Playing the title role Fly Guy in Fly Guy, Parker Miller sat down with me at Caribou Coffee after his second performance of Fly Guy at SteppingStone Theatre to talk about his performing experiences, the show, and love of theatre.
Parker Miller describes himself as an actor first, but could also be described as a triple threat with his singing and dancing skills. He is a senior at SPCPA (St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists). He is currently looking at eight colleges where he plans to double major in theatre and biology/environmental sciences. He enjoys learning about the world and empathizing with others which he learned through theatre. His favorite song to perform in the show Fly Guy is You’re So Great and has enjoyed the puppetry throughout the show which is a unique aspect of this production.
What got you started in acting and performing?
I was in 4th grade and decided to audition for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat through Mounds View Community Theatre. I didn’t think I would get a part, but got into the children’s chorus and loved it. Since then I have been doing theatre consistently. I was in another SteppingStone show called Goosebumps. I was also in Christmas Carol at the Guthrie, Oliver with Theatre Latte Da, as well as Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer at Stages Theatre. This year I am directing a show for sophomores at my school.
In your own words, what is the show about?
Fly Guy is actually a book for early readers. It is about cultural acceptance, friendship, and different worlds and how different people do things in each world.
What is your role in the show? Explain more about your character.
I play Fly Guy who cares about the newest trash to eat. I then meet Buzz who teaches me to learn interesting stuff about humans and meets others connections about how the world works.
What do you enjoy most about playing this character?
I enjoy working with other people in the cast who are delightful to be around. I also enjoy that they are all kids my age. I love SteppingStone’s vision that kids are the artists. All the artists working there except for the directors are students.
What did you learn about yourself during this process?
I learned that no matter what you have to put energy into the show otherwise the audience won’t feel what your feeling.
What do you want the audience to walk away with after seeing this performance?
How amazing a show is with kid actors
Different viewpoints other than your own
I understand you learned some puppetry for this show. Talk more on that.
I had some prior experience with puppetry at Stages, however with Fly Guy I learned how to use facial expressions and how to make him seem more alive and breathe. During the summer SteppingStone had a two hour intensive with a Guthrie master class artist who taught us about puppetry which was so interesting.
What did you do to prepare for this show?
I reviewed my blocking, lines, and kept up my energy in each rehearsal. For getting into character I looked at YouTube into how flies move and this helped me to determine how I move around. I knew I should have my knees bent and jerky motions like flies and these motions I would channel into my puppetry.
What are you most excited about for performing this show?
I love the kids that come to see it. They are so excited and some are scared of me.
Tell me about core company.
Core Company is actors that are in the show whose job is to serve as role models and smooth out anything. It is a leadership program that students audition for an comes with a paid stipend. In the job, I help to move sets, check students in/out, clean the theatre, theatre finances, and help students with any thing whether it is lines/blocking or maybe it is even homework.
What is the most challenging aspect about this show?
Keeping up the energy. I am on stage the whole time, sometimes running around stage and back on stage, so keeping up the energy critical.
Do you know what your next show will be?
I will be in my school’s production of Chess the musical which is an 80’s musical written by Tim Rice and Benny and Bjorn from ABBA.
Fly Guy is running until October 27th, 2018 at SteppingStone Theatre in St. Paul, MN.
To purchase tickets for Fly Guy at SteppingStone Theatre go to: http://www.steppingstonetheatre.org/series/fly-guy-the-musical/
Come see the show, bring the kids, and be prepared to laugh!