Call Answered: Charles Socarides: "20th Century Blues" & "When We Rise"
Charles Socarides, Photo Credit: Rachel ShaneEarlier this year, I was immersed in the ABC mini-series When We Rise. It was heartbreaking, uplifting, & inspirational all at the same time! One of the actors that caught my eye was Charles Socarides, who played his real-life brother "Richard" in the mini-series, as they are the sons of Charles W. Socarides, the American psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, physician, educator and author who focused much of his career on the study of homosexuality, which he believed could be altered.
Needless to say, when I was offered the opportunity to interview Charles, I rose to the occasion. Charles is currently starring as "Simon" in Susan Miller's 20th Century Blues, directed by Emily Mann. 20th Century Blues is about four women who meet once a year for a photo shoot, chronicling their changing (and aging) selves as they navigate through love, careers, children, and major world events. But, when these private photographs have the potential to go public, their relationships are tested, forcing the women to confront who they are, what they’ve become, and how they’ll deal with whatever lies ahead.
20th Century Blues plays at The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center in NYC (480 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue) through January 28. Click here for tickets!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Probably being a NYC kid and seeing amazingly live theatre performances growing up. I was aware from an early age that this was a thing people did.
2. You are currently starring in 20th Century Blues at NYC's Signature Theatre. What attracted you to this show? Emily Mann reached out to me, and I am a huge fan of hers. Then I read Susan’s play and fell in love with the role of "Simon."
3. What do you relate to most about your character "Simon"? What is one characteristic of his you are glad yourself you don't possess? I can definitely relate to "Simon’s" closeness to his mother. I’m lucky enough to have an awesome mom to whom I could say almost anything. And "Simon" is a really good guy but he seems like a workaholic. I’m trying to be less of that in my real life.
4. Let's break down this plot a little bit. In this show there are four women with forty years of friendship and one afternoon that could end it all. If you only had one afternoon left, how would you spend it? I’d probably want to go somewhere dramatic and amazing with my best friends and family and just explore. Like Macchu Piccu or the Grand Canyon. Victoria Falls. Someplace I’ve never been.
Charles Socarides and Polly Draper in "20th Century Blues", Photo Credit: Joan Marcus5. The women also meet once a year to have their pictures taken and these private phots have the potential to go public. I have two questions for you about this. One, what is the most private thing you are now willing to make public? Two, what is the one picture you have on your phone that you would never want to go public? I mean, maybe there are a couple of risqué photos on my phone somewhere but the most embarrassing stuff is probably just the stuff that shows how basic I am. Like a million drafts of an Instagram post. Or too many photos of something I cooked. 😬
6. I do have to switch gears now and ask you about When We Rise, which I loved! My jaw dropped upon learning you are the son of the psychoanalyst Charles Socarides & that you played your real-life brother in this mini series. What was it like to audition for something you actually lived through? What kind of discussions did you have with your brother prior to filming and after? I'm so glad you liked it! It was the craziest audition I’ve ever had. I had to compete against other actors doing an audition scene in which my own father was a character. I’m very very very glad I got it.
My brother Richard and I are very close so he was of course pulling for me to get it. Once I did, he totally let me pick his brain and was so open about revisiting this difficult (but defining) time in his life. We are definitely closer as a result of When We Rise. I think we both appreciate the opportunity to have bonded through this experience. And we got to contribute to an important, beautiful project at the same time.
Guy Pearce (left) as "Cleve Jones" and Charles Socarides (right) as "Richard Socarides" in Dustin Lance Black's "When We Rise", Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/ABC7. How did you mentally prepare for this role? What was the hardest day of filming? It was surprisingly hard to prepare! I wanted to do all of the research I could but then also let go of all of it so I could play the character as written. So I researched a lot and then just prayed I could actually behave like a human being.
I was tested right away on my first night of shooting when we filmed the scene where Richard comes out to our father. I was very nervous because Richard was on set. I really had to separate myself to stay calm!
8. I feel like this interview is leaning more towards serious, so I would like to lighten things up. I read on your website that as a child you were terrified of vomiting. What part of vomiting were you actually afraid of? Are you still scared of throwing up today? Haha no I got over that. (And I should update my website - thank you Adam). I got terrible food poisoning as a kid and for some reason it stuck with me for a long time. That moment when you know you’re going to be sick is never any fun. Though you feel so much better after!
9. I also read you are obsessed with learning how to cook. What are your top 3-5 meals you really want to master? When I can I come judge your cooking? (hahaha) I recently crushed some pumpkin pancakes that were sooo good. I will also say I make really good chili. That’s probably my top. I make these stuffed tuna melts that are delish as well. To be honest, all of my recipes are pretty basic so far. I’m trying to expand. Then I’ll invite you over!
Charles Socarides More on Charlie:
Earlier this year, Charles was a lead on the ABC miniseries When We Rise. Other recent film and television credits include Madam Secretary, The Good Wife, and the feature Bad Hurt. His theatre credits include KINGS (Women's Project), SONS OF THE PROPHET (Roundabout), RED (opposite Tim Daly, Dorset, Broadway World Best Actor), TRUST (Second Stage), THE MARRIAGE OF BETTE AND BOO (Roundabout), INDIAN BLOOD (Primary Stages), TWELFTH NIGHT (Pig Iron), GUADALUPE IN THE GUEST ROOM (Two River) and Colt Coeur's production of HOW TO LIVE ON EARTH.