Craig Alan Edwards
Craig Alan Edwards starred in The Man in Room 306, his own one man show about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at 59E59's Theater B from 15 Jan - 14 Feb 2010.
Place of birth
I was born in Orange County, CA, but I grew up in Philadelphia, PA
You now live in?
New York City
Did you go to training school, if so which one?
I did not go to a formal acting training program/school. I was mentored by a teacher/director in Boston, Vernon F Blackman. Over my career, I've had formal training from studios, classes, workshops- and of course- professional productions.
As an actor, do you have a preference for stage, tv or film?
I was trained for the stage and love it! But I've also fallen in love with film, and even TV, which is producing some real good work these days, especially on the cable channels. I enjoy the unique and wonderful acting challenges inherent in the various media forms, but still believe stage training is the best all around preparation for any acting form.
Your first stage performance?
Black Nativity, in Boston Mass. It was thrilling because I played the narrator and it was in front of about 1000 people. What a way to start!!!
Career highlight to date?
I have to say it's my play. When I performed it in Memphis (where the play is set, at the Lorraine Motel on April 3, 1968). There is no richer experience than writing and performing your own work when you really, deeply feel the material. I'm hoping the new highlight will be The Man in Room 306 in New York City!
What roles would you most like to play?
Shakespeare's Macbeth & Hamlet. And I would also like to play Martin Luther King, Jr. on film.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
That acting is training for life- that one of the best things you can do as an actor, and in life, is to PREPARE & PAY ATTENTION.
What has been your most embarrassing moment on stage?
I missed my entrance on stage one time because I was so busy concentrating on my character preparation, that I forgot to concentrate on what I was doing! Preparation is extremely important, but it will do no good if you don't show up! But actually on stage?- I got sick and threw up once while I was on stage! Yuck!
What is the most annoying part about your job?
The endless need to sell yourself and swim in the waters of commercialization. So often the business part of "show business" threatens to overwhelm the artistry, and that's sad and a little tragic.
Briefly tell us what made you decide to write a play about Martin Luther King?
When I was at Boston University I listened to a recording of Dr. King and it changed my life. I have never stopped listening since that moment and when I became an actor, I wanted to explore and put in motion my intense feelings about this man and this time in history!
Martin Luther King is an historical figure whom we all think we are acquainted with, though surprisingly many of us know little about. Are there any ‘myths’ about Martin Luther King your play addresses?
That he wasn't a funny, funny man who liked to laugh and make others laugh. One of the most important things we miss about Dr. King is that he was a radical in his thinking about the American economic system. That it should be more just and less exploitative. He didn't believe we should tolerate poverty in this rich nation.
If you had not become a performer, what might you have done instead?
would have been strictly a writer and maybe delved into the law.
Who are your favorite actors/actresses?
Viola Davis is my favorite actress. (DOUBT) I don't think I have a favorite actor, I like too many. But I really respect Morgan Freeman's work. I think he's incredible- and he comes from the stage!
If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and what would you say to them?
It would be Martin Luther King, Jr. And I would ask him, of all the experiences he had in his life, what was the greatest lesson he took away from all of it.
Favorite after-show haunts?
LOL! I don't get out much! But I do like to go to various Sushi bars around NYC and sample their wares.
What was the last book you read, and name some of your favorite authors?
A book about the history of slavery in the world called, INHUMAN BONDAGE. I also am fascinated with Malcolm Gladwell's books.
What was the last film you saw, and name some of your favorite movies?
I saw "Brothers" and I loved it very much. That's funny you should ask because I've been thinking about a film lately that I want to watch again- THE VERDICT- with Paul Newman. I am craving this film right now- it's excellent and a classic. I like dramas, film Noirs and old movies. I love the old Alfred Hitchcock films (Rear Window; North by Northwest) and I like the films of the director David Fincher (Seven; Fight Club; Panic Room).
Favorite TV programs?
I like old star trek episodes; I love Law & Order and crime dramas. And I really like the History channel and shows that tell stories that come from real life.
Favorite holiday destinations?
The islands of the Caribbean!
Do you have any hobbies?
I love to learn different languages and to travel to far off places. I want to learn as many languages as I can, and meet as many different kinds of people on the planet as I can, before I die.
Do you have any superstitions?
My biggest superstition is, what will happen when I do less than my best!
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?
The Bible; a classic movie, and plenty of paper & pens to write.
What are your future plans?
To write more plays (two more one person plays about historical black male figures- famous and infamous) and to work on a screenplay. I'll be going to Seattle to play Gabriel in FENCES after my show closes. And I would love to explore more TV and film work- especially film.