COMPANY SPOTLIGHT: Nick Rocz

Nick Rocz

Nick Rocz plays Lady Bracknell in THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST.

1) What has drawn you to be involved in theatre?

When I was around 5 years old, my Grandmom took me to see a production of Annie at this outdoor amphitheater. You would bring blankets and your own dinner and sit under the stars and watch a show. I can’t remember if the show was good, if the quality was high, or much of that, but what I can remember is saying “Grandmom, there are kids on that stage!” She responded by reassuring me that they were in fact kids. I said, “Well, I’m a kid!” and she probably laughed and agreed. Then I responded with “Well, I can do that!” and the bug was planted right then. I have been doing theater or performance work for nearly my entire life because of that trip. It is something I constantly think back on and something that makes me very grateful. I love the theater and world that it inspires. I can’t imagine my life in any other way.

2) What do you like most about the character you are playing or the job you are doing for The Importance of Being Earnest?

To play Lady Bracknell is something of a dream role. I was drawn to this play in college and in particular this very part itself. She is such a strong and opinionated person who garners a lot of big reactions from the people around her. Some love her, some hate her but she always gets respect and honor for running the home. Now if that is in due part because of fear I cannot say, but I’d like to think it is because everyone around her knows that ultimately she loves her family very much. The life she lead before the married was not the prestigious one you see on stage. She knows where she came from and what it took to get where she is now. I think what I like most about her is that she proves that you are never too old to keep working and making the world around you just as perfect as you feel it should be. And when you do it with a cucumber sandwich, all the better!

3) What qualities do find most admirable in a person?

I find honesty the most admirable. It is so hard to say what we feel, the way we feel it, these days. Everything, whether we agree or not, has become so complicated. I truly find honesty refreshing and look for it in the people I choose to surround myself and my life with. Though kindness, mercy, the ability to forgive, and a huge loving heart are not qualities I’d overlook either.

4) What is your comfort food?

Well almost all food can be comforting at times. But my perfect meal is tuna tar tar as an appetizer. A steak that has a peppercorn crust and is nice and charred and crispy on the outside but a bleeding medium and warm on the inside with blue cheese and butter and a spiced peppercorn sauce, cajun butter and roasted garlic mash-potatoes, corn, crisp and seasoned fresh green beans, and a roll with sweet honey butter. For dessert, a fresh strawberry pie with cool whip topping and a scoop of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream. And now I’m hungry.

5) Describe your greatest accomplishment.

In my line of work I am privileged to work with young and seasoned people in the world of theater all the time. I’d say my greatest accomplishment, so far in life, has been finding kids and adults alike who have never even entertained the idea of the theater and what they could bring to it and now find themselves avid supporters and participators. Hearing a child say they have found a home that makes them happy outside of their own house is amazing. The theater is a home. It’s the place for everyone to retreat to without judgment for who or what they are, but rather what and how they can contribute. In the theater there are so many stories told and sometimes there is a villain or two. But we learn not to judge these villains in the story. We strive to tell their story and allow their actions to be justified without prejudice or contempt by the one performing it. I think it is because of this that we as an organization and a community find ourselves less judgmental of the individuals who come to the theater looking for a home. And when you can be the smallest part of helping a child, much like I was inspired, to come to the theater and partake in the magic of storytelling, it is absolutely an accomplishment that will live with me forever.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST runs November 20-24, 2019 at the Big Bear Lake Performing Arts Center.

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