Cast Spotlight: Steve Hobbs

steve-hobbs-high-rez-headshotComedian Steve Hobbs plays sweet but bland insurance salesman, Bruce Baldwin, in His Girl Friday; this is his first production with Bygone Theatre.

Bio: Steve Hobbs is an actor/comedian and a long-time Toronto improviser. A graduate of the Second City Conservatory sketch and Long-form programs, he’s known for his stage performances in hit Toronto Fringe shows like “Behold the Barfly!” (2016, 5N’s – Now Magazine) and performed, co-wrote and produced in “Everything Is Fine” (2014, 4N’s – Now Magazine, 4.5 stars – The Torontoist). In improv, he plays monthly in the James Bond-themed “Double Oh!” show, previously headlined Impatient Theatre Co. comedy nights with “El Fantoma”, and has been featured internationally in various comedy festivals (Detroit Improv Festival, North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival, NYC’s Del Close Marathon). Off-stage, he’s been a writer for The Second City Network, CBC Punchline and the Beaverton, as well as co-wrote the 48 hour film project 2016 finalist “Fumbled”. When he’s not performing, he’s coaching and teaching as part of the Second City Toronto faculty.

How did you hear about Bygone Theatre and this production of His Girl Friday?

I heard about the production through Emily Dix herself at Bygone, but she also close ties to a director/producer team that I go way back with to past Fringe successes and beyond. They kind of recommended me and played match maker a little bit, which was nice. Small world!

What made you want to be involved?/ what do you love about the story?

The theme of professional versions of ourselves clashing with our romantic ideals is something that I not only identify with personally, but it’s also pretty trendy these days (have you SEEN La La Land??). His Girl Friday nails the frustrating balancing act for me, and grabbed me as a lighter, more fun exploration of that same dichotomy and realities.

What’s your favourite old movie?

Uh oh. I know I should probably say “Casablanca” or something, but honestly, its probably more like that 60’s Adam West batman film. Bombs, sharks…it’s basically Casablanca.

Have you been in a show like this before? What else might people have seen you in recently?

I haven’t been in a production set in this particular era before, but I’ve been in multiple successful Fringe shows (“Behold, the Barfly!”, “Everything is Fine”) and make TV/youtube/stage appearances fairly often. I play in a monthly James Bond themed improv show as well, and guest as a comedian when I can.

Why should people come and see the show?

This show has a stellar cast, fast talking drama and comedy, and my character goes to jail a lot. It’s a winner, come watch!

Anything else you want us to know?

It’s my first time working with Bygone, and I’m PUMPED.

See Steve onstage this March in His Girl Friday tickets available online. 

Cast Spotlight: Matthew Hallworth

Matthew Hallworth plays reporter Roy Bensinger in our upcoming production of His Girl Friday.

Bio: Matthew is a Toronto-based Producer, Writer, Actor, Improviser and Singer. He is a largely supportive member of the Toronto Improv Community both on stage and as a Stage Manager at The Second City. His most notable work is “Fumbled” a short film created as part of the 48 Hour Film Project which he was Producer, Writer and Actor on and won “2nd Runner Up” and “Best Ensemble”.

1. How did you hear about Bygone Theatre and this production of His Girl Friday?
I have been familiar with Bygone Theatre for some time because of their Retro Radio Hour shows, I just had to jump on the opportunity to do a fast-talking 1940’s piece!

2. What made you want to be involved?/ what do you love about the story?
I’ve always had a fascination with classic comedies and as a modern comedic performer; I feel its important to be in touch with these classic styles as so many elements are still very much crucial today. I love all the layers to this work; the love triangle, the sleazy reporters, the big plot changes and the fun of all of it!

3. What’s your favourite old movie?
The Great Dictator (1940) I’m a huge admirer of Chaplin’s work and this one really speaks to me as a brave political satire which mocked Hitler before the world knew him to be a monster. Everyone knows the famous speech at the end, but the film all around is a beautiful work of slapstick and screwball comedy, all the bits with Chaplin and Jack Oakie still make me laugh hysterically. 

4. Have you been in a show like this before? What else might people have seen you in recently?
I was once cast in a slapstick production which unfortunately never came to be! I’m mainly an Improviser and perform throughout the city, I recently Produced and Directed Miracle on the Danforth, an Improvised Holiday Special at the Social Capital. In March you can see me in Round 2 of the World’s Biggest Improv Tournament with my esteemed partner, Sean Browning. 

5. Why should people come and see the show?
The comedy, drama and relationships in this piece are timeless; add to that the presence of a strong female character (Hildy) and, well, this is going to be a great time! 

See Matthew onstage this March in His Girl Friday. Buy tickets now.

Cast Spotlight: Eric Miinch

Eric Miinch plays the sinister Roat in our upcoming production of Wait Until Dark.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, what do you do when you’re not rehearsing for Wait Until Dark?

I am a professional improviser and sketch comedian. I can be seen with my comedy troupe, Fratwurst.

I am writing my first one man show. It’s about being too good at lying.

I am training myself to lucid dream.

I read everything.

I brew beer and am pursuing a side career as a brewmeister.

2. How did you hear about the show? What made you want to get involved? 

Justin Haigh of Soupcan Theatre informed me of the show. He is a beautiful man.

I always love playing a villain. Roat is a fascinating character with onion like layers. Robert Duvall played him in a very distinct way, but the ambiguity in the character description and the odd demeanour allows an actor to play Roat in a million different ways. And that is bloody fun.

 3. What has been your favourite moment in rehearsal so far?

Fight rehearsal and choreography was great. Specifically when I practiced punching with Abby. Being fake punched by a 14 year old girl and fake punching her back is a great way to spend an evening.

4. How do you prepare for playing a role like Roat? 

I think my sketch and improv background help me to make quick choices and to play Roat. He appears briefly several times throughout the script and it’s important to make an impression immediately! I also draw inspiration from an uncle of mine who also stole dolls and murdered people.

5. Why should everyone come see the show?

Damn good cast and director. Great production team. It’s thriller and it’s a lot of fun! It will be an intimate space which will serve to heighten the text.

6. Anything else you want to add?

I want to thank Daria, Rudolph, Evan and Josh for all their support and patience during rehearsals! Couldn’t do it without you!

I am writing and directing my first play which will premiere at the Toronto Fringe Festival in July. It is a modern telling of the epic poem, Dante’s Inferno.

More info at http://www.fratwurst.com.

See Eric’s sinister side on stage April 14-16th, tickets on sale now.