Some people you just have good feelings about. Like Charlie Saxton, for instance. When Charlie first showed up at the Summer Intensive a couple years ago, his talent, sense of humor, and all around good nature made him an easy fit among the Labyrinth family. So, it was no surprise that he’s been around at every step of the A Family For All Occasions journey, playing the part of Sam from the first reading, to the Barn Series, and now in our World Premiere production. We talked to Charlie briefly between the first few rehearsals for the show, which begins April 25th and runs through May 19th at the Bank Street Theater. Here’s what he had to say.
Where did you grow up? What got you into acting?
I was born and raised in Bristol, Pennsylvania. A quaint little town twenty miles north of Philadelphia. GO WARRIORS!
I started acting when I was five years old. I was brought up in a very artistic and creative house with both my parents being actors, directors, and musicians. I was a real high-energy kid who liked grabbing people’s attention, and I also had a college fund to take care of. It just made sense! Jokes aside, I can’t pin point the exact moment I realized I wanted to start acting, but I’m sure getting to see my parents perform and then watching people applaud and/or buy them free drinks had a real powerful effect.
This is your first show with us at Labyrinth, but you’ve been playing the part of Sam all throughout the development of this play, from the Intensive, to the Barn Series, to the workshop — can you talk a little bit about how you got involved and what the development process has been like for you?
I feel really lucky to be part of the few who have seen the play’s entire journey. The process for this show has been spread out over several years, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m still in my early twenties, and have had crucial life experiences over the course of the show’s development that’ve helped in showing different colors of Sam, so I am thankful for that!
I first got involved with Labyrinth when I was approached by the man, the legend, Brett C. Leonard. He was a writer for a show that I was on (Hung). During filming of the second season he asked, “Hey, what’re you doing this summer?” It was shortly after that I was introduced to the Labyrinth Summer Intensive. I spent two weeks at what can be best described as a punk rock summer camp for theatre fanatics. The days are spent writing, rehearsing, and reading plays; and the nights are spent celebrating, barbecuing, and bonding. I had never seen or experienced anything like it. I was hooked instantly.
A couple years after that, I was fortunate enough to be asked to participate in the Barn Series reading, which was also very cool. And now, getting to officially be part of the show, it’s just an honor. I really love the play. Bob’s so good, (not like you needed me to tell you that) and every time I get a new draft, it gets better and better.
You’re a West-Coaster, if I’m not mistaken — are you looking forward to being in NYC for a while? Have you lived here before? Are you excited?
I’m a Philly boy at heart, but I’ve spent a fair amount of time over the last few years in California, so it’s going to be great to be back on the east coast for a while. New York in the spring time is just the best. I’ve lived in the city off and on in years past, and I couldn’t be more excited to do it again.
Your character, Sam, is a bit of a shut-in/computer whiz — as a friendly young actor, I’m sure Charlie Saxton is quite different than Sam — will you be doing anything in particular to get into his frame of mind? Lock yourself in a room for a while? Invent an app, perhaps?
Haha while I have been known to be a fun, social guy, I can absolutely relate and sympathize with Sam. Let’s just say puberty was an interesting time. I always found myself opting to stay indoors and play my bass or make stop motion animations than hang with the other kids and do stuff that I probably would’ve regretted when I was older anyway! At least that’s what I tell myself to help me sleep at night…
What are you looking forward to about the rehearsal process and production? What are the challenges and opportunities you see ahead of you?
I’m looking forward to everything, to be honest. It sounds cheesy, but I genuinely love acting; and every aspect of putting a production together is just so fun to me. It’s like building a clubhouse with your friends that you get to show off and rebuild every night. It’s also fun because I feel like I’m always learning. Working on this play and with this company especially, I’m trying to absorb as much knowledge as I can. Every time I walk through the Labyrinth doors, I feel like class is in session. But on the flipside, it’s great getting to work with awesome minds like Phil and Bob because they are just as curious as I am. They have the same questions about the play and the characters as I do. It’s really quite comforting. However, I know that I’m going to be pushed to the limits physically and mentally like never before, and welcome it with open arms!