By Carol McCracken
Fresh from his debut performance at the Good Theater on the Hill, actor Mark Honan met with MHN at the North Star Cafe earlier this month. At the Good Theater, he played Carlton Fitzgerald, a play director who has opted to mount the stage production of a new writer in the theater. The complexities associated with a such a risky decision made for good back stage drama and some humor. One of the highlights of the production was the performance of veteran actor Mark Honan – bringing a new and fresh face to the Good Theater – as well as an English Voice that is a truly delightful experience.
Marks hails from near London. As a teenager, he became involved with a professional theater group – the Salisbury Playhouse. Later he attended the Webber & Douglas Academy in London. There he met two acresses well known to American audiences – Mini Driver and Julia Ormond. At that Academy, the emphasis was on the voice – how to project it. He says it was an “old style drama school” – an experience which he values greatly today.
Mark has lived on the Hill for ten years and has moved six times in those years. “Moving is a hobby of mine,” he says laughing. “I’m a transient renter.” But in those ten years he’s been busy supporting himself and his 14 year old daughter, Charolotte, pretty much by acting on the stage, radio commercials and talking books. He says it’s a “meager” living, but he loves what he does and he loves living on the Hill. He’s been a frequent actor at Portland Stage Company where he most recently played the loud and snorting Troll King in the production of Peer Gynt. Charlotte, his daughter is headed toward a career in acting. She appeared in Peer Gynt as well as in other productions with her dad. At times Mark supplements his “meager” income by serving as a concierge at Seventy Five State in downtown Portland. He does a lot of listening to the older population living there – something else he’s good at!
Brian P. Allen, who directed Mark in “Light Up The Sky” said in an email recently: “Mark brings so much to his roles. He’s very skilled, he creates delicious characters and he’s a team player. All in all, a consummate professional.” Mark said he had a wonderful time as a member of the Good Theater cast and he hopes to be a member of another Good Theater production soon. “I audition for every role I play. There are no giveaways by anyone.”
But it isn’t quite that simple for Allen. “Since Mark is a member of the Actors’ union, we have to do a special contract for him and he costs considerably more than non-union actors. The role has to be a perfect fit for Good Theater to incur the additional expense of hiring a union member. We loved working with Mark and we will definitely use him again in the future.” Meanwhile, Allen has just announced his schedule of plays for the upcoming 2009-2010 season. It includes: “Frost/Nixon,” “The Little Dog that Laughed,” (with Paul Drinan,) “The Spitfire Grill”, and “The Importance of Being Earnest.”
Let’s hope that Mark Honan makes the cut for the upcoming Good Theater season. He and his English Voice are a real pleasure to watch and listen to for theater audiences everywhere.