Each week we spotlight one of the cast members of “Melissa Arctic”. This week we spoke with Tom Musgrave, who has been a Road member since 2012.
Tell me about your character.
Lenny is a husband, new father, and owns a barber shop in the town of Pine City, MN. At the opening of the play, it is revealed that the town minister has built a new mall next to Lenny's barber shop which includes a brand new hair salon. Lenny had been fighting the idea and the construction of the mall, but was not successful in stopping it. We learn it is threatening his livelihood as a business owner, bringing him much stress and fear, which in turn starts his mind in a spiral of (for lack of a better term) madness. The specifics of that madness deal with how he believes he is seen by the town, his friends, but much more importantly, his wife.
What do you feel he contributes to the play?
Lenny is the engine that makes the story go. The events in the world of Melissa Arctic would not have happened if Lenny could have gotten a hold of himself, his fear, his rage, his jealousy.
How are you preparing for this role?
This has been one of the, if not THE, most challenging role I've had the blessing to live through. With Lenny, I've tried not to be general in terms of 'he goes mad.' I've tried to look at the reasons for the actions, rather than a broad sweep of 'crazy.' And in looking at those reasons, I can relate to the worries and tribulations of a man who is just trying to do his best to provide for his family, love his daughter, and love his wife. He feels rejected on all fronts, I believe we've all felt rejection, so I've done my best to just live in that space. I also could not have done this role without the tender help of our director, Scott Alan Smith. He has cemented it into my head that this journey needs to be done with ease, if that's possible. It's been an incredibly fun challenge.
What will be the audience reaction to the play and your character?
I don't know. I really don't. I hope they see the love, forgiveness, and redemption that Craig Wright offers in this play. As for the reaction to Lenny, I do hope people see that while the actions he takes are horrific, in a way they really do come out of love. He loves his wife and daughter tremendously. I cannot overstate how much that plays into what Lenny's actions are tied to. I also hope the audience gasps from time to time, as there is a lot of "What the Heck?" going on during the performance.
What do you hope they will take away from the play?
Once again, I hope they see the love, forgiveness, and redemption. During Act 1 you would think those things are impossible, but this play shifts you upside down, and shows you beautifulness amongst ugly. It is a pure joy from an actor's standpoint, and I hope the audience enjoys the ride too.