Mark Ashin gets serious about not being serious

Interview by JEN BUSH

“I simultaneously take acting way too seriously and not seriously at all,” says Mark Ashin, who plays Jeff in LOBBY HERO.  His scene partners will probably tell you it makes for a bit of a whirlwind. Kenneth Lonergan’s Tony Awards-winning play, LOBBY HERO is revived as part of City Gate Production’s 2022 season

City Gate is the new production company in the borough of Queens, performing at The Moose Lodge Theatre, 7215 Grand Avenue, Maspeth, Queens. Directed by Thom Harmon (assisted by Rich Feldman) and produced by Regina Fischedick and Tim Reifschneider, the show runs April 29 – May 8. Click HERE for tickets 

When Jeff, a luckless young security guard, is drawn into a local murder investigation, loyalties are strained to the breaking point. As Jeff’s tightly wound supervisor is called to bear witness against his troubled brother, and an attractive rookie cop finds she must stand up to her seasoned partner, truth becomes elusive and justice proves costly.

I sat down with Mark Ashin to learn more about his career, this play and what’s up next for him.

What drew you to this project? 

Both the care City Gate showed in the audition process and the absolutely hilarious script they chose. I’ve loved Lonergan’s work for a while now, but seeing how this play so deftly navigates questions of race, power, gender and honor while also talking about sex fantasies and the merits of light vs. dark blue, it’s just…it’s a thing to behold.

What is your creative process? 

Honestly I just throw paint at the wall. Does this hand gesture work? What if I moved over here? Hey what if I was holding a rubber duck during this speech? No? But look at how cute the rubber duck is. Look at her little smile. Awesome! We’ll keep the duck, great, ok…now…what scene are we doing again?

What’s so good about off-off Broadway/indie theater? 

Everyone involved, from the actors to the director to the audience, is there for the love of the thing itself. We’re showing up to delight and entertain, and that’s it. Money, clout and prestige just don’t factor in. We’re here to give each other joy and help each other process. It’s unlike any other form of storytelling.

It’s obvious the world is steadily reopening. What do you feel is different now than before pandemic? Another thought: what should be different now than before pandemic? 

People have come to understand their worth. They know who they are and what they want, having had to stare a global, life threatening illness in the face for two straight years. People are no longer going to accept mediocrity and things that waste their time, or worse, actively diminish it. Which is exactly how it should be.

What’s next for you?

I’m probably gonna eat a bagel. And then I’m pretending to be a priest in the horror film APHASIA, a wizard in the audio sitcom DRAGON’S REST and a clone in a piece called HEARTACHE. Ask me about them! @themonstermashin

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