Stage Lines: Where were you born? Raised?
Ben Hamill: I was born in Long Beach, California and moved around a lot in the Southern California area. Before moving to Idaho, I lived in Long Beach, Huntington Beach, Downey, Paramount and Bellflower. I miss California.
SL: What made you move to Idaho?
BH: Parents. When I was 16, at the end of my sophomore year in high school, my mom yanked me up to Nampa, Idaho. It was quite a culture shock and I was very angry for quite a while. I’ve since adjusted.
SL: What got you interested in community theater?
BH: I’ve been interested in entertainment and performing since I was a teenager, although I never did anything about it. I’ve always wanted to make films. When I was in Bible School (Yes! I went to Bible School!) a drama group was forming. I decided to act on my desires and jump into performing. I spent the next summer traveling around the Midwest in a van, performing in churches and other places. The natural progression was to community theater.
SL: What was the first role that you have ever played?
BH: I started doing short skits and improv, but for my first stage performance, I played about 5 different characters in Annie.
SL: What was the first show that you performed in at Stage Coach?
BH: An Empty Plate at the Café du Grand Boeuf. I played the headwaiter, Claude, in 2006. It was my first show after an eight year absence from the stage.
SL: What was the best role that you have ever played?
BH: That’s really hard to say. Every character is different and brings something new. Some of my favorites were Andy in Wayside Motor Inn, Mellersh in Enchanted April and the many denizens of Tuna, Texas in Greater Tuna.
SL: What do you prefer, being an actor or being a director and why?
BH: I don’t know if I can answer that, because they are two completely different things. I love them both. I love being an actor and creating a character, giving them life and creating something that people will (hopefully) enjoy watching. I love being a director because I’m able to shape and mold a production into my specific vision, and create an entire world for actors to play in for a short period of time. They are two very different things, and I don’t know if I could say I prefer one over the other.
SL: What was the strangest role that you have played?
BH: Strangest? Well, that would probably be Greater Tuna. Having to play 10 different characters, both men and women, with impossibly fast costume changes, will certainly mess with your mind.
SL: When you act, what type of genre would you rather perform in? And why?
BH: I love comedy because I love to laugh and make people laugh, but I also love having the audience hang on your every word and having them eating out of the palm of your hand that a good drama allows. I’m very non-committal, aren’t I?
SL: Do you have any exercises that you like to do before you perform?
BH: Kegel. Wait… Jeff Thompson already said that, didn’t he? I like to stretch out, do a few push-ups and rock out to Guns and Roses or Iron Maiden. That’s about it.
SL: What is your guilty pleasure?
BH: Anything with sugar. I’ve been recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, so my previous diet of fried foods, tons of carbs and copious amounts of sugar doesn’t work to well. I’m still not very good at staying away from the sugar. Don’t judge me!
SL: The current show that you are in, Duck Hunter Shoots Angel, has you playing a jaded newspaper reporter. If you could choose your dream job, what would it be and why?
BH: Hmmm… Something that would allow me to do all the things I love to do, like theater, film and my facebook addiction, anywhere I wanted to. A professional online poker player would be nice.
SL: I know you also participate in the film industry, what do you prefer? Film or live theater?
BH: That’s like the acting/directing question. I don’t know if I can answer it because they are two different things. I love the immediate gratification you get from the audience in theater. The rush of performing live is always fun. With film, you can take more time, create new worlds and get the exact shot you want the audience to see. If you screw up, you can always go back and reshoot it as well. Film is also more of a permanent medium, relatively speaking. Theater is here and gone. They are two different animals. Theater is full of life and energy, and film allows you to produce the exact image and pretty picture you want. I love them both.
SL: What are your pet peeves?
BH: Straw wrappers that I can’t seem to open, having to act to thin air when your fellow actors aren’t at rehearsal and Mondays. That’s right, Monday, I’m talking to you.
SL:If you were picked for a reality tv show, what show would it be and why?
BH: The Amazing Race, definitely. It’s a great show. You get to travel around the world doing really cool things, and possibly winning a million dollars. I also loved The Mole when it was on. I would have loved to have been on that show.