Voices of Summer: Daniel May 

Actor/playwright

(as told to Curt Holman)

 

New father Daniel May will be performing in several shows of Georgia Shakespeare's summer season, including A Servant of Two Masters and Joe Orton's Loot. An avid movie buff, May estimates his DVD collection is more than 1,200 strong.

I grew up in Snellville in the suburbs of Atlanta. My parents wouldn't let me see Aliens and The Fly the summer of '86 because they said I wasn't old enough. But when I got older, I was the ringleader of getting a group to go to the opening night of the big summer blockbuster. The first time I remember being sucked into the summer hype machine was Batman. There's nothing like being part of an opening-night crowd. You know that everyone there is there for the same reason: to have a good time or to boo if it's a dud. I remember when I saw Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich's Independence Day – which, of course, we called ID4. I was there opening night, on the Fourth of July, and had a helluva time, but I know that it's a bad movie, and I have no desire to see it again.

I've slowly transitioned away from being a part of the opening-night experiences as I get older and have more responsibilities. For the Star Wars prequels I'd say "OK, I'll go," and it was always, "Damn, it sucked again." Sometimes I'll go in the afternoon on opening day, but there's an energy when the audience is there and it's just packed. If I can't feed off that energy of the group, I'll focus on my more critical mind-set.

I acted in Bug at Actor's Express but didn't have the opportunity to see Michael Shannon do the role on Broadway. I'd love to see what he does with the film, but it's a completely different thing. It's a movie, and film audiences have a different line where they're willing to suspend their disbelief than with theater. One of the questions in the play that we discussed as actors is, are the bugs real, or just in his head? You can't show the bugs on stage. But the film audience expects special effects and more flash, so do you show the bugs?

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