Dealt a ratty hand

Q & A with sophomore Mason Taylor on acting as cop


McDaniel's Photography

Sophomore Mason Taylor examines a newspaper article as FBI agent Carl Hanratty. His coworkers, Agents Cod and Branton, are played by senior Jennifer Adamec and junior Mitchell Singstock. The two, along with junior Graham Lutes as Agent Dollar, provide some of the comic relief within the FBI agency, giving snarky comments and sarcastic jokes in response to Hanratty’s investigative efforts.

Tori Swart, Broadcast Editor-in-Chief

Based on the title of the winter musical, “Catch Me If You Can,” audiences can expect a chase between two characters. The chased, Frank Abagnale, Jr., has already been introduced. Now to his chaser: FBI agent Carl Hanratty.

Hanratty holds much of the comedic relief within this comedic musical, and he is played by sophomore Mason Taylor in his first high school lead role. Taylor was asked about his experience with music and his time playing the agent:

Q: How long have you been involved with music and theater?

A: I have done music all my life, but I started doing musical theater in the eighth grade, where I played Prince Eric in “The Little Mermaid.” After that, I realized I liked theater. I did Whapham Camp during the summer, and I got the lead in that show. I think that my success was a factor in how much fun I was having. Then I came to high school and I just loved being a part of the community.

Q: How have you grown as an actor?

A: Looking back on “The Little Mermaid,” I realize I was horrible. I was stiff on stage and I was uncomfortable with dancing or moving. I was comfortable talking in front of large groups, but acting was strange because you already have set lines. Taking acting classes has been extremely helpful because they force us to be more open in front of people with both my acting and with choreography.

Q: How did you prepare for this role of Carl Hanratty outside of class time and rehearsal time?

A: I watched lots of older movies on cops in general. This play takes place in older times, and I wanted to see how the cops moved, how they spoke, how they acted, even how they held their guns. I have researched the person himself as well. He is middle-age during this play, and he’s lonely, because his job is literally all he has. Then Abagnale comes along and gets the best of him, and he wants to prove that he is better in every way. He sets his whole life goal on catching this kid.

Q: How is this role different from other roles you have had in the past?

A: Normally the stuff that I’ve done in the past is always along the line of a prince. I like this change because it is something completely new. It was frustrating to play this character at first, but then I stopped thinking about how Norbert Leo Butz on Broadway plays him, and I started putting my own twist on him. You have to play the character, not other people playing the character.

Q: What is the best thing about playing Carl Hanratty?

A: I get to act goofy and move weird with jerky movements. When I get to dance, I don’t really have to dance, just move awkwardly because Hanratty’s really quirky. He’s a stiff character, and it’s fun, being able to be awkward.

Q: What has it been like working with senior Paul Phillips, who plays Abagnale?

A: Working with Phillips is fun. Before we began rehearsal, we both agreed that we are both open to discussion on the way we played our characters. If the characters don’t work together and the actors are trying to play to the audience without regard for other actors, it messes everything up.

Q: What has it been like working with the cast in general?

A: I love this group. There’s not an inner hierarchy, just equal respect, which I like.

Q: What has been one of the coolest moments in the rehearsal process so far?

A: Philips called me on Christmas Day, and there’s a song in the play where his character calls my character on Christmas Day. He started going through his lines on the phone, and I started going through mine. It was amazing. We were so excited by how cool it was when we finished the scene.

Q: What are you most looking forward to for the performance?

A: I love when the directors come to us afterward and they are just overjoyed with our performance. Through the whole experience, there have been some very tough moments where everyone’s tired, we’re all ready to go home, but we have to stay and finish the scene. The moment when the directors say, “Great job tonight, guys. That was phenomenal-“ that makes it worthwhile. That is the moment I’m looking forward to most.

Q: What do you want the audience to especially look forward to?

A: I want the audience to especially look forward to the little comedic lines that you have to think about a little bit before understanding, because there are a lot of them.

Q: Do you plan on doing something with theater or music later on in life?

A: I’m going to keep music in my life somehow. I’m thinking of becoming a vocal doctor or something within music business. I want to be a vocal doctor because I have a lot of vocal problems, and I would like to help other people fix theirs.

“Catch Me If You Can” will be performed Jan. 29-31 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are ten dollars.