Spotlight On
Douglas Sills

by Nancy Rosati

NR: Is there anything about you that would surprise people if they knew it?

DS: I think my life is pretty open. You know if I said something like "I don't like wearing clothes" I think that's not a surprise. I think people would go "Oh, that makes sense to me. That's Douglas." Alyce, is there anything about me that surprised you? No? Jen? She was surprised that I was a linear thinker. Is that right?

JG: Well, that you were equally balanced as well. I was in here doing my thing one day and he was giving a phone interview while getting ready and I don't think I have heard anyone be so linearly articulate in expressing a thought. I mean, it was there, there was a logical progression, it had a beginning, a middle and an end. And I knew he was speaking from the hip. And it was just so amazing to me that someone who I could see sit there and be "stream of consciousness man" and turn around and do the other just as well.

The Scarlet Pimpernel

NR: So he's a man who can multitask?

JG: That's true. He uses two different processes of thought. Most people use one. They often approach something a certain way. He can approach things with either of them and it's just as strong in both of them. I thought it was rather interesting. Because talented actors very rarely can get it THAT together, in real life and express an idea.

DS: I think that I'm pretty genuine on stage. I can't imagine that anything I would say about myself would be a surprise to anyone. That I'm afraid. That I wake up in the middle of the night anxious sometimes. That I wonder what my next piece will be. Could I possibly be as good? Will my relationship continue into the millennium? You know all these things I think are cares that everyone has and I think everyone sees me pretty much as a whole person so I can't imagine what I could say that would surprise people. That's how I would answer that.

NR: What do you want to do in the future?

DS: I want to do a production of Hamlet. I want to be in rehearsals for a production of Hamlet by the time I'm 40.

NR: Which is pretty soon.

DS: Well, I have a year and a half. I would take pre-production as long as there was a performance date.

NR: Have you decided if you're leaving on March 7th?

DS: I would consider staying. That's the last conversation I had. I don't think I'd consider it in a very, very positive way, but I certainly told them that I would consider it. I wouldn't disregard the idea. But, I do feel quite sincerely that there is a law of diminishing returns between an actor and a role. And I think I hit that wall six months ago.

NR: You don't think you've moved past that?

DS: I think that there was a period of re-excitement, re-energizing with the new show, but, no, I think that especially with the new parameters of the show, about variation, it comes back quite quickly. So, I sincerely feel, and I mean this in all sincerity, that for the best thing of the show I wish they could find someone who is fresh and had what I had a year ago for the show, because now there's a form, and they could REALLY soar. Do you know what I mean? So, it's not that I won't consider it, I will consider it. It doesn't seem likely. For everyone involved it seems like I should go, or at least not stay on much longer than that. You know, if they said, "Well, could you stay on six weeks? It would make a huge difference to us." Well, of course I probably would. But, I think right now, my inclination is to say "You know what? It's a great day. It's a great time to go."

NR: Other than Hamlet, would you like to do films, more TV?

DS: Well, I look at careers of people like Ms. Close and Mr. Kline as models for what I would like to do. I would like to be able to move with ease between genres - that's an ideal career for me. Not the "what" I would be doing, but what kinds of different things. To be able to move between television or television movies, feature films, plays and musicals with some ease has always been my ideal. To not be trapped in any particular genre. I think those are some careers that are mildly like what I would be interested in doing.

NR: Douglas, I know you have a show to do. Thank you so much for your time.

DS: My pleasure.

Douglas is as warm and genuine as he is talented. Although he may not have decided that he has found his true calling yet, he is clearly at the top of his game. He commands the stage with ease and grace, and continues to give a new, fresh performance every night. He has the genuine admiration and affection of all who work with him.

He has touched many people by his efforts to regard his fans. Even when obviously exhausted he has never failed to be responsive to those who desire his attention at the stage door. Because of these efforts a great deal of the loyalty from the League is directed at Douglas personally, and not only to the show. It is clear that many Leaguers will continue to follow his career after he finishes his tenure at the Minskoff.

As for the future, I sincerely hope that he achieves his goal of moving between genres. Future directors will do well to note that in Douglas Sills they will find an actor who is diligent, tenacious, creative, and charming.

Also read Nancy's follow-up interview with Douglas Sills at the closing of The Scarlet Pimpernel.