Taking a closer look at Madison theater
Nov 8, 2013
04:03 PM
Stage Write

Here Comes the 'Son'


Marcus Truschinski and Jake Penner star as troubled bros in "Sons of the Prophet," the debut show of Forward Theater's 2013 season.

You can call this evening’s performance of Sons of the Prophet the start of Forward Theater’s 2013 season. For one of the actors, you can also call it another case of art imitating life.

Marcus Truschinski, an actor we’re far more familiar seeing on the outdoor stage in Spring Green, where he’s one of the newest members of American Players Theatre’s core company, plays Joseph, the older of a pair of Lebanese-American brothers who’s struggling to manage the  multiple burdens of a debilitating autoimmune disease, a death in the family and the unexpected need to care for an ailing relative.

“The character is about responsibilities,” says Truschinski, taking a break from painting the ceilings of his house to speak with Stage Write. “To have so many and try to stay above water. He has to balance all these things and still take care of himself. It’s an incredibly challenging role.”

Truschinski can totally relate. It wasn’t that long ago that he was helping his wife, fellow APT star Tracy Michelle Arnold, battle hemolytic-uremic syndrome, a life-threatening disorder that damages the kidneys. (Arnold has since recovered.)

“When I first read the role, I was alone, at night, sitting in front of the glowing screen of my computer,” he recalls. “And it brought me right back to that time, and what we helped each other through. So many of the things in this play are so similar, it’s scary.”

To those unfamiliar with Stephen Karam’s play, nominated for a Pulitzer in 2012, it all probably sounds like a night of dramatic gloom and misery. Not so, says Truschinski. Not so.  

“Every time I try to explain the plot of this play to people, I always end up with the phrase, ‘But it’s a comedy…’. It’s actually very funny.”   

Trushinski, who’s become comfortable inhabiting the world of classical drama out at Spring Green, welcomes the opportunity to tackle a contemporary work. The play also offers another personal connection for Truschinski—it’s the first time he’ll be part of a cast that includes Angela Iannone, one of his professors when he was a student at UW–Whitewater. 

“It’s the first time we’ve talked on stage,” he says. “That’s kind of cool.”

Sons of the Prophet runs in the Overture Center’s Capitol Theater through November 24. Tickets can be purchased here.

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About This Blog

Once upon a time—okay, it was the mid-'80s—a boy saw a performance of The Two Gentlemen of Verona at the annual summer Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada, and a spark was ignited. Decades later, that spark’s only grown stronger, burning brightly every time the lights go up and the actors begin to tread the stage.

I’ve spent a long time—okay, more than 15 years—watching and writing about Madison’s theater scene. Now, more than ever, it’s clear our bustling burgh is packed with vibrant theater companies doing important, cutting-edge work, whether it’s original and daring content, stunning musicals or thought-provoking stagings of modern and classic plays. Stage Write is a place where we’ll talk about those plays and the people who make them happen, maybe look behind the curtain a little and gain some new perspective on how and why it all comes together. Theater has the power to transform, to educate, to show us who we are and where we’re going in a way no other medium can. Hey, look: The curtain’s rising.

– Aaron R. Conklin
Follow Aaron on Twitter @arconklin

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