Red Light Winter goes to Poland: Interview with Mike Turner

Mike Turner LSTFI Red Light Winter by Adam Rapp

30 Jun Red Light Winter goes to Poland: Interview with Mike Turner

Mike Turner is an alumnus of The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute®. He recently participated in the March production of Pulitzer-prize finalist Red Light Winter by Adam Rapp, which was invited to participate in the International Theatre Schools Festival (ITSelF), currently running in Warsaw, Poland. LSTFI was first invited to represent the United States at ITSelF in 2011 and has been consistently invited back to participate for every incarnation since. Mr. Turner discusses his process and excitement for bringing the production to the international fore in an interview for The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute blog.

Mike was also honored with the award for Best Actor at The International Theatre Schools Festival! His acceptance speech is below:

When this came along, it seemed pretty clear to me that it was something that would help me grow as an actor and help continue my training but would also help me grow my career a little bit more, too, and advance me in what I can do and what I can show people.” - Mike Turner

Q. What attracted you to this project?
A. Laura Savia was the main draw, originally. I heard a little bit about the play and heard the main monologue done by another friend in class. I worked with her on The Last Days of Judas Iscariot a few years back, here, so seeing that’s what brought me in, really.

Q. Red Light Winter is an award-winning Pulitzer-prize finalist known for its challenging, sexual, edgy material. Tell me a bit about your character. How did you approach to this material?
A. The character is one of the toughest I’ve played. Especially since graduating school, I’ve become more attune to “type” and where I fit and what’s marketable about me. A lot about this character is not what I usually market myself with, but I found a lot of connections to him, too, and to the material. A lot of the frustration and pursuing things that may or may not be there, the sexual aspects are a lot of things that I remember from my early years in high school and a lot of time back. It was lot of fun delving into that and getting to use The Lee Strasberg Method™ techniques, too, especially to get into the mindset of this guy.

Q. It’s not often that working actors can be involved in productions featuring other artists who have experienced the same training. Can you talk a bit about working with The Lee Strasberg Method actors and director and how that’s impacted this production?
A. I think working with Laura- who her training  is not specifically The Lee Strasberg Method, but she’s worked with The Lee Strasberg Method trained actors for a while now. She is amazing, because just lets you go. She does her best to steer you as little as possible when she sees you heading for the rocks but really let you show the path, which is important, because it’s very much for exploration. Try things out and see if they work, and if they don’t try new things. It was great working with the cast. Both Ignacio and Shannon have that training and work from that source, but it’s great, too, to have this final sounding board in Laura who could filter out what was personal and necessary for us and pinpoint what was coming out of our technique.

Q. In addition to the production of Red Light Winter in March, you all have been invited to participate in the International Theatre Schools Festival in Warsaw, Poland later this month. As an acting student, did you imagine that such opportunities would be a part of your training?
A. No, but I hoped. I had no clear idea of where I would end up after graduation, even though I had many images of where I’d like to end up. This was one of the many opportunities that just fell out of the sky at a time when I was really hoping to face a challenge and work with good people again and get a big opportunity. When this came along, it seemed pretty clear to me that it was something that would help me grow as an actor and help continue my training but would also help me grow my career a little bit more, too, and advance me in what I can do and what I can show people.

Mike Turner is an alumnus of The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute. Learn more about the programs and classes available here. Apply here.