Actor Spotlight

Getting naked onstage doesn't scare Dallas actor Drew Wall — but clowns do

Getting naked onstage doesn't scare actor Drew Wall — but clowns do

Drew Wall in Second Thought Theatre's "Nocturne"
Drew Wall and Tara Magill in Nocturne. Photo by Karen Almond
Drew Wall in Second Thought Theatre's Behanding of Spokane
Wall as the unhinged hotel clerk in A Behanding in Spokane. Photo by Karen Almond
Drew Wall in Second Thought Theatre's "Nocturne"
Drew Wall in Second Thought Theatre's Behanding of Spokane

Take one look at Drew Wall's resume, and it's easy to see why we named him one of Dallas' best actors. Not only has he graced nearly every Dallas-Fort Worth stage, but his performances are known for being memorable and raw.

This month, he tackles Adam Rapp's visceral and hypnotic Nocturne at Second Thought Theatre, which begins with the line, "Fifteen years ago, I killed my sister."

Last time Second Thought combined Wall and Rapp in Red Light Winter, the results were outstanding. This time Wall is joined by director Miranda Parham, with Seth and Shawn Magill of local band Home by Hovercraft providing assistant set design and sound design, respectively.

In advance of Nocturne, which runs April 2-26, Wall recently took the time to fill out our survey of serious, fun and sometimes ridiculous questions.

Name: Drew Wall

Role in Nocturne: The son

Previous work in the DFW area: A Behanding in Spokane, The Bomb-itty of ErrorsRed Light WinterA Skull in ConnemaraLobby Hero and The Country Wife (Second Thought Theatre); The Beauty Queen of LeenaneLong Way Go DownMacbeth, and Slasher (Kitchen Dog Theater); On The Eve, Defiance (Theatre Three); The Dog Problem (Undermain Theater); This Is Our Youth (Upstart Productions); The Merry Wives of Windsor (Shakespeare Dallas); Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead (Inevitable Theatre Company) and The Secret War (Firebomb Productions).

Hometown: Oklahoma City and The Colony, Texas

Where you currently reside: Dallas

First theater role: Malvolio, Twelfth Night

First stage show you ever saw: A Christmas Carol at Dallas Theater Center, 1993

Moment you decided to pursue a career in theater: I’m not exactly sure there was an exact moment. It’s difficult; it’s like trying to pinpoint a moment you became best friends with someone. At some point early on in my theater experiences, I realized that people actually get paid to play pretend for a living on the stage (sort of), not just in Hollywood movies, and that seemed incredibly exciting. Over time, the theater gradually became something I couldn’t be away from, something that I was addicted to like a junkie.

Most challenging role you’ve played: Bomb-itty of Errors was by far the most exhausting. Red Light Winter was by far the most emotionally draining and frustrating. Although I should mention that in both examples, my fellow castmates were some of the strongest support groups I’ve ever worked with onstage.

Special skills: I love welding and metal sculpture.

Something you’re REALLY bad at: Quitting smoking cigarettes

Current pop culture obsession: Doctor Who and Kraft macaroni and cheese

Last book you read: I’m currently reading Letters from the Earth by Mark Twain.

Favorite movie(s): Star Wars, the full canon of Mel Brooks, Ghostbusters

Favorite musician(s): Simon and Garfunkel, Led Zeppelin, The Band

Favorite song: “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” – The Band

Dream role: The fool in King Lear

Favorite play(s): Anything that moves me in a way I was unprepared for. Something that accidently changes me before I am ready for it.

Favorite musical(s): Rent, Fly By Night, Rocky Horror Picture Show

Favorite actors/actresses: Steve Buscemi, Bill Murray, Madeline Kahn, Dame Judi Dench

Favorite food: Lasagna or Mexican street tacos

Must-see TV show(s): South Park, Trailer Park Boys, Doctor Who. I also watch The Price Is Right every day.

Something most people don’t know about you: I’m terrified of circus clowns.

Place in the world you’d most like to visit: Somewhere tropical with a beach. Maybe something like the Maldive Islands. 

Pre-show warm-up: Half a cup of coffee; a cigarette; and a very specific 15-20 minute (or as much as I have time for) full-body, breath and vocal warm-up routine. It’s a hodgepodge of a ton different exercises I’ve “borrowed” over the years from other learned and much more talented artists than I.  

Favorite part about your current role: There’s something infinitely fascinating about having total control of the energy in the room and not exactly knowing where that’s going to take you. Every new thought or action is an unpredictable and terrifying moment-to-moment obstacle course. Navigating through that with a group of strangers each night is unbelievably exciting.

Most challenging part about your current role: The complexity of the language. One passage is simple, direct and logical and then immediately you’re forced to dive into an overwhelmingly dense narrative with an uncompromising cadence. The musicality can sometimes be a bit harsh and unforgiving.

Most embarrassing onstage mishap: I once had my “gentleman bits” fall out of a dance belt while run-leaping across the stage in a dress out at Shakespeare Dallas. After hiding in shame behind another actor, the problem was quickly resolved. I cry-laughed for several minutes afterward.

Career you’d have if you weren’t a performer: A space astronaut or a flower grower. (I assume those exist?)

Favorite post-show spot: Lakewood Landing

Favorite thing about Dallas-Forth Worth: The abundance of great art, phenomenal food and the insanely low cost of living. 

Most memorable theater moment: The first time I completely undressed in front of an audience (purposely).