Q&A with Mark Cartier of Kalamazoo
Updated: Oct 17, 2019
Mark. S Cartier’s acting resume is packed with achievements, like having been a resident at the Theater at Monmouth in Maine for 23 seasons, a cast member of Shear Madness at Boston’s Charles Playhouse over a 20-year span, and appearing in a dozen shows with the White River Theatre Festival between 1988 and 1994, just to name a few. He has also appeared in numerous films, such as The Box and Infinitely Polar Bear, as well as television shows. Mark currently lives in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts with his wife Jane, but was delighted to return to the Upper Valley to play Irv in Shaker Bridge Theatre’s production of Kalamazoo. So, we took this opportunity to ask him some questions about his interesting and impressive career thus far…
SBT: How did your acting career start? Did you have an “aha moment” when you realized it was something you’d like to pursue, or did it begin differently?
Mark: I appeared in class plays in elementary school almost every year I can remember. My "aha" moment came in high school when the teacher of my Shakespeare class (yes, at New Bedford High School we had electives in Shakespeare) took us to Trinity Rep in Providence to see a production of the relatively obscure Troilus and Cressida. This show lives vividly in my mind to this day. Director Adrian Hall created a daring, exciting, eclectic vision of Shakespeare's anti-war satire during the height of the Vietnam War. I thought, "This is what I want to do."
SBT: Your resume includes a lot of stage, film, and television. Do you prefer one of these over the other two?
Mark: The stage has always been my first love. And honestly, most of my work in film and television has been as an extra, which barely qualifies as acting to me. But, in the few instances when I have had a speaking role, working in front of the camera has been exhilarating. I wish we had more such work in the Boston area.
SBT: What was it like being a part of various shows in the White River Theatre Festival for so many years?
Mark: I worked at the White River Theatre Festival several times between 1987 and 1994. We did straight runs in the summer months, but in 1991, we tried brief repertory seasons in both the winter and the fall. I have always loved doing rep because it challenges me as nothing else can. To learn roles in three or four shows simultaneously and then perform them on a rotating basis demands the most of me as an actor and keeps my mind and my skills sharp.
SBT: How are you finding your first acting experience at Shaker Bridge Theatre?
Mark: I'm definitely enjoying my first time at Shaker Bridge Theatre. The space is unique, and the immediacy of the audience practically makes them a third character in the show. Bill showed great trust in me and Peg during the rehearsal period, keeping us on course and giving me some valuable insights into the character of Irving that I had not considered. And being back in the Upper Valley, particularly at this time of the year, has been fantastic.
SBT: If you could be anything other than an actor, what would it be and why?
Mark: I am a huge Beatles fan. If I were not an actor, my dream job would be to teach a course on the Fab Four. I actually have given lectures on the Beatles in recent years, plus I have been writing a blog in which I have covered every official recording they ever made. The Beatles: For the Record can be viewed at www.thebeatlesinmarkslife.blogspot.com
Although Kalamazoo is Mark’s first play at SBT, he is no stranger to the Upper Valley. Besides his time at the White River Theatre Festival, he also attended La Salette Seminary during the academic year 1968-69. In his words, “Here I am 50 years later, living right next to my old school, stirring up so many memories. Talk about coming full circle!”
Click here to see Mark in Kalamazoo during its third and final week! https://www.shakerbridgetheatre.org/buy-tickets