OJ&B: What drew you to acting and how did you get started?
MI: I always wanted to be an actor from a little child. My grandmother and my great aunt would always ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I would always say an actor. They thought I would grow out of it but it never really left me. Around 19 years old is when I started to get serious about it.
OJ&B What training have you gone through to prepare for where you are today?
MI: My formal training included training at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the bulk of my training came from Derek Lucci who is an instructor at Tisch. Prior to that I grew singing so I was always on stage doing plays in jr. high and high school. The training that I received in law school, being in the court room and trial practice classes, helped me to be comfortable in front of people. I can’t disregard that that played a part in molding me as an actor.
OJ&B: So you went to law school?
MI: I graduated law school this past spring. I passed the New York state bar exam and I have a background in entertainment law. I knew that one way or another I would always be involved in the industry. I am trying to blend my love of acting and love of the law to the best of my ability.
OJ&B: Tell me about your latest project that you are currently involved in.
MI: Inphigenia In Tauris is written by Euripides and it is a little under 4,000 years old. My character is the herdsman/guard. He is a barbarian that comes in the third scene and gives a six minute monologue about how his herd has just been slaughtered at the hands of two mystical and mythical Greeks.
OJ&B: What kind of prep work do you do to be ready as an actor in a Greek tragedy?
MI: Let me tell you! Greek tragedy is something that is unparalleled. With Greek tragedy really need to get to the essence of one’s being as an actor. You have to check your personal feelings about emotion that society has implemented or forced onto you at the door. There is no room for that in Greek tragedy. Everything is raw energy and emotion and pathos or passion in Greek. You relive it every time you get up on that stage. The energy demands that you relive it. If you don’t relive it then you will be surface acting and there is no room for surface acting in Greek tragedy. I have to give you my body and my blood or else your ticket was not worth the amount of money that you paid for it.
Above: Michael Iakovou in Inphigenia In Tauris.
OJ&B: Tell me about North American tour you did with this play.
MI: The North American tour was great! We went to all of these places that I have always wanted to go. We started off in Vancouver and then went to Portland, Oregon and performed in an amazing amphitheater that was just like being in ancient Greece. I even got stung by a bee during my monologue! We then performed in Seattle, Connecticut and Houston and Dallas, Texas. No matter where we went the reception of the play was great!
OJ&B: So now the play is going to tour in Europe?
MI: We are in discussions to go to London and perform at West End. There is also Paris and Italy and I am excited for all of them. There may even be more countries in the works but that is up to the producers of the show. I think it is great that we are bringing something as great as Euripides to people with all different walks of life. There is a reason that this text has survived for so many years and that is because people can still relate to it.
OJ&B: What’s next for you after this experience?
MI: As I told you before I did pass the New York state bar exam so I am a licensed attorney now. That was always the plan to keep my acting and law and mold them together. I produced a short film that is in post production now and I hope to take it to some festivals this year. I see myself not having any limitations whether it be plays, theatre, film or television. We will see where the road takes me but I definitely see a future in all three because everything brings something different to the education of the craft.
-OJ&B has created 'OJ&B Artist Profiles" to give up-and-coming artists of all realms the opportunity to be recognized for their craft.