Seattle Actor Profile – Chris Ensweiler

Chris Ensweiler is a Seattle actor and fight choreographer, and he plays the role of Puck in Seattle Shakespeare Company’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Reading: While performing with Allan Armstrong this summer in The Comedy of Errors, he got me interested in the whole Shakespeare authorship question… you know how some folks feel that Edward De Vere, the Earl of Oxford wrote the plays. So I’m now reading a book that takes the timeline of De Vere’s life and compares it to the plays. It’s called “Shakespeare” by Another Name by Mark Anderson So I’m interested into delving into that. I have several things on my nightstand. For my birthday John Bradshaw gave me the graphic novel “Kill Shakespeare” …which is fantastic! So I’m working on the first volume of that. I’m also reading “The Tao of Pooh.” I also borrowed from Kelly Kitchens “The Brothers Karamozov” based on a recommendation of our piano player this summer for The Comedy of Errors, Ray Allen. We were talking about Russian literature and Shakespeare and wanting to help each other learn about the other, so we’re trading off great literary works. So I’ve got a lot of stacks of things on the nightstand that I thumb through.

Listening: I have very eclectic love of music…but I really dig the 70s. It’s the music that reminds of driving in the car with my folks when I was younger. So I have a collection of the top ten songs of each year of the 70s that I listen to. My new favorite is Anthony Hamilton, who I learned about from David Hogan this summer. He’s a great modern R&B singer.

Watching: I just saw Up in the Air with George Clooney. Fantastic. I also saw Broken Flowers, the Jim Jarmusch film with Bill Murray. We have a huge DVD collection with everything that I would watch if it were on TV. There’s a couple of Bond films that I love to watch. I’ll watch Ferris Bueller any time. No Country for Old Men, the Bourne trilogy, Breakfast Club…it’s very eclectic! I also just watched The Philadelphia Story because I did a reading for the Endangered Species Project of Stalag 17. My character does imitations of Humphrey Bogart, Clark Cable, Jimmy Stewart, Gary Cooper, and Cary Grant. So I was doing my classic film research.

Looking Forward to This Season: I do want to go see the new musical at Village Theatre, Take Me America. It’s funny when I first started doing theatre, I was doing a lot of musicals, but I haven’t done them in years. I’m always interested in new works. I’m excited for my friend Connor Toms to be in Red with Denny Arndt at the Rep. I’m really excited about Midsummer and this opportunity to be at Intiman. And I have the good fortune at the beginning of 2012 to be in The Odd Couple at Village. I finally get to work with Chuck Leggett which is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. I’ve been kind of remiss in seeing fringe theatre so I want to check out Theatre Schmeater and Balagan, and other small companies. I want to make it a goal to see their work this year.

Which Shakespeare character do you most identify with?: Wow. It’s scary because I have two different sides of that. I think there’s a lot of Andrew Aguecheek in me. But, unfortunately, there is a lot of Iago in me on those bad days.