Kiefer Sutherland 24 - All Kiefer...All The Time

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Champion Acting Ensemble Discuss That Championship Season (Kiefer Sutherland)

Panel Nerds: A Champion Acting Ensemble Discuss That Championship Season

Who: Brian CoxJim GaffiganChris Noth,Jason PatricKiefer Sutherland
What: “Champion Acting Ensemble
Where: Times Center
When: January 18, 2011
: Up 
A star-studded cast is starring in a revival of Jason Miller’s 1972 play That Championship Season on Broadway this spring. While the play is of apersonal nature that the cast and crew hopes will resonate with a modern audience, it’s especially familiar for actor Jason Patric, who is both a star of the show and Miller’s son. Patric called the play a “portal” into his family’s life and is excited to stage it for fresh audiences.
Patric helped spearhead the production, recruiting friends Chris Noth and Keifer Sutherland to join the cast. But first, they had to cast the role of the coach, and for that they had only one person in mind: Brian Cox. Cox said that he’s long loved the play, calling it one of America’s best plays, and says that it is hard to find another play with five such strong unique voices in it. Right now, the cast is engaged in rehearsals where they say they’re getting to know their characters and the pacing of the play.
They all agreed that theater is the most rewarding – and most challenging – form of acting. Sutherland said that there’s nothing to hide behind on stage. For Jim Gaffigan, a stand-up comedian, this role was his first venture into theater, and says it has required him to channel an extra level of bravery to perform outside of his comfort zone. Gaffigan says that the play speaks to him, a man in his 40s who has reflected on how his life has shaped up. Noth agreed that he’s considered the “what ifs” and paths that he didn’t take. Sutherland went as far as to compare the play’s major themes to today’s politics – Watergate and the Tea Party, the Vietnam War and Iraq. Still, he says, it’s “disappointing” to see how little has changed over the past 40 years.
The panel and interviewer Patrick Healy discussed this play as if they were in an honors literature course. They dissected the play’s morality and impact, and left the audience wanting more. One audience members even requested a talkback series when the play opens. Noth assured that producers would try to make that happen, to the audience’s delight.
What They Said
“It’s about America and about the aspirations of America.”
- Brian Cox outlines the play, briefly
Jason Miller did the real heavy lifting and we just have to rise to the occasion.”
- Kiefer Sutherland says that the script carries the play
“This play demands something and what scares me is if you don’t meet the demands it could just be melodrama.”
– Chris Noth hopes to live up to self-imposed expectations
“Jim was cheap.”
– Jason Patric explains why they got Gaffigan for the show
“I did have to audition – my daddy didn’t write it.”
– Jim Gaffigan’s response, which brought down the house
“Some shows are shit, some shows aren’t shit.”
- Brian Cox lays things out clearly
“It’s never about the character, it’s always about the story…I’ve always likened it to a rock n’ roll band. If the band is good, the bass player is cool.”
- Kiefer Sutherland aspires to be that bass player
What We Thought
  • Healy did a nice job bringing the audience in to the narrative. From the beginning, as he asked about specifics about the play and about this production, Healy made sure to take a moment to give the crowd some context so they could keep up with the conversation. It was a small gesture, but it enabled a lot more comprehension for all.
  • Because most of this cast were already on friendly terms before this production, they seem to have clicked faster than other groups of actors. It’s evident that they all have fun on the set. We understand more now why certain actors, directors, crew members, and so on prefer to work with the same people repeatedly. It makes everything so much easier.
Some audience behavior seems to repeat itself panel after panel. We’ll be updating a running list of “PANEL RULES!” that will help ensure that you are not the dweeb of the Panel Nerds.
Panel Nerds don’t like…Shy Audiences
After Healy opened up the floor to questions, he wound up having to ask a couple more questions himself since nobody stepped forward to the microphone. We’ve never seen an entire audience reject the mike; perhaps it was an indication that Healy had led such an exhaustive discussion there was nothing left to be said. Or, alternatively, maybe the audience was just plain exhausted. Whatever the case may be, we approached the open mike for the first time in a long while, and got the Q&A started ourselves. After that, some felt less intimidated and joined the line. As for our questions, we fumbled through it, were asked to rephrase for clarity, and didn’t get a very satisfying response to our question. We learned how hard it truly is to make your mark.


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