Stage Right/Stage Wrong: For APT’s Marcus Truschinski, There Will Be Blood—and a Lost Wig

Stage Right/Stage Wrong: For APT’s Marcus Truschinski, There Will Be Blood—and a Lost Wig

As anyone in the theater universe can tell you, there are times when everything on stage goes just perfectly: The audience is thrilled and a unique and memorable magic is created.  

And then there are the times when the line gets dropped, the prop falls over or the actor suffers a Jennifer Lawrence-at-the-Oscars-level stumble.

Most actors, directors and designers have the grace and style to appreciate and/or survive both types of moments, but it’s the really confident ones who are willing to relive and share them with us. American Players Theatre’s Marcus Truschinski oozes confidence when he’s on stage. In one of his stories, he also ended up oozing–and almost losing–something else.  

STAGE RIGHT: In some ways, 2008 was a terrible year for APT and its neighboring community of Spring Green. Heavy rains and flooding ravaged the area, destroying actress Sarah Day’s home and sending residents scrambling to stack sandbags. Weather also played havoc with the run-up to APT’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream—all the previews had been cancelled, and so had the sound cues leading into opening night.

Truschinski was playing Puck in the production and keenly remembers the experience of walking on stage for that first performance.

“It was so magical,” he says. “That we could actually do it in the face of all those obstacles. I’ve never seen a community just band together like we did during the flood years. It’s the first time I kind of realized that this place was more than just a theater.”

To top it off, Mother Nature decide to use her terrible power for theatrical good that night. “Every time I would come on, the dark, dark clouds would gather again,” Truschinski recalls.

STAGE WRONG: The program said Truschinski was playing the part of Hector in APT’s 2012 production of Troilus and Cressida, not “sacrificial lamb.” But he sure looked that way at the end of the play, as a crowd of Greek warriors viciously stabbed his character to death, as blood from the copious blood bags he was wearing spurted everywhere.

One of the play’s preview performances took place on one of those sweltering 90-degree days when you can’t even imagine how the actors are surviving the heat in their costumes. Fake blood combined with ample amounts of sweat to make everything, including Hector’s armor, extra slick, and as the actors began to lift Truschinski’s sweaty, bloody corpse aloft, he felt it.

“As I die, I can feel my big, long wig slipping off,” he says. “So my hand automatically went to my head to keep it from falling to the ground.”

Great idea—except that everyone in the theater knew that Truschinski’s character was already incontrovertibly dead. The audience burst into nervous laughter.

“I remember Michael Huftile telling me that he should have stepped in and pretended to scalp me,” Truschinski says. “It ended up being the comedy version of Troilus and Cressida.”

Truschinski still has about a week and a half left in his run as After that, he’ll head to Milwaukee to appear in the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised]. In late January 2015, he’ll realize one of his acting dreams when he’ll play Sherlock Holmes in the Indiana Rep’s production of The Hound of the Baskervilles.

STAGE WRONG EXTRA: Regular readers of the Stage Right/Stage Wrong feature will remember Jim DeVita’s about being clocked in the back of the head with a broadsword during the preshow fight rehearsal for a 2005 performance of MacBeth. It turns out that it was Truschinski, then an APT rookie, who accidentally clocked him.

“I remember thinking, ‘They’re never gonna hire me again, because I killed Jimmy DeVita,'” he says. Obviously, his fears never materialized; in fact, DeVita’s the godfather of Truschinski and Tracy Michelle Arnold’s six-year-old son.