Chris Chalk

I came to New York out of school weeks before September 11, 2001. My ma was asking me to come home in her silence on the phone. I was depressed and jobless. I didn't leave my house for six months; "job searching on the internet." I worked at a hotel. Two years. Booked a gig with the Keen Company doing the character Blossom, whose eight lines were "Blossom" because it's the only English word the character knew. Loved it by the way! I was the only non-Equity person in the cast. They made a little money, but I made like $100 for eight weeks of work. In that moment I was excited for the work, but felt that non-Equity was for the birds. I still didn't know how to get my card though. Time passed and I was invited to the Labyrinth Theater Company Summer Intensive and we read John Patrick Shanley's Defiance, his brilliant play following Doubt. I came home from the intensive hype and saw on Playbill that there was a reading of the play at Vassar College as well and said, “Oh, well I must've been super impressive since I'm not in that reading.” Life continued into August when the Manhattan Theater Club asked me to do the Defiance reading for producer folks at the theatre, which paid me $50 for three hours (half of what I had made in my eight weeks as the non-Equity Blossom) and a few weeks later the gig was mine. Defiance by John Patrick Shanley, and directed by Doug Hughes, hooked me up with my Equity card. I have been a fan ever since.