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Meet ‘Repossessed’ Director Stephen Hooper

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Opening August 16 in the Foulds Theatre at the Alliance for the Arts is Theatre Conspiracy’s production of Greg Lam’s Repossessed, which won Theatre Conspiracy’s 19th annual Janet and Bruce Bunch New Play Contest. Directing is Stephen Hooper.

Hooper embarked upon his career in theater 30 years ago. But Stephen did not study theater in college. In fact, he did not get into theater until he’d been practicing law for a number of years.

Then he started acting on a whim.

He was a trial lawyer who loved to clown around doing impressions of people. So one day, his law partners sent him to an audition for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Still in his late 20s at the time, he landed the plum role of Senex, a henpecked, sardonic Roman senator living in a less fashionable suburb of Rome.

“They made me up to look like I was 75, put me in a toga, and I sang and danced in my first production.”

Unbeknownst to Hooper, there was a director in the house at the final performance at that show.

“In musicals, it’s tradition for the actors to greet the audience in the lobby after the performance. The director came up to me and asked me what I was doing tomorrow. I said, ‘I don’t know, what am I doing tomorrow?’ He replied, ‘I have a part for you in my next play. We start rehearsal tomorrow night.’ He pressed his card into my hand. I went down and ended up doing a lot of shows for him, but the role was that of a blackmailing extortionist janitor, and I’ve been doing theater ever since.”

Although Hooper may not have studied theater formally in college, he did observe and learn from every director he’s had the pleasure of working with.

“Everything I know about theater I’ve learned from all the directors in the plays in which I’ve performed. Bob Cacioppo at the Rep, Al Richter, Bill Taylor at Theatre Conspiracy and Lauren, who directed me in The Eight: The Reindeer Monologues.”

His favorite directing credits include Three Days of Rain, A Tuna Christmas, Becky’s New Car and Kayak.

On the acting side, some of Stephen’s favorite roles include Doctor Quack in Theatre Conspiracy’s production of The Country Wife, Col. Jessup in A Few Good Men (Peninsula Players), Mittler in Dispatches from Hell (Theatre Conspiracy), and most Juror #2 in Florida Repertory Theater’s production of Twelve Angry Men.

Stephen is also a member of Theatre Conspiracy’s Playwrights.

But for now, what Hooper would really like is for people to see Rachel Burttram, Brendan Powers, Lauren Drexler, Joann Haley, Patrick Day, Lisa Kuchinski and Tamicka Linstead in Repossessed. What are you doing August 16-26?

August 8, 2018.

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