In Depth: Ben Ortega

benTell us about your character.
Michel is an interesting person.  He’s conflicted between what he wants and what he can have.  He’s settled for whatever little happiness he can get by being around the fickle and unattainable Natalya.  He accepts the teasers, provocations and flirtations she uses on him, which sometimes are borderline cruel.

Knowing that we all bring ourselves to the roles we play, is there a character’s experience that you connect with in particular?
I guess I know what it is like being around someone I know I could never have.  It eventually becomes a painful pleasure, hard to give up.

James has talked about DESIRE as being a word that is intrinsic to the play. As you are going through rehearsals how have you approached this or come to see it in the play and your character?
Yes.  Michel’s plight is nothing if not desire for a woman he’s in love with but know will never be his.

What kind of research have you been doing to prepare for the role?
What I usually do when preparing for a role: trying to first find all the differences and similarities between me and the character I’m playing, and ultimately find out what moves him, what he’s looking for and how he’s going about getting it.

A Month in the Country opens Friday, March 13 and runs through Sunday, April 12th. Buy tickets here.

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