By Charlie Patton
Jacksonville playwright Ian Mairs’ comedy about the teaching profession, “The Learning Curve,” will receive a reading Saturday in New York starring Michael Emerson.
According to Broadwayworld.com, “The reading will be for industry professionals interested in learning more about the play and Mairs’ comedy writing.”
“The Learning Curve,” which draws on Mairs’ experience teaching at the University of North Florida, Paxon School for Advance Studies and Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, had its debut at Theatre Jacksonville last January. It is a sometimes funny, sometimes frightening look at the world of public education.
Emerson and Mairs became friends when Emerson lived in Jacksonville from 1986-1993. They worked together regularly, co-starring in Mairs’ play “Parts Unknown.” In 1993, Emerson left to get a master’s degree from the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.
He then went to New York, where he gave a breakout performance in 1997 as Oscar Wilde in a showcase production of Moises F. Kaufman’s “Gross Indecency.” He’s worked regularly since on television and in theater.
He won an Emmy for his portrayal of Benjamin Linus on “Lost” and another for playing William Hinks on “The Practice.” He currently plays Harold Finch on the CBS series “Person of Interest.” He has appeared on Broadway opposite Kevin Spacey in “The Iceman Cometh” and opposite Kate Burton in “Give Me Your Answer, Do!” and “Hedda Gabler.”
Also in the cast of Saturday’s reading will be Jacksonville actress Simone Aden Reid, who appeared in the play when it premiered at Theatre Jacksonville.
As reported earlier, Michael Emerson will participate in the reading of Ian Mair’s play The Learning Curve. Here’s Playbill’s article about it:
Emmy Winner Michael Emerson, Jeff Binder and Mason Lee Set for Reading of The Learning Curve
By Andrew Gans
18 Oct 2012
The cast will feature Emmy winner Michael Emerson (“Lost,” “Person of Interest”), Jeff Binder (Lieutenant of Inishmore, Lion King, Mary Poppins) and Mason Lee (“Hangover 2″).
Sean Daniels directs.
The Learning Curve, according to press notes, “follows the journeys of teachers at all phases of their careers. Meet Mitch, who has fled his depressing stint as a management trainee in search of a more meaningful existence and winds up with a dismal assignment: working as a long-term substitute teacher to a particularly challenging set of high school students. [The play] tracks his journey of daily setbacks and the occasional tiny victory as it charts one person’s struggle to find his place in the world.”
Ian Mairs’ plays include Parts Unknown, Bay at the Moon, Our David, She’s a Big Girl, Now and Nocturne at Twilight.
NYU is hosting the reading for industry professionals interested in learning more about the play and Mairs’ comedy writing.
By Corrina Lawson
10.17.12 10:00 AM
When I signed up for two press roundtables at last week’s New York Comic Con, I expected to handle them well. I’m used to interviewing politicians and the occasional celebrities from my time as a daily newspaper reporter.
So went I sat down for the Person of Interest event featuring the stars of the show and its creator, Jonathan Nolan, I was prepared.
Until Amy Acker sat down at my table.
She wasn’t an announced guest, so I had no prior warning that my Angel fandom was about to collide with my professional composure. Luckily, I had just caught up with the first two episodes season two of the show, which heavily featured Acker as Root, a computer expert with a very sick viewpoint on the world. So I had some worthwhile questions.
Along with Acker, series producer Jonathan Nolan, Taraji P. Henson (Detective Carter), Michael Emerson (Finch), Kevin Chapman (Fusco), and even the cast’s new addition to the show, Bear the dog, appeared at the press event.
The dog attracted the most attention but, predictably, gave the least away about this season’s plotlines, though it appears he will be on the show to stay.
