Columbus Makes Art Presents Ian Short as Alan Turing
Beginning Oct. 24 through Nov. 11, Ian Short will portray Alan Turing, computer science pioneer and WW II code breaker, in CATCO and Evolution Theatre Company’s co-production of Breaking the Code. He recently shared his thoughts about working as an artist in central Ohio and tackling his recent role portraying the multifaceted and misunderstood genius.
Sarah: You have been involved in theater for many years; how did your interest in begin?
Ian: I started doing high school shows, and then I did a state thespian conference show and decided to go to college to study acting. I graduated from Otterbein University’s theater program in 1993.
Sarah: How would you describe the theater scene in Columbus?
Ian: There is a lot of work in the city, but it is hard to make a living doing just theater. Most theater companies are amateur, some are semi-professional and only a few of them are union houses. So I teach theater, as well as direct, and I have a couple of freelance jobs to supplement my income and give me the flexibility to do theater.
Sarah: What’s the best thing about the Columbus arts scene right now?
Ian: There is such a wonderful range of art to satisfy everyone’s interest: musicals, opera, ballet, traditional and non-traditional theater, etc. That doesn’t even touch on all of the independent galleries and local musicians.
Sarah: You also have film credits. Which is your favorite – stage or film – and what are the similarities/differences?
Ian: I prefer stage for the intimacy and energy that you get with a live audience. Whether it’s film or stage, the research into a character is the same. I still need to know everything I can about a role to really immerse myself in it and forget that there is an audience (or a camera) watching.
Sarah: What is your favorite theater genre?
Ian: I enjoy most genres: musicals, traditional plays, Shakespeare, newer works that dabble in surrealism, etc.
Sarah: What is your favorite role?
Ian: That is very hard to say. I had a really good time diving into the character of John Wilkes Booth in a production of Assassins. I also enjoyed playing Richard III. I suppose the villain roles are always more interesting to actors.
Sarah: Why were you interested in portraying Alan Turing?
Ian: He is a fascinating historical figure and a brilliant mind. Not only was he instrumental in helping the Allies win World War II, but his study of mathematics also helped pave the way for the modern computer. The way he was treated by authorities because of his personal life was abominable, and for me to be a part of telling his story is an honor.
Sarah: When you are not on the stage or in front of a camera, what do you like to do?
Ian: My wife and I live in German Village and love to take walks around the neighborhood. We also get together with friends and play games.
See Ian in Breaking the Code, written by Hugh Whitemore, performed in the Van Fleet Theatre, Columbus Performing Arts Center, through Nov. 11.
For tickets and additional information, visit catcoistheatre.org.
Columbus Makes Art Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting art and advancing culture in 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 and sharing information about exhibitions, performances, concerts and more at ColumbusMakesArt.com. Each column will be written by a different local arts organization to give you an insiders look at how #artmakescbus.