunity to do Beauty and the Beast earlier this year. But it’s always something I’ve wanted to explore more of. What I’ve had the opportunity to do has been immensely rewarding and has just been so much fun. To me, music just adds something to theatre. It touches audiences in a way that sometimes transcends what words alone can accomplish.
What was it like playing the Beast in Beauty and the Beast?
Incredible. To just give myself to the role so fully and be so excited every day to put on that Beast costume and explore and have just an immense amount of fun. And to see some of the kids be so excited about not just meeting you after the show, but coming to see the show. It was one of my most rewarding experiences in theatre.
As a child, were you a fan of Disney movies such as Beauty and the Beast?
Loved them! Beauty and the Beast was always one of my favourites, but Tarzan will always be closest to my heart.
How has the Douglas College theatre program prepared you for a career in acting?
They gave me the tools I need to learn and to grow as an artist, and they let me take my own path. I really liked that. I didn’t feel dictated to follow one particular avenue with this industry, because there are so many. I was given everything I needed and shown my options and was able to do what I felt was best for me.