Messenger No. 4 – Dramatis Personae – Philip Olson

Name: Philip Olson

Where are you from originally?
I was born in Pasadena California, just down the street from the famous Hollywood Graveyard (where Michael Jackson lives). I spent much of my youth living in the deserts of Albuquerque, NM

How long have you been in Austin?
15 years, I moved here before all the cedars turned into strip malls.

Who are some of the the folks you’re playing in Messenger No. 4?
I play Messenger No. 15, best friend to Messenger No. 4. I work in tech support, and don’t really enjoy my cubicle life. I make it a personal mission to keep No. 4 out of trouble, no matter the cost.

I also get to play a love-struck Demetrius from Midsummer, Apollo god of the Sun, and Menalaeus king of Sparta !

What was the very first show you did ever in your entire life?
My very first play was Crazy for You by Ira Gershwin. I was seventeen, and it was my junior year of high school. I was actually to scared to audition for a large part, but I ended up reading for one anyway by sort of a fluke. After going from a shy, introverted artist to being in the spotlight, I was hooked. Most of my peers had been acting their whole lives, so it took some time for me to catch up.

What is the single most fun thing you’ve ever gotten to do on stage?
Ok, this is going to sound really weird but…

I was in a play in college called Slaughter City. It’s about workers in a pork processing plant. Very gritty, dark, and rough. My character was unable to connect to people in a real way, and he had a vivid imagination. He has a crush on a woman twice his age, so he re-enacts a seduction scene… with a pig carcass. There was this big rock-musical number when it came down from the ceiling on a hydraulic hook, and that number/scene was the craziest/coolest moment I’ve ever experienced on a stage.

What moment on stage do you wish you could go back and erase from history?
A musical I was in two years ago based on the Odyssey by Homer. It was such anĀ  embarrassing mess, and everybody that came and saw me was too embarrassed to even talk to me about it. It was boring, corny, too long, and with unending rock ballad after rock ballad. I played the son of Odysseyus, and I spent the whole play trying to kick these drunk suitors out of the house. I ultimately have a power ballad, and kill them all. ‘Nuff said.

What about Messenger No. 4 are you most excited to be sharing with an audience?
The amazing ensemble work, and how dynamic every single actor is. It’s great to have the set and the props have a life of their own, and I love watching that. Chorus work can be drudgery… or the best part of the show. I hope that Messenger No. 4 will really surprise and excite audience members with its group work.