Ted Trinity Rep’s former House Manager, Ted Chylack, is back but working his magic from inside Audrey Two. What gives?
1) Our patrons may remember you as Trinity Rep’s House Manager from 2011 to 2016. What was your favorite part of that job?
For me, one of the best aspects of being the House Manager was cultivating relationships and making people feel at home when they walked through the door. At performances, I would see the same patrons coming back and we would start talking about the last show they saw, the one they were about to see, what they thought afterward. The thing I love most about Trinity Rep is its commitment to the community, and it really shows in its subscribers, donors, partnerships, ushers, students, etc. These are people that keep investing in this organization because they feel that, in one way or another, the organization has invested in them, and I loved being a part of that relationship.
2) What came next for you after leaving Trinity Rep.
Ever since high school, I had wanted to join the Peace Corps, and I finally reached a point when I said, “It’s now or never,” so I spent the past two years teaching at a primary school in the sub-Saharan nation of Lesotho. It was an amazing and eye-opening invitation to participate in cultural exchange. Not only do you learn about a new culture, but you learn a lot about your own as well, seeing it through someone else’s eyes. I taught English, health, and art to 4th through 7th graders, but a large part of my job in Lesotho was community integration, so I was still able to foster relationships and share stories with the people I met. Saying goodbye after two years wasn’t easy, especially when it came to my students. Establishing a rapport with a new group of people can be a bit bumpy at first, but these kids warmed up to me pretty quickly and I still miss them terribly. Leaving Trinity Rep was no picnic either, but even 8,000 miles away, I still felt like a part of the family. Several months into my service, the costume shop reached out to see if there was anything they could send for my students. A few months later, several dozen hand-knitted hats and scarves arrived. Since Lesotho is so far south and at such a high elevation, winter can get surprisingly cold. The kids at my school loved their new winter wear. In moments like that one, it’s easy to see how Trinity Rep has maintained its ties to the community all these years, always finding new ways of giving back.
3) And when you returned to the States, you thought “For my next act, I’ll be the puppeteer for Little Shop of Horrors” — right?
Yes, absolutely. That was my grand plan all along. Actually, I think it’s very sweet that my friends here thought of me. I had recently come back from Lesotho and was looking for work. When I got the call, I initially thought it was a joke — it’s the strangest job offer I’ve ever had. After hearing, “No, you’re not being pranked,” I immediately accepted, and it’s been lovely seeing all of the people I’ve missed for the last two years.
4) As of this writing, rehearsals are just starting, so you haven’t had the chance to do much work with Audrey Two. What are you most looking forward to with this role? What is the biggest challenge?
It still sounds funny to me to call this a “role” because I think the real focus will be Rachael Warren as the plant’s voice. I’m eager to work with her to add some physicality to the attitude she’s bringing to the character. I think the biggest challenge for me will be keeping up with the professionals in the room. These are artists whose work I have admired for years, so I’m very aware that it’s a privilege to be here. Yes, we’re all friends, but I’m working with them in a very different capacity than ever before. As someone who is not a trained actor, puppeteer or singer, I’m touched that this offer even came up to begin with, and I plan to work hard at it.
5) Any idea what comes next for you?
Well, unless Marisol has puppets, it looks like I’m out of a job when this show closes. I don’t have a clue what’s next for me, but that’s kind of exciting. I couldn’t have predicted that this opportunity would come along and it’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life, so I’m ready for whatever’s on the horizon. All I hope is that I get to work in another wonderful place where everyone is passionate about the work that they do, eager to support one another, and dedicated to the surrounding community. That being said, give me a call if you ever do Avenue Q!