Eric Sirakian ’10: Thrilling Theatrics

Whether he is acting or directing, Eric Sirakian ’10 has shown himself to be a star in all productions. A serious thespian, Sirakian has participated in countless Theater 520s and Drama Labs. In an interview with The Phillipian, Sirakian talks about his experiences with theatre and his opinions about show business. Q: Why do you love performing? A: Theatre is magic – a bunch of strangers get together in a dark room and leave with a whole new understanding of the world. Being on stage is thrilling—it’s like playing with fire. Anything can happen, things explode. I love stories. It’s a lot of fun to tell stories and to play different parts. It’s like being a kid all over again. The best part is that I find a part of myself in every role. Q: How did you become interested in theatre? A: As a kid, I was always making up stories and pretending to be different people. My parents knew what they were doing when they put me in my first acting class. I was four years old. I fell in love with theatre four years later when my uncle took me to see the RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company) perform “Macbeth.” It was magic. Q: What was the first play you performed in? A: When I was six I performed in “Terezin, Children of the Holocaust.” Now I’m in that same show as an older character, a 17-year old. With the help of an Abbot grant, that show will come to PA later this term. Q: What is your favorite production that you participated in at Phillips Academy? A: I loved working on “Urinetown.” I was the youngest member of the cast and got plenty of special attention. Also, I really admired and loved the ’08 generation of the PA theatre department. Q: Do you prefer acting or directing? How do you balance your roles as director and actor? A: Directing makes me a better actor. As I help others along in the process, I realize my own mistakes and pitfalls. I enjoy being in charge of the entire creative process, and I love directing, but nothing [can be compared with] performing. Q: Who is your favorite playwright? A: Besides Shakespeare? I don’t know—there are so many. Probably [Anton] Chekhov. His characters are so real. They want two completely opposite things and are torn in the middle as they reach for both. It’s hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time. Q: What is your favorite type of production? A: I enjoy working on any genre of theatre as long as the material communicates strongly with the audience. Q: Out of all the plays that you have seen, which is your favorite? A: ?My favorite play is usually the last one I saw, which in this case is “A Streetcar Named Desire,” starring Cate Blanchett at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Q: Who is your favorite actor or actress? A: Meryl Streep, no question. Although I also love Sean Penn, Daniel Day Lewis, Robin Williams, Cate Blanchett, Al Pacino… I better stop because this is a long list! Q: Do you have a dream role? A: Yes, I have several! Romeo, Timon of Athens, Alan Strang, John Proctor, Tom Wingfield, Biff Loman, and Treplev – especially Treplev, from “The Seagull.” Q: What do you hope to do with your future? A: I will definitely study theatre in college. Theatre will always be a huge part of my life. One day I would love to be an actor with my own company. Q: Are you presently working on any shows? A: I am currently working on a senior project along with Calista Small ’10 and Lily Shaffer ’10. The three of us will perform “The Glass Menagerie” in April…It’s challenging but also very fun. I love the play, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to share it with an audience.