Studio Visit: Max Tomaszewski
Studio Visit is a Q&A with a local artist. Here, a chat with actor Max Tomaszewski, 23, of Urbana.
Q: You started acting at the Station Theater in Urbana when you were in high school, didn't you?
A: I started my senior year, when I played the drug dealer who was getting tortured in "The Lieutenant of Inishmore." It was a small part but a lot of fun.
Q: Had you been acting in high school plays, too?
A: I was in the Drama Club at Urbana High School with Mr. (Greg) Chew. I started my freshman year and got a few small roles, and then I got lucky and got lead roles my sophomore year. Those were really fun but mainly musicals. I haven't done musicals since then.
My junior year, I was an exchange student in Munich, Germany. I didn't do theater there. I did a lot of sports, soccer and cross-country. My senior year at Urbana High I did some shows.
Q: Did you major in theater at USC-Los Angeles?
A: I majored in public policy. I was interested in theater; I always knew I would do theater because it's a lot of fun. I was interested in the law and public policy, and so I ended up taking those classes. After a few semesters, I figured that was the closest I had to a major, so I ended up getting a degree in that.
Q: Did you do theater in California?
A: I was in student films because it's a pretty big film school. After I graduated I was in "The Changeling" directed by Dave Barton at the Long Beach Playhouse. That was kind of a reintroduction to theater.
Q: Why and when did you come back here?
A: I came back at Christmas two years ago because I wasn't too sure what to do with myself. L.A. is a crazy place if you don't know what you want to do. I was working a lot to pay my rent, and I don't think I was focused. I was getting along fine, but I wasn't content, I guess.
Q: Did you ever go out on auditions?
A: Not ever. I don't think I was aware of what opportunities were available, and I think I was exhausted after school. It was a long process.
Q: Did anyone ever ask you to be in a movie?
A: Dave Barton talked to me about doing film. He directed a movie "Snuff" (2011). I didn't know how soon that would get rolling, and I was impatient to get out of there. I was living in South Central, and it was a very depressed neighborhood. Being so unsure of what I wanted to do, that environment was kind of depressing.
Q: You are really handsome. Did people approach you about being in the movies?
A: Yeah, I got that out there. Everywhere, really. It's encouraging, but it's kind of funny. What does it mean?
Q: Do you have a day job?
A: Right now I work as a buyer at the Common Ground Food Co-op. It's a really awesome place, and I'm enjoying that job. I would say what I'm doing now is learning and being able to provide for myself while doing shows at the Station.
Q: Have you been auditioning a lot?
A: I'm in the next show at the Station. I play Spike in "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike." It's written by Christopher Durang and directed by Rick Orr.
It's really funny, and it's a big departure from my last role as Brandon in "Good Boys and True." It had a lot of grave material. It was really difficult and really haunting. No matter what at the end of the night I ended up with that character. There was a need to decompress after that show ended.
Q: What are your goals?
A: My main goal all the time is to just grow as a person. I have a lot of work to do and a lot to explore, and I don't want to neglect that.
Editor's note: "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" opens March 27 at the Station Theatre in Urbana.