Acker also confirmed that Root will be appearing again this season. She said it was a “treat” to play a character who existed long before she was even cast, as Root’s existence had been teased for much of the first season. Acker appeared in last season’s finale as the face behind Root and said she loved playing the switch from the seeming victim to someone who casually murders a woman and kidnaps Finch at the end, comparing it to her switch from Fred to Illyria in Angel. She also emphasized what a treat it was to work opposite Emerson and Jim Caviezel, who plays ex-CIA agent Reese. (Caviezel’s schedule prevented him from appearing at the press roundtable.)
“I’ll be back,” Acker said. “I think he [Finch] misses me too much,” she said, teasing in character.
Asked about her status as something of a geek icon, Acker said “Joss [Whedon] has been great to me” and that he calls her when he “doesn’t have someone for the part”, as do other writers who once worked on Angel. She called filming Much Ado About Nothing “an experience that was just so special.” Not many people, she said, can just decided to shoot a movie in their backyard in two weeks by calling all their friends. She also pointed out that it was a chance to play a “normal girl” for a change.
Series producer Nolan spoke about the season-long arc planned for the characters but said despite personal developments, POI will stick with the procedural concept, with a number of the week producing someone Finch and Reese must save in some way. He said X-Files is a perfect model for what he want to do with the show. His original concept, he said, for the Machine started when he was a teenager in England in the 1980s and all the surveillance cameras went up but sometimes nobody was watching.
Asked whether the show had crossed into the realm of science fiction with hints that the Machine is artificially intelligent, Nolan said “yes,” but that “Finch is still making the case it’s only a machine.”
Nolan confirmed that the crimelord Elias will be back “soon” this season. Nolan also said he plans to be with the show for a long time and he’s “having too much damn fun to stop now.” He credited an incredible partner and an amazing team as part of that fun. (J.J. Abrams co-wrote the original screenplay for the show.)
Henson and Emerson talked about their characters, Carter and Finch.
Henson was animated and fun, no more so than when talking about the new addition, Bear. She loves dogs, she says, and they keep having to tell her to not pay attention to him while he’s trying to work. But she said between
takes, he’s all hers to play with. She laughed when she revealed that she usually doesn’t do television and Nolan “wooed” her to get her to play Carter. “At first, it was ‘I hate TV, no, click’.” She television is a very slow burn compared to feature films and, at first, she had no idea who Carter was, which was frustrating, but she’s learning to just go with it as far as character development.
Emerson had a fascinating take on Finch and Reese’s mission to help those whose numbers came up per the Machine. “They’re on what surely will be a suicide mission in the end. Every number could be their last, so the stakes must always be dire.” He said he doesn’t try to imagine where the show is going and sees himself as handling the micro elements not the macro arcs of the show. “The arc of the show is a contract between writers and the audience. I’m just the one who solves the little problems in the scenes themselves.” About his name being on the marquee for POI, he said he “slept better” when he was part of the cast of Lost.
Asked about his role as the Joker in part 2 of the animated adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, Emerson said he hadn’t seen the most recent versions played my Mark Hamill and Heath Ledger. “The Joker in my head was Caesar Romaro.” He called the Joker the avatar of “pathological mockery” and said he would enjoy more voice work but wryly revealed that he keeps trying out for voice parts and not getting them.
Person of Interest airs on the CBS network on Thursdays at 9 p.m.
Larger version (and additional) photos of Michael Emerson can be viewed here.
by MICHAEL HAYNE
In a very open departure from my usual coverage of U.S. Politics, this comedian/writer willingly decided to check out some of the exciting happenings at this year’s Comic Con at the Jacob Javit’s Center in NYC. For the uninitiated, Comic Con is mostly known as an opportunity for parents to celebrate, as their basement-dwelling offspring don their favorite superhero costumes (of course the morbidly obese guys have to always be the most decidedly fit action heroes) and head on out to immerse themselves in comic book culture.
Yes, I just coupled comic book and culture. But lately, the seemingly DC and Marvel dominated event has become more and more of a legitimate unveiling of some of the smartest and most engaging television series. With graphic novel adaptations in TV and Film being the new “little black dress,” the cast and creators of AMC’s zombie apocalypse-themed Walking Dead was a huge draw and attracted an insane amount of devoted fans for the panel and screening.
