An Upstate native, Clark Nesbitt credits his beginnings to Ms. Edith Mack for inspiring him through a poem called The Creation by James Weldon Johnson. Clark asked her to write it out for him so he could memorize and perform the 6-minute monologue.
“That’s actually how it started because of my involvement in church.” He began to act in elementary school all the way through high school. Being the only one in his family who was an actor, Clark further developed his craft long after school.
Clark's first debut at Centre Stage was Joe Bell in Guided Tour. He was on performing 85% of the time. “All costume changes were on stage. I changed while I was talking. Adding a jacket, taking off a shirt and adding on another shirt. Small things to give the appearance of change and the progression of time and space.”
Through Clark’s career he has played many roles including Hoke in Driving Miss Daisy, Dwayne in Sleeping Indoors, and Mr. Rogers in Through the Night. Most currently Clark is directing and playing Mr. McIntosh in the Fringe Series production, Memories of the Game.
Taylor Marlatt, Marketing and Development director of Centre Stage, explains that “One of our big goals at Centre Stage is to highlight new authors and playwrights. This was one of new play festival submissions last year. It was so good and so poignant; it shows such a hard topic that’s relevant, which is why we invited Kristy Thomas, the playwright to be part of the season.”
In case you didn’t know, Centre Stage offers a variety of programming. Everything from the Main Stage Series (think JukeBox Heros) to the thought-provoking Fringe Series. Clark’s current role is part of the Fringe Series, which deals with human nature and all of it’s truth. Themes deal with homelessness, prisoners of war, relationships, and many other personal topics that affect our daily lives.
“All of the topics that we’re talking about are relevant topics that happen in a lot of families that aren’t necessarily talked about in a very open way. This is a way for us to bring it to life and then have a discussion about it afterwards. The beautiful thing with Clark is that he’s able to be the director and an actor in it, he’s able to see both sides,” explains Taylor.
Not an easy job as anyone.
"The arts very often save people and we need to realize that," Clark affirms.
Clark is an advocate for the Fringe Series because it deals with relevant topics that affects many people in the community. For this particular play he used his 27 years of experience working with families living with disabilities and special needs. It’s given him insight on the impact it has on the individual and loved ones. He ponders, “ What are their experiences, what changes do they have to make in their lives? And how does it impact everyone in the family? What does real love look like?
Being the dedicated actor he is, Clark sometimes has to go through many changes in order to prepare for a role. One role he recalled having to grow out his hair and facial hair for over 6 months playing a homeless man. Considering he takes delight in being clean cut this was a challenging task. “I shaved at the closing of the show. I was elated to be able to go from one to the other and back.”
When asked about the toughest role he played, he reminisced his time at the BONTS (Beginning of New Things) Cultural Theatre when he played four characters simultaneously; A woman, a playboy, an eccentric designer, and a crooked politician. The entire time, he was actually the devil disguised to pray on his victims. “That was back to back, so jumping from one to the other, with costume changes. It was very much fun,” added Clark.
Memories of the Game centers on the McIntosh household, an African-American family of four, who must struggle with the father’s progressing Alzheimer’s disease, while grappling with their own demons and strained family dynamics.
Don’t miss your opportunity to see this talented actor and director.
Opens January 24, 2017 with Tuesday and Wednesday performances until February 8, 2017.