The 2014 Dallas Solo Fest, which runs May 15-18 and May 22-25 at the Margo Jones Theatre in Fair Park, may be a new addition to the DFW theater scene, but one of its performers is an old hand at solo performance.
John Michael has written and starred in four well-received one-man shows here in Dallas, most recently Like Me at last year's Festival of Independent Theatres and John Michael and the Order of the Penix, a riff on Harry Potter, at Nouveau 47. His shows are personal, thought-provoking and provocative — not unlike the man himself.
Before his newest work debuts (May 15 at 10:30 pm, May 16 at 9 pm and May 23 at 10:30 pm), John Michael took the time to fill out our survey of serious, fun and sometimes ridiculous questions.
Name: John Michael Colgin
Role and show in DFW Solo Festival: I am playing myself in my fifth one-man show titled Crossing Your I's, directed by Erin Singleton and designed by Ely Sellers.
Where you currently reside: East Dallas
Previous work in DFW theater: I performed three times with Junior Players and once with Shakespeare Dallas. I am currently the resident artist for Nouveau 47 Theatre.
First theater role: Nick Bottom, Midsummer's Night Dream
First theater show: The Nutcracker
Moment you decided to pursue a career in theater: I don't know if there was one moment. I do remember the moment I decided to pursue being a monologist.
Most challenging role you've played: Myself
Special skills: I am pretty good at preventing people with dementia from escaping the assisted living center I work at.
Something you're really bad at: Driving a car
Current pop culture obsession: Local beer
Last book you read: The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P by Adelle Waldman
Favorite movies: Drive and Jurassic Park
Favorite musicians: James Blake, Beach House and Vampire Weekend
Favorite song: "Oh Lonesome Me"
Dream role: I would love to play my brother on the stage. He's so cool. Everyone loves him when they meet him.
Favorite play: A Midsummer Night's Dream
Favorite actor: Justin Locklear
Favorite food: Avocado
Must-see TV show: Broad City
Something most people don't know about me: I am a bicyclist and I am a huge craft beer enthusiast.
Place in the world you'd most like to visit: Spain
Pre-show warm-up: I first run around the theater jumping up and down. I then do breathing exercises and the Fitzmaurice sequence.
Favorite part about your current role: One of my favorite things to do is to find the laughter in odd places. In this case it is the topic of memory loss, which scares most people. The show follows me trying to hold onto my job at an assisted living center that specializes in memory care. My future self visits me in a time machine to deliver a life-altering message, but he can't remember it because he has dementia.
Most challenging part about your current role: I started studying solo performance in 2010 at Oklahoma State with my teacher, Matthew Tomlanovich. Since then, he has been involved deeply with the development of each of my four shows.
He was going to direct this show, but he became sick after the first rehearsal in early April. Matthew is now recovering in the ICU and needs your prayers. Part of me didn't want to do this show without my biggest supporter. Each time I visit him, his first question is always, "How's the show?"
Most embarrassing onstage mishap: I was in the ensemble of Our Town at Oklahoma State University, and I thought it would be a good idea to try out the McRib for the first time. Needless to say it was not a good idea. I ended up farting during the third act, when I was supposed to be playing a dead person.
The rest of the ensemble later told me that "they now knew what death was like." The director would remind me of this incident as much as possible. The next time I auditioned for him, he put a clothespin on his nose. It was such a traumatic experience.
Career you'd have if you weren't a performer: Flight attendant
Favorite post-show spot: Windmill Lounge
Favorite thing about Dallas Fort-Worth: Justin Locklear and Danielle Georgiou both live here.
Most memorable onstage moment: It was closing night of John Michael and the Order of the Penix, and I let my mother choose where to sit: the front row. Normally, I place her in the very back row so I don't have to see her face.
The show was going great. After reaching the part where a lover cuddles me, my mother speaks up and asks, "How did that make you feel?" I froze for a second. She then proceeds to interrupt me a second time during the show. I thanked her for birthing me and everything else she has done for me.
I proceeded to charge the audience members sitting next to her with the task of keeping my mother quiet so that I could finish the show. What was great about it was how the audience could tell how much my mother loves me.