Ryan Sero talks about his new musical-comedy, Orpheus, which is showing this Wednesday through Saturday at Theatre Aquarius.
By Kevin Somers
Published March 05, 2012
this article has been updated
I recently sat down with Ryan Sero, a young Hamilton actor and playwright. Orpheus, a musical-comedy Sero has written - with an original score by Joel Aaron Craig - is being staged at Theatre Aquarius this week. Sero will be performing in it. He talked about Orpheus, but Sero also spoke frankly about the dramatic ups and downs of a writer's life and the theatrical highs and lows of an actor's.
Orpheus, the play, is a contemporary, comedic take on Greek mythology. The Greeks' Orpheus was a divine musician and poet whose songs could charm beasts and coax inanimate objects into life. Sero's Orpheus is a modern day rockstar with requisite groupies, drama, talk shows, record labels, megalomania, buffoonery...
The play's tag line, under the title, reads, "Mythology just got sexy-pants."
From Orpheus's press release, "The big, driving theme behind the show is the way that celebrities are created and elevated by pop culture. The show has a lot to say, through humour, usually, about pop culture and all the baggage that goes with it."
"It's not a typical play / musical," Sero says, smiling, simultaneously sipping a Coke. "Orpheus has something for everyone. I tried to use 'shot-gun' humour and blast as wide as possible." He lists Woody Allen, Shakespeare, The Marx Brothers, and Monty Python as some of the inspirations.
The son of a pastor, Sero grew up in a few communities around Ontario. He was home-schooled until going to Redeemer University in Ancaster. Since graduating with a Theatre / English Degree in 2008, he's been in Hamilton.
Sero acknowledges the support of his wife because, except for occasional stints working at his friend's pig farm in Tillsonburg to make ends meet, he's been endeavouring to earn his living as an artist.
"It's tough," he says. "I am constantly working, but it doesn't always pay." Sero spends his days writing, re-writing, learning lines, practicing parts, and scouring the internet for audition and submission opportunities. "Although I am largely 'out of work,' I never stop working."
Pressed to explain his drive, he says, "I can't stop. I'm constantly making up stories. Through writing or acting, I want to tell stories. I couldn't do anything else. I'm a storyteller."
Sero's love for theatre began with a love of film, germinated by his father. "We love movies. We're always playing trivia and degrees-of-separation games. I knew when I was 13 or 14 this is what I wanted to do."
Sero readily admits his excitement at having a show at Theatre Aquarius. "It's very cool," he says. "This is the furthest I've come. I've done the Fringe Festival and Summer Works, but Theatre Aquarius is huge; it's a professional theatre. This is a pocket of light in an, often, depressing slog."
When asked his goals for the play, Sero has set the bar high. "Whether it is one, or six, or ten thousand, I hope everyone who sees Orpheus enjoys it. If one person doesn't like it or take something home, I will have failed."
Speaking on behalf of the cast and crew, he says, "Regardless of the size of the audience, they're going to get our very best performance because that's what they deserve. And, that's what artists do."
Whether it be actors, architects, builders, carpenters, chefs, entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, musicians, painters, performers, writers..., supporting local talent and their venues is a valuable contribution to community. It's also fun and we are looking forward to seeing Orpheus.
Orpheus is playing from Wednesday, March 7 to Saturday, March 10, at 8 o'clock. Tickets start at a reasonable $20.00. Please visit Theatre Aquarius or call 905-522-7529 for tickets and information.
Updated to correct playing dates and price.
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