But flying under the Walking Dead radar was the cast and creators behind the CBS show Person of Interest. Aptly named after law enforcement’s politically-correct shibboleth for “suspect,” Person of Interest is a compelling crime drama that departs widely from the cliche-ridden and often times mediocre acting from CSI. The series immediately has credibilty with its opening voice-over by Mr. Finch, who’s played by Michael Emerson.
“You are being watched. The government has a secret system: a machine that spies on you every hour of every day. I know because I built it. I designed the machine to detect acts of terror, but it sees everything. Violent crimes involving ordinary people, people like you. Crimes the government considered irrelevant. They wouldn’t act, so I decided I would. But I needed a partner, someone with the skills to intervene. Hunted by the authorities, we work in secret. You’ll never find us, but victim or perpetrator, if your number’s up…we’ll find you.”
On hand for the panel cast members Jim Caviezel, Michael Emerson, Taraji P. Henson, Kevin Chapman and guest star Amy Acker.
It can be said that Michael Emerson is Hollywood’s go-to guy when it comes to playing creepy, cagey little guys. Emerson’s mind-blowing, disturbingly cryptic and equally enigmatic portrayal as the never-quite-honest Benjamin Linus on Lost–another J.J. Abrams produced series–is a character role that Emerson will never consider as the dreaded “typecasting.”
In fact, when it came to Q & A time (on a side note, every single questioner must have either worked a NYCC panel before of all came in on the LIRR together since they all were from Long Island), Emerson couldn’t escape his Lost exploits.
Perhaps not intentional, but one quixotic and way too eager questioner basically said that Michael Emerson must be a creepy weirdo since he plays them so well. But in actyuality, she was curious about his career moves. Emerson said that he takes great pleasure in playing villains.
I tend not to think of them in terms of villains. I just try to tune in to what they’re trying to accomplish.
Emerson, who is a very mild -mannered man with a meek disposition, ironically has played mostly zany characters in stage and theater productions. After all, Emerson comes from the world of theater. So it’s safe to assume that Michael is more akin to Kevin Spacey than the sinister characters he plays since I don’t recall him once torturing me mentally and sending me out on any psychologically painful peregrinations of peril (how’s the for an alliteration?).
During the Press roundtable held immediately after the panel, I had to ask Emerson if he at consciously or subconsciously was at all channeling Anthony Hopkins’ ever sinister and eminently intelligent Dr. Hannibal Lecter character during a key scene between him and the actress who played Kate on “Lost.”
Emerson seemed flattered by the comparison and mentioned he’s a huge fan of Anthony Hopkins, but didn’t state that he was aware of this interpretation. Much like the rest of the world, he stated that he’s mostly familiar with more grotesque stuff he did in that role as Hannibal. But the very kind actor humored me:
“Well, those were good puzzles in that movie and I like playing with puzzles…and cat and mouse. That type of thing is good fun,” said Emerson.
And since Lost was such an amazing show (well, otherworldly episodic concierto), “Person of Interest” Creator/Executive producer Jonathan Nolan, who was also at the panel, gave “Lost” fans a major priapism when he announced that that Lost’s Mark Pellegrino, the all-too swedish looking actor who portrayed the very dreamlike and surreal Jacob on the hit ABC series, will be guest-starring with fellow Lost Alum Emerson in this upcoming season of Person of Interest.
Source: New Jersey Newsroom
Larger version of the photo in this article is available here.
Former LOST stars Michael Emerson (Ben Linus) and currently acting as Finch on Person of Interest; Carrie Preston (Emily Linus–Ben’s mother), currently acting as Arlene on True Blood; and Terry O’Quinn (John Locke), currently acting as Malcolm Doran on 666 Park Avenue met at a New York restaurant. Oh the fun of seeing these three actors together again.
Larger version of this photo is available here.