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Columbus Makes Art Presents Dallas Ray on Acting, Lighting and Now Writing

Stephen Woosley Stephen Woosley Columbus Makes Art Presents Dallas Ray on Acting, Lighting and Now WritingDuncan McKennie as Mal with L-R Dallas Ray as Bandit Guys in MadLab Theatre's production of "Lipstick" by Lane Stanley. Photo by Steve Malone Photography
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There are very few things Dallas Ray hasn’t done for us at MadLab. He is so involved that we are pretty sure he lives there. This year for Theatre Roulette, Dec. 2-18, he is acting, doing lighting and for the first time, one of his plays is being performed.

Stephen Woosley: You wrote “It’s Probably a Mannequin,” a short play in Theatre Roulette 2021. What inspired you?
Dallas Ray: “It’s Probably a Mannequin” came from a prompt from The Literal Challenge’s 28 Plays in 28 Days, actually. I think the prompt was just something to do with water, so I ran with it and smashed it into a love of true crime, specifically Forensic Files. Who doesn’t love a stage show with a kayak written in?

Woosley: This is your first time participating in Theatre Roulette as a playwright. How else have you been involved? What’s been your favorite Roulette experience?
Dallas: I’ve been fortunate enough to act in MadLab’s Theatre Roulette since 2017. I instantly fell in love with the short-form nature of the show and also got the opportunity to direct, run sound and lights, and this year I’m actually doing my first lighting design gig for the GREEN Night of Theatre Roulette 2021.

My favorite Roulette experience would have to be during the 2019 Theatre Roulette where I had the absolute honor of performing “Dinosaur Discovery: A Talk About Paleontology by Dr. Kramer” by Chris Leyva. It was the first monologue I have ever performed and Chris’s writing made it so, so easy to perform. It’s also the only performance I’ve ever been recognized by strangers on the street before!

Dallas Ray as Jackson, with L-R Stephen Manos as Norman in MadLab Theatre's production of "The Spare Room" by Dakota C. Hill. Photo by Steve Malone Photography
Dallas Ray as Jackson, with L-R Stephen Manos as Norman in MadLab Theatre’s production of “The Spare Room” by Dakota C. Hill. Photo by Steve Malone Photography.

Woosley: You’re an actor, playwright, director, voice actor, etc. Which is your favorite role to fill, and which do you feel is your greatest strength?
Dallas:  I wish Columbus had more voice acting opportunities! After performing with It’s All Been Done Radio Hour for four years it opened me up to an entirely new experience: solely listening to how I sound while performing instead of watching. It was a crash course for sure, but it was a great experience. And while I find playwriting the hardest yet most rewarding and directing the most pleasing to my need to be in control and my biggest strength, I would be lying if I didn’t say being on stage just checks all the boxes for me.

Woosley: What brought you to the Columbus theater scene, and what are some of your favorite arts venues or groups in town?
Dallas: I moved to Columbus in 2016 after graduating from Miami University. I had done some acting in high school and picked it up more in college, but I wasn’t sure how to find it elsewhere. After It’s All Been Done Radio Hour started performing at MadLab, I found the group that felt the most fun to be around and swung for the fences. My first dip back into the scene was acting under Tay Lane in an OGP Valentine’s show. I spent a lot of the time thinking I was way, way in over my head, but she really helped me get through that and was a huge stepping stone into my journey back to the stage.

Dallas Ray as Dr. Kramer in MadLab Theatre's production of " Dinosaur Discovery: A Talk About Paleontology by Dr. Kramer” by Chris Leyva. Photo by Steve Malone Photography
Dallas Ray as Dr. Kramer in MadLab Theatre’s production of ” Dinosaur Discovery: A Talk About Paleontology by Dr. Kramer” by Chris Leyva. Photo by Steve Malone Photography.

Woosley: What’s next for you? Where can your fans find more of your work?
Dallas: What’s next for me? Hopefully a nap soon. I’m usually scuttling around MadLab working on one show or another, or you can check out The Dallas Show- a short, YouTube talk show I hosted and helped produce with Static Copy Island (it’s also a podcast).

Theatre Roulette 2021 opens Dec. 2 at MadLab and runs through Dec. 18. More information about the program, including a detailed schedule of the shows and ticket information can be found at madlab.net.

Columbus Makes Art Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting and advancing the arts and cultural fabric of Columbus. The column is a project of the Art Makes Columbus campaign, telling the inspiring stories of the people and organizations who create Columbus art. Learn more about local artists, organizations, public art and events at ColumbusMakesArt.com.

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