Evan was more than just a glint in his Mother’s eye the spring of 1986 when she played the part of Simonne Evrard, mistress to Marat in the play “Marat Sade” at Main Street Theatre in Houston, Texas. Barbara had only just found out she was pregnant shortly after auditioning for the character five months prior. Worried that she would have to forfeit the role no sooner than she had been cast, Barbara mentioned the good news to the director, Jeff. Who, as it turns out, was more than willing to have her aboard despite the additional non-speaking role. Jeff thought the pregnancy would add an intriguing nuance to the character and play itself, but to Barbara, this role was more than that. It was another chance to feed her addiction. Acting is a necessity to her. Like an itch that cannot be scratched; never abating. An itch, inexorably bestowed upon Evan himself who was born that summer, innocent and unaware of his future.
Evan grew up in the theatres of Houston: onstage, backstage and in the audience. His bedtime stories were the performances he watched. His playground: the stage. The actors were his action-figures and his imagination was only more enabled by the sets that adorned and moved with every changing scene. He learned early on that he liked having the attention of an audience. It was exhilarating to him. Nothing he had ever done in his short little life thus far was more fulfilling than performing and he didn’t care why; He was at home. Yet, it wasn’t until he was cast as an obscenely mouthed twelve year old ring bearer in a play called “Prenuptial Bereavement” that he first recognized the itch.
It came on opening night. Evan had butterflies in his stomach while standing just off stage waiting to make his first entrance of the show. The knots in his abdomen grew tighter and more nauseating just seconds before he was to make his way in. His mouth began to salivate profusely and at the very moment he felt his stomach pitch slightly as if he was going to throw-up, he heard an uproar of laughter from the audience stemming from a line by Steven, the best man. Evan’s nerves immediately settled. Like someone had flicked a switch in his gut. His mind was immediately focused. Determination filled his veins. He coveted the audience’s laughter. He longed for it. He heard his cue and stepped into the light of the performance space. He spoke his first line, “Why the hell to I have to be here. I’m not even related to either of you assholes.” Evan heard the amusement from the audience. He could feel their smiles warming his cheeks more so than the fresnel and ellipsoidal lights that lit the stage. With every submission of dialogue between him and his fellow actors, the spectators would kindly return the favor with laughter. And with every laugh, the performers would return more pleasing rhetoric. By the end of the play, Evan felt more satisfied than he ever had before.
That night, he reflected on his epiphany the moment before he went on stage and as it enveloped throughout the evening. Evan had never been in a comedic play before. Sure he’s heard laughter from other actor’s dialogue and even some from his own lines in the past, but not like this. This was like getting that Huffy mountain bike that he’s always wanted. Evan would pray every night and beg his parents every day to the point of exhaustion and empty hope. Then one day, there it was, parked in the drive way. He pined for it so much that he was in disbelief when he finally got it; surreal. Somehow, this feeling was different though. Evan wanted more of this feeling. He felt empty without it. “Tomorrow,” he thought. “Tomorrow night, I will have it again.”
His performances continued to give him peace for the next four weeks. Not long after the show was over however, he wondered when he would feel it again. Evan unrelentingly continues to audition for plays, film and television, in order to satisfy his itch. He never tries to fight it. Performing is his addiction and the audience’s reactions are the drug that enables him. He has a Hereditary Itch he needs to scratch.
And to this day, the first role on Evan’s acting resume is The Unborn Child of Simonne Evrard – Marat Sade.
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