Meet RJ Cecott – Satan
RJ performed as Roland in in Constellations with the Heritage Theater Company, February 1 and 2. He is understudying at Lifeline Theater for The Time Warp Trio which runs March 16 – April 20.
What made you want to audition for The Last Days of Judas Iscariot?
I read it in college, there was the possibility that we would perform it. I thought Judas and Satan were both great roles, challenging, and outside my normal typecast. I saw the auditions on Facebook and started coming up with ideas for how I would do the roles differently than I would have in college.
This is a show a lot of theater people have read and done scenes from. It’s though provoking, and a funny way to look at a moment we don’t know a lot about. It has fantastic dialogue and will lead to a conversation.
What’s cool about this show, you assume the Devil is bad, that he’s on the wrong side of the stick. But he doesn’t believe in good and bad, just the Truth. Because of how he’s understood he can sit and tell the truth but people think he’s trying to manipulate them, and they work against him. It’s a fun way of playing with people, you get to watch other people dig a hole for themselves because of who is saying it.
You’re involved in some other projects at the same time. How do you manage all of your rehearsals? How do you find time for Community Theater when you’re auditioning for paid roles?
I like to always be working on something. In college I always tried to keep busy, always have a show that I was working on. I figured when I graduated I’d need to be able to juggle multiple things, so I might as well start practicing. So I work a day job that pays the bills and then I go out and do all these other things. I do Community Theater and paid work; it’s about challenging myself, finding things that I want to do. A lot of the times Community Theaters are doing shows that I’m interested in that other groups aren’t doing anymore.
I am just honest with the directors. I am upfront about my availability and if that doesn’t work, that’s okay. I can work on another project or go home and sleep, which I don’t do enough.
You just tell the truth, like Satan! That gives me an out from asking if you connect with your character. But I do wonder, has any of your past experience helped you prepare for this role?
A little bit, I played Eric Harris, one of the Columbine killers, in columbinus, and I use some of the same facial mannerisms. Also, in This Is Our Youth I had a four page monologue, I played a cracked out schizophrenic. Some of those vocal qualities, the panic and control, I’ve tried to work that into Satan when he’s mad and pissed off.
In addition to simply keeping your schedule organized, how do you manage portraying different roles when the rehearsal process overlaps?
A lot of it comes from the dialogue and the way it’s written. That’s always a testament to the playwright, what differentiates one play from another. And a lot comes down to tech when when you can really focus on one thing.
Is there anything else you’d like people to know, or anything coming up on your schedule that we can promote for you?
Coming up in August I’ll be starring as Alan Strang (the Harry Potter role) in Equus at the Albright Theater in Batavia, Illinois.