A Method For Madness: Q&A With Mark Maciejewski

Junior Theatre Major Talks About His Upcoming Role As Hamlet In The Next Mainstage Production


Published: April 22, 2010

Given the nature of acting, perhaps it should not be a surprise that Mark Maciejewski, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’11, was not at all like the titular character that he is set to play.

Mark Maciejewski, FCLC ’11, will tackle his biggest role yet when he portrays Hamlet in the next Fordham Theatre Mainstage Production. (Alexandra Palomino/The Observer)

Far from being the depressed, brooding type, he makes an impression of being outgoing, lively and passionate about his work. He seems to have real fun in his acting, which should hopefully be apparent in his performances in the next Fordham Mainstage, an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

The Observer met up with Maciejewski before one of his rehearsals to discuss the preparation for his role.

Observer: What made you decide to go into acting and what was your first acting experience?

Mark Maciejewski: I decided to go into acting when I was in about fourth grade. I saw Guys and Dolls at my high school and just thought I had to do that. So, I started in about seventh grade just doing musicals and then I think I decided I wanted to do acting as my career [during the time] I was choosing my college. I almost went to a school for dentistry, and then I came and I visited Fordham and I just loved it. I found the program, and I realized I had to do that.

Observer: Do you have any mentors or role models when it comes to acting?

M.M.: Oh, mentors or role models? Probably my high school director in our high school productions. Both him and his wife, both actors and directors. They really shaped the way I go about plays.

Observer: Did they do anything in particular?

M.M.: They really enjoyed acting. Sometimes people take acting very very seriously, and it is serious. It is a lot of work, but sometimes people seem to miss the joy in doing it, and [my high school director and his wife] never lost that. They always found fun in everything they did, but they worked hard. They taught me to read the play every night and just constantly go over it and think of new ways to approach it, but just have as much fun as you can.

Observer: Have you seen previous stage or film adaptations of Hamlet and, if so, what is your favorite?

M.M.: Yeah (laughs), I have seen many actually. Probably three stage directions and then all of the major films. The [Kenneth] Branagh, Mel Gibson, Ethan Hawke, but um…

Observer: The Laurence Olivier?

M.M.: Yes, yes. My favorite [Hamlet performance] was probably the Jude Law production I saw. For his performance, not for the overall production.

Observer: Is there anything special you do to prepare? Do you try to memorize your lines and interpret them later or do you memorize while interpreting?

M.M.: Memorize while interpreting. It really depends on the show, but with as many lines as I have for Hamlet, I had to start memorizing a little earlier. But it helps to be off-book while you’re trying to discover new things in the text.

Observer: Do you ever experience any nervousness before performing or are you mostly confident?

M.M.: I haven’t been nervous performing in a long time. I’ve been in a couple shows at Fordham and I wasn’t really nervous for them. But I started to feel a little jittery for Hamlet (laughs).

Observer: Do you consider it to be difficult performing one of the most recognized stage characters ever?

M.M.: No, I mean it’s a challenge. I realize that it’s a big challenge and I’m really excited for it. But I don’t like to look at it as “This is Hamlet and this must be Hamlet. It’s the biggest thing or the biggest role I’ve ever tackled.” I just look at it as, this is another role and this is my take on it and this is our production of it.

Observer: Will there be any differences in this adaptation and will anything stand out from traditional performances of Hamlet?

M.M.: Oh, well there will be plenty. I guess that will be a surprise though. What can I tell you? Some very interesting staging.