Trick is a lanky hunk, more commonly known as a lunk, from Minnesota. He has a small hint of an accent and a knack for throwing out statistics. In this interview, he discusses what it’s like to be a member of your own fan club, how he joined facebook, and his thinking about being a nerdy gay alcoholic.
BG Your name is Trick. Are you for real?
TD It’s short for Patrick. I love the name Patrick, it’s not a rebellion against my parents, but what I hate is the name Pat. And my parents hate the name Pat too. People would call up on the phone and they would say “Is Pat there?” and my dad would say “Nope.” He wouldn’t hang up though. I went by Patrick all through grade school and high school and then one day I was talking to my friends and they said why don’t you go by Trick and I said yyyyyyeeeaaahhhh, that’s a good idea.
BG What about Patty?
TD Nobody ever calls me Patty. Patty is my aunt’s name.
BG In your play you play Orpheus. Do you have to sing?
TD Sort of. I open my mouth and the music exudes from me. Because Orpheus is the son of a muse, music flows out of him, and he can pluck music out of the air. He can raise his hand and play you a symphony. I think that’s a really neat idea.
BG Do you have to do a lot of research?
TD I did a little.
BG Like Wikipedia?
TD There’s a dramaturg named Anita, and she did a lot of research. And then there’s your imagination.
Trick as Orpheus and Renata Friedman as Eurydice in Eurydice at ACT Theatre
Photo by Chris Bennion
BG How does getting in a play work?
TD You find out a theatre is doing something, you get a call or make a call, and you prepare something to audition. In order to be a working actor you have to have your fingers to the pulse all the time.
BG Sometimes you can’t even get an audition?
TD Oh yeah. Sometimes you don’t even know quite who to call. I’ve made phone calls that haven’t been returned. You send out resumes and headshots and things like that. I’ve been here for three years, and the casting director back in April asked me if I was new to town.
BG I think I saw you in The Sweetest Swing in Baseball [at ArtsWest].
TD Yeah, we did that for 2 months. That was good because it was a good cast, and you could be stuck with worse people for 2 months, almost 3 after rehearsals.
BG You were kind of like the nerdy guy, right?
TD Yeah, sure. The character Michael was a computer programmer, and computer programmers are usually nerds. But he had a lot of other quirks: nerdy gay alcoholic.
BG So how do you prepare to be a nerdy gay alcoholic?
TD Sometimes you take characters and you base them on people you know. Not that I necessarily know any nerdy gay alcoholics. I tried to think, there’s a gesture my friend does, and you try to make it your own. I try to change my physicality, vocal patterns and tones. How is this person like me, and how are they different from me? I try never to recycle things. The 3 years I’ve been out of college, I haven’t done enough to get to that end point where I’ve used everything.
BG Are you scared you’ll run out?
TD Yeah. I’m gonna have to recycle or have to stop acting.
BG Do you think you’ll be an actor forever?
TD I hope. My father builds sets, and was designing a set for A Christmas Carol. I was the 7 year old that played Tiny Tim, and I was doomed from there. Doomed to be an actor. My older brother is also a technical director. Until I was a junior in high school, I thought that I was going to be a professional baseball player. When I realized that wasn’t going to happen, it was the first time I ever thought I could do theatre more. I was very lucky to have supportive parents. I certainly went to college with people whose parents said if you want to study theatre, we’re not paying for it. Because at least 75% of people who graduate with a threatre degree never act again. I would say 90% go to the Twin Cities or Chicago to act. I had visited seattle before my senior year of college, and I had picked up The Stranger, and I went to the arts section and there were 7 reviews of different shows that had opened within four weeks.
BG Are film and theatre acting completely different?
TD I’ve done a little film that nobody would have ever seen unless they went to college with me. I would love to explore that side of acting. On stage, they don’t see the little things that you do. And maybe they’re not even looking at you. Film directors tell the audience where they’re looking.
