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RB High Grad Breaks Through ‘Fourth Wall’ as Ad-Libber in Dinner Comedy

Chris Ball will star in "Once Upon a Wedding" premiering on Valentine's Day at Lafayette Hotel.

This Valentine’s Day, Rancho Bernardo High graduate Chris Ball will take center stage in the musical comedy Once Upon a Wedding.

The dinner comedy—at San Diego’s Lafayette Hotel on Feb. 14 and Feb. 15—tells the story of Daisy Dudley and Davis Do-Wright and their wedding day, which is filled with mayhem.

Ball, 28, who said he grew up in the industry, also is a musician. He recently gave Patch the scoop on his role in this new production.

Patch: Tell us about the play and the character you play.

Ball: Davis is a man deeply in love with his bride-to-be, but just wants to get married and be done with the wedding part of it.  All of the planning and all of the preparation was done by Daisy, his fiancee, and her mother, Zina.  To him, the size and ornateness of the wedding matters very little, so long as Daisy is his bride.  He stands back while her family “tries” to help “fix” Daisy’s perception of a meticulously planned wedding gone terribly wrong.

Davis grows increasingly frustrated with his sister, Debbie, and her words of wisdom, and Daisy’s Uncle Julie’s seemingly endless number of stories regarding his past wives.  He eventually is convinced, by his father-in-law-to-be, that he is the only one that can get through to her.

Patch: What challenges did you face while playing this character?

Ball: I think every time we do the show, there are new challenges. This play itself challenges convention. Theatre conventions like “the fourth wall,” the invisible barrier between the players and the audience isn’t just broken, but shattered completely by creating the illusion that all of the audience members are guests at our wedding.

The constant ad-libbing with our guests can be quite challenging, but rewarding at the same time. People always want to ask us, the actors, not the characters, questions during intermissions while we are mingling with them, still in character. It is just another way this show is unique.

Patch: How did you become an actor? What/who is your inspiration? 

Ball: I became an actor because I literally grew up in the theater at Rancho Bernardo High School. My father was the drama teacher there from the time I was 5 up until my junior year of high school.

So for almost 10 years I built sets, went on trips with dad on the weekends to SDSU’s theatre department for props, and to San Diego Stage and Lighting for lights, and sat in on countless auditions and rehearsals, and even helped tech plays. 

I guess it was just learning by osmosis, but I think I had the knack for it early on. When I was eventually old enough to actually audition for my dad’s shows, he was much tougher and much more critical of me than any of his other students, even though my peers’ perception was that I had it “so easy” because I was the director’s son. 

I had to work my butt off to show them that it was dedication and talent, not privilege, that earned my roles. I remember, in my sophomore year, my dad didn’t cast me for either show, even though he confided in me later that he should have. 

I didn’t have a substantial role until my junior year. It was that role that earned me the award of Best Actor in a Supporting Role, voted on by my peers, so that was extremely gratifying. Father knows best, and he is easily the biggest reason I do this and have such a deeply rooted respect and passion for performance arts.

Patch: What’s next for you?

Ball: What’s next? Who actually knows the answer to that?  I am in the process of seeking representation in L.A. and will be attending a Pilot Season workshop/ showcase for some Hollywood agents, managers, casting directors and producers. 

Hopefully, I can book a pilot and find someone to help find me work and guide my career. This has been a long time coming because it is something I wanted to do 10 years ago, but maybe I wasn’t quite ready then—I am now.

Tickets for Once Upon a Wedding range from $49.95 to $94.95 and includes dinner. For more information, visit the Laughing Tree Productions site. 

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Marijo Clemons February 05, 2013 at 03:02 AM
Break a leg Chris. It was fun meeting youmat the symposium. The Twins and Mom

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