Q&A: Mykele Callicutt

Mykele Callicutt grew up with the aspirations of being a Power Ranger but settled for acting when he realized he wasn’t a physical person. Acting satiated his blood lust for make believe and fanned the blaze of self-love through attention he so sorely coveted. Needless to say he dedicated himself to the pursuit with monk like concentration finally attaining a Performance BFA from UIC and can be found currently navigating the tumultuous theater circuit in Chicago. But sometimes, after leaving the stage and applause, when he lies down in his tiny bed and begins to drift into the dream ether, he can hear a haunting collection of words that shakes his foundation, threatening to question every choice he’s made, writhing deep inside his belly. And it takes all of his bearings to stuff those words down so that he can sleep and act another day. Those devilish words are: GO! GO! POWER RANGERS. And they haunt him every night.

What’s one of the hardest things to do as a voice actor?

To be vulnerable I think. To really engage the work not only with just your voice but with your imagination and body and intentions to create a character that people have to envision in their heads. It’s so different from the stage. I find it easier to be vulnerable to a room full of faceless people who can see my work than to be in a booth alone with no partner giving me impulses. It’s strange at first but when you allow yourself to let go and connect you kind of forget that the mic is on! But is still tough because you are dealing in imagination and the possibilities are so infinite for character creation that you can kind of shrink under that weight and not really allow yourself to let go.

How would you describe your character?

Jebediah is a character who is hardened by the ignorance around him. He’s kind of forged through the furnace in that way. And he has to be smart and fast because of his handicap and the views that the world has on black people that time. Growing up having to tread lightly all the time will make you really nimble-footed or a stomper. I think he has elements of both. He’s had to take his setbacks on the chin and make the best out of them, turning them into ‘gifts ‘so to speak. The really beautiful thing about Jeb is that he is not completely bitter. He is character, who like any son really, is searching for approval and unconditional acceptance. That coupled with a fierce loyalty can make for a volatile person if he’s backed into the corner. That’s what excites me about Jeb. He’s more than what meets the eye.

Do you have a routine or method for getting into character? If so what is it? What about getting into character for Jebediah specifically?

I read the script like crazy. Obsessively. I go back and listen to other stories in which the character I’m playing is mentioned to see how others talk about the character. I just look for clues like a private because that informs my portrayal. Nothing is too big or small to use for creation fodder. I did the same process for Jeb. I also had to practice lowering my voice and speaking a bit slower to get in to dialect. He is a work in progress.

If you lived in PleasureTown, what would be your occupation or past-time?

Hmm….I’d probably try to be a politician or something. There’s the moral ambiguity of the town that I find interesting. How would the town respond to someone trying to infuse platitudes and promises into their hedonistic culture? I guess I’d just like to stand on soapbox in the middle of town and scream about how everyone’s being duped. I’m sure I could amass some followers.

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