by Ayla Harrison
I recently got a chance to catch The Dinosaur Within. I had a chat with actor, Ari Skye, who plays the role of Tommy in this magical, mystical play about 65-million-year-old dinosaurs and the art of letting go.
Ari’s character, Tommy, is a bright young boy with a love for dinosaurs that goes far beyond just playing with T-Rex toys in the sandbox. And the talented Ari Skye had no trouble pulling it off.
Ayla Harrison: When did you start acting?
Ari Syke: I started four and a half…almost five years ago. One day I was just watching TV with my sister, and we said, “Hey, we wanna be actors.” And my mom said, “Oh really?” So she started driving us to auditions and acting classes for the next year. Then she asked us at the end of a year, “Are you sure you want to do this?” We thought about it and we said yes, cause we loved doing it. From there we moved to LA and it just grew from there.
AH: What was your first acting job?
AS: I started out doing college short films. The first one I did was a drama, and kind of a mystery too. There was a girl with a bomb in a briefcase and I unknowingly took her briefcase.
AH: What do you love most about acting?
AS: I have lots of friends who are actors, like half of my friends are actors. And I love the people. The director, the staff. Everyone here (at Boston Court) is awesome.
AH: Of course! Boston Court is a great place to work. (Be it acting or blogging.) Now, you get to make a lot of lovely, profound speeches in this play. Do you have a favorite moment in The Dinosaur Within?
AS: I like the opening monologue the best. It’s funny in the beginning, but in the second half, it gets really powerful. And my last monologue, I call it the “impact” monologue—I had to work on it a lot! I wanted to get it right.
AH: Did you study paleontology or dinosaurs to prep for this?
AS: I Googled theropods, since I was going to be holding a toy one in the play. I looked up what they do. They run pretty fast. Oh, and before that, I had a dinosaur project I had to present in school. I have always kinda been into dinosaurs, really.
AH: Even from the time you were little?
AS: I was so into them when I was kid. My mom keeps this memory box of stuff from when I was small. Half the toys in there are dinosaurs—I had this T-Rex I loved.
AH: Did you know this play was going to be about dinosaurs before you auditioned?
AS: Well, I only got my opening monologue at the first audition. And that’s when I looked up what a Theropod was. But I didn’t expect the play to deal with dinosaurs to such an extent though.
AH: What was the rehearsal process like?
AS: The play’s got a lot of stories going on. We read it at a table two or three times. We had lots of discussion with the director. The writer came for the whole preview week. He’d type notes and make suggestions for the actors.
AH: Do you notice a big difference in doing film and doing theatre?
AS: Well, there are no do-overs in theatre. No re-takes. And you have to talk much louder.
AH: The play’s subject matter also deals with old Hollywood and glamorous movie stars. Have you ever seen any old movies?
AS: My mom showed me The Three Stooges once. I loved them. Oh, and I’ve seen Jurassic Park.
Ari can be seen on your tube in a T-Mobile commercial, and of course, playing Tommy, the dino-lover in us all, in John Walch’s The Dinosaur Within—it runs two more weekends at Boston Court. Go check it out! (And yes, I’ll say it—go before it’s EXTINCT! Oh yeah. I went there.)