What was the best advice David Itkin gave you? (laughs) About acting? About anything. "Witt, it's all a matter of birth con--I mean, breath control." He was the most inspiring man. When he talked about theater, you sat there, open-mouthed. He was an "artiste" along with being a theater artist. His love of the theater just filled every bone in your body. I learned from that man to love the theater. And what did you learn from Bella? That I'm not a leading man; that I was a character actor. And save some for tomorrow night. Was that difficult to accept when you were young, that you weren't a leading man? Yeah! You know, you have this image of yourself as gaunt. But it was valuable advice. I realized what I should be doing and how I should be doing it, and how the audience sees me--and also, [being] in the moment. I never think in terms of character or characterization. So, what do you think of? As I get older, I find that all these people I play are really part of me, and I don't have to look for them anywhere else. That's where a lot of young actors make a mistake. I gotta find the character. The characters right here. All you gotta' do is use it. This guy I'm playing now, everybody says I'm perfect for it. This guy is a wonderful man. And he's not just a guy who loves large breasts. He's honest, he's not hypocritical, he knows what he is, he knows...that he has no talent. You look for those things in yourself, not somebody else, not Russ Meyer, who they tell me he was patterned after. That's the joy I get out of it, showing different parts of myself. When I played Pandarus (in Troilus and Cressida), I played the macho part with guys and the feminine part with the women. And there is that fem part in all of us that a lot of actors are afraid to show. Go for it. Do you have a favorite experience in theater? There are several. There was last year (and) there I was, working with Alan Schneider. I did 11 shows with Alan. I think I learned more about working with text, the importance of the playwright, honoring the words through him...but last year with Salesman. It was the complete experience of all of us being together. It was like the Arena Stage ensemble when I was there. We became a wonderful, wonderful company of actors who weren't afraid to fail, and who respected each other's work. Did the politics of Washington affect the company's work? A lot of people would like to think that it did, but it really didn't. I loved living in Washington. You wake up, and your local news is the news of the world. I just recently had an opportunity to go back, and I refused. I didn't want to try to recreate what we as a company had. Bob Prosky still lives there. He's sort of the "king" of Washington.
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