Seasoned Actor Kevin Murray Wears Several Hats in the Theater

Posted: November 6, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Ferraro

Kevin Murray
Kevin Murray
Photo courtesy of Kevin Murray

As a seasoned veteran with more than 30 years of acting experience under his belt, Kevin Murray, managing director of Mason’s professional theater group, Theater of the First Amendment (TFA), is used to being in the spotlight.

However, Murray will try his hand as director behind the scenes for Jack Gilhooley’s “The Warrior,” which will be presented at TheaterSpace on the Fairfax Campus on Saturday, Nov. 8, at 8 p.m.

Murray first developed a passion for the stage in high school. After pursuing a theater degree at the University of Maryland, Murray got his first taste of the stage when he began working at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. For seven years, Murray performed in historical plays for the hundreds of tourists who visited each day. He also first developed an interest in directing at that time.

Since then, he has continued his acting career primarily in Washington, D.C., and has performed at the Folger Theater, Wooly Mammoth Theater, Round House Theater, as well as at Mason with TFA. He has also acted in film and television productions.

“Although I have only directed a handful of plays, and I don’t pursue directing as my primary artistic outlet, if I find a project that I feel very strongly about that I believe needs to be seen by an audience, I will take the project on as director to make sure it gets done,” says Murray.

“The applause at the end of the show and realizing that the audience has connected with the story that has just been told is the most rewarding part of directing.”

Murray managed his own theater company, Small Beer Theater, for five years. Mason’s Center for the Arts and TFA brought the company in to read new plays written by students and help young writers hone their craft. Soon thereafter, Murray joined TFA and Mason’s Theater Department faculty.

Murray first developed an interest in directing when he performed at Ford’s Theater and had the opportunity to act, write and direct for the theater. However, after working with some of the best directors in the D.C. area, Murray realized that directing for the theater is a very complex job and requires a large skill set.

According to Murray, a director must have knowledge about acting, designing and marketing, as well as how to communicate with the professionals in these areas. Understanding the complexity of the audience is also important. Murray soon began taking on smaller projects such as stage reading of new works to enhance his directing skills and the art of communicating with the actor.

He knew he wanted to bring “The Warrior” to Mason after a successful run at the Capital Fringe and New York International Fringe Festivals this past summer. The 70-minute play is about an Iraq War veteran named Tammy (played by Marietta Hedges) who returns home from her second tour of duty with a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Mary Lechter, who plays a filmmaker and is also Murray’s wife, makes Tammy the subject of a new documentary.

“Working with Marietta and Mary for this play was fantastic because they are both so accomplished in their own ways,” says Murray. “We all felt the same desire to show audiences a compelling story about the wounds veterans bring home that are not visible.”

See the Gazette article for more details about “The Warrior.”

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