Meet the Cast: Amir Khalighi

introducing.martin

Amir Khalighi recently directed a wonderful piece based on the works of the Sufi poet Rumi. He also took part in the second reading of an earlier draft of Carmilla. His character (named after a vague reference to a man in the novella) takes the place of the unnamed chronicler to whom Laura  tells her story.
Tell me a bit about yourself. Who is Amir Khalighi?
I am actor, director, father, husband, alchemist of my heart and soul on a spiritual path towards better understanding who I am.  But I’m assuming more focused attention should be placed on my artistic self for the discourse of these questions, so…. I was born in Tehran Iran. The Iranian Revolution thwarted me out of Iran and into the neon lights of the West. My start in the arts came at the age of 17 with a lead in the UJ Production of Our House then laid dormant until two successful productions, To Gillian on Her 30th Birthday and the critically acclaimed, Los Angeles premier of A Hatful of Rain. 2008 birthed me back into acting, picking up where I left off. I’ve studied under the tutelage of Sandy Meisner’s pupil David Blanchard, Stella Adler’s prodigy Jane Fleiss Brogger and Brian Reese in Hollywood. My recent works on stage include the role of King Saul in Whore’s Bath, & one of my favorite Shakespearian roles that of Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing“. My recent film credits include Drones (2014), Almost Broadway  (2014) &  The Darkest Hour: Survivors (2013).  I recently had my directorial debut in Rumination, which was based on the works of the 13th century mystic Rumi, which was artistically satisfying before we even reached opening night, I loved my cast and the process.  I’m a martial arts instructor as well, hold a 3rd degree black belt in Hapkido and taught for many years.  My love for my family is the cornerstone of heart and I love people as a general rule unless they are blatantly offensive in which case I revert to my martial ways.
How did you get into acting?
See above answer.
Under what circumstances did you become a part of this production of Carmilla?
I was approached by David MacDowell Blue the writer and co director of Carmella to read the script and give my feedback.  After reading the play I was drawn to the mysterious world created by David and told him that I’d be happy to meet with him in person to discuss my detailed feedback on the work.  After our meeting I encourage David to put together a reading and ultimately push to get this work on stage, which is coming to fruition.  I was asked to read for the role of Captain Martin for the table read and was later offered the role by Co-Director Mark Hein, in which I gladly accepted.  I had not heard about the story of Carmilla but was taken by it’s history and the palpable recreation by David MacDowell Blue.  The character of Captain Martin met the criteria of which measure all project I consider in taking on.  It would be challenging and layered.   I’m in.  In addition to a wonderful scrip, a challenging role I also wanted to work with co -director Mark Hein.  I’ve had the pleasure of recently working with Mark on stage and as his director but had not had the opportunity to be directed by him.   And finally, it’s Vampire Play, how could I say no?
Were you familiar with the story before?
No, but I’ve always wanted to be a part of a Vampire story.  I thought it would come from a television or film experience but I plan and God laughs.
Your character is Captain Martin. What are your thoughts about this person?
Captain Martin is a strong character to play and falls in line with my favorite types of roles to tackle. I enjoy playing, strong, authoritative men, Kings, Generals etc.  But there is more to this character that meets the eye.  At first look one can see that I am not a typical Anglican with the last name of “Martin” playing this role.  I have a darker complexion which would suggest a mixed race of some sort, which immediately adds a layer to the character.  Taking into consideration the time period and this mix of breed adds even another dimension and I believe plays well into the meeting between Captain Martin and Laura’s interview.  Minorities who have experienced bigotry have a deep capacity to bring an essence of compassion to the table for those in need.  Laura is in need, but this causes an inner conflict of sorts between doing ones job in interrogating this young woman to find the truth in contrast with the impulse to show compassion through naïveté or affection.  Time will tell what happens between these two characters.
As we all know, vampires are all the rage. Do you have any opinions or thoughts about the undead?
Well I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Vampires.  It started with a pre mature viewing of Salem’s Lot when I was 9 years old.  That movie scared me for years and at the same time gave me a fascination into the topic.  Some of my favorites include Lost Boys, Fright Night, and soon to watch Let Me In.
What do you see as your greatest challenge in this part?
It may be fine tuning the right accent for the captain.  But I wouldn’t take on a role if it wasn’t challenging.
Is there something in particular you’re looking forward to during rehearsals?
The rehearsal process may be my favorite part of the theatrical experience… well opening night is right up there.  I’m looking forward to working with some pretty talented actors and seeing what is created between all of us and the directors.
Finally, what question do you wish I’d asked, and what would be your answer?
Are unicorns real?  Answer: yes.  I only know this because my daughter told me so years ago and then it was reinforced recently by Dennen Melody aka Madame Perradon

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