BG Do you find yourself exaggerating in real life they way you would in a play?
TD No. I think I’m a pretty private person. I like to spend a lot of time at home. But when I’m out with a group of people I’m not a storyteller, I like to listen to people talk. There’s certainly actors / actresses that can be overdramatic. Everybody knows one.
BG The one little piece of research I did was your fan club on Facebook.
TD Oh, for cryin out loud! Ben will be happy to hear that you’ve seen this. The group was started by Ben, a gentleman that I knew in college. He just decided one day to start a Trick Danneker Fan Club. And it was kind of hot for awhile and a lot of people were joining up and sharing info about Trick Danneker and telling Trick Danneker stories and writing fan fiction. I’m a member because you can’t look at the stuff unless you’re a member, so I am a member of my own fan club. But I don’t contribute, I’m not trying to feed it and say look how great I am. But if they want to know what I’m up to I’ll certainly tell them. It’s flattering, and fun, because I know that it was done by a friend who just wanted to make me smile. And it does make me smile every time I look at it because it can be so ridiculous, to have a fan club.
Trick with his girlfriend, Ellen Page. This is totally real.
BG There's 130 members.
TD They’re all friends, ex-girlfriends, which is a good sign, means theres no hard feelings. And 130, it’s gonna stick at that for awhile. I pretty much have no more friends. Because Ben lives in South Dakota, or somewhere in Nebraska, he needed an insider so he tapped into my roommate Jason. He’d get information like what did Trick have for breakfast today?
BG How often do you check it?
TD Its been a long time, it really has. I joined facebook to keep in touch with a friend of mine who moved to Australia and then it all blew up from there. It’s been so many years since that’s been in existence. Apparently I’ve got some sort of running feud with Adrian Brody because we’re both tall and lanky.
TD Yeah, lanky hunks.
BG Whose your favorite actor?
TD Kevin Spacey, and I really like Matt Damon’s work as well. But I also think that some of the most talented people I know are those I decided to hang around with in college and in Seattle. I wanted to be around them and talk about theatre and talk about acting with them or just sit and go to Perkins at 2 in the morning on a Saturday after a party and eat pancakes and talk about girls.
BG What do they have you do in acting school anyway? Four years seems like a really long time.
TD Sometimes, you just walk around like a dog. You become an eagle, or become a tree. Then they’ll say what if the tree were an animal. Now you’re a tree and a polar bear at the same time. And you don’t know what any of it means. But it’s also about picking the words, techniques, and vocabulary that meant something to me and using it in my own process.
BG Do you hae any pre-show rituals or superstitions?
TD Nope. I try to buy into the ones that are pretty serious, like saying “break a leg” or saying the name of the Scottish play in the theatre, or whistling in the threatre.
BG If you did that, would other actors get actually angry?
TD Sometimes they do. Angry, or anxious, or they’ll let you know that upset them. Sometimes someone will accidentally say the M- word, and I’ll say ok and spin around in circles and silently swear under my breath to ward off the whatever.
BG Whats the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you onstage?
TD When I was a junior in high school.
BG Is this a vomit story?
TD No, nerves stopped affecting me when I was a sophomore about 16. I was playing Prince Dauntless in a production of Once Upon a Mattress, and Princess Lark or Larkin is supposed to come interrupt the scene where I’m telling the history of our country. I had to make up things about slavery, and princes being executed. When I got offstage everyone’s patting me on the back for getting through those tough 30 seconds of life.
BG Any parting advice for the theatre wannabes?
TD If you can see yourself doing something else, go do that. If you can’t live without it, keep going.
- Bianca G
September 4th, 2008
You can see Trick exude music and perform other feats this month in Eurydice at ACT Theatre, September 10th - October 5th. Teen Tix tickets are always $5 on the day of show. For more info and showtimes, visit acttheatre.org. For more Trick, check out The Official Trick Danneker Fan Club / E-Zine.