Mamie Gummer and Ben Feldman in The Siegel.
Ben Feldman as Ethan Siegel
If Ben Feldman looks familiar, that’s probably because you’ve seen him on television. Feldman currently stars in the NBC hit-comedy “Superstore” and has had memorable roles on NBC’s “A to Z” and the award-winning “Mad Men,” where he played Michael Ginsberg—and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. But, he returns to his theatre roots as Ethan Siegel—a man trying to get back the one who got away—in the world premiere of Michael Mitnick's The Siegel, now playing on the Segerstrom Stage. We talked with Feldman to find out more about the play and his return to the stage.
Tell us about the character you play.
Ethan Siegel is confused about love and when and what he wants from it. In a way, he's a hopeless romantic, but that way is aggressive, strange and, perhaps, a little late. I feel like he and I have a lot in common in that he is equal parts an old soul—whose mind is cluttered with a good deal of adult ideas and themes—and an abrasive child who doesn't fully get how to interact with other humans without looking completely ridiculous.
Who'd win in a fight: you or Ethan Siegel?
I’m pretty sure Ethan would be the clear winner there. I’m not really much of a fighter (and I can’t imagine he is either), but he's also super devious and relentless when it comes to getting what he's after. I feel like he'd win with some bizarre technicality.
You work a lot in TV and film. What is it about the theatre that draws you back to it?
Theatre is what I studied in school and all I ever imagined myself doing in life. It’s an actor’s medium and, in the absence of cuts and editing and postproduction, the truth and success of my performance is ultimately completely on me. Because of that, it can be far more terrifying than working in front of a camera because there’s no room for mistakes, no safety net. And terrifying is something I seek out. It’s important to be scared of what you do if you have the luxury to choose fright.
Why do you think SCR MyStage members will enjoy The Siegel?
I think this is a younger play, I think. It’s about making decisions that will affect who you are as a person and for the rest of your life. It’s about confusion and searching and it’s also loud and funny and smart and stupid. I always know when we’ve got a younger house because I can hear them going nuts over the backstage monitors. I’ve been harassing every younger person I see in Costa Mesa to come see this show and to tell their friends. This isn’t Chekhov, despite the name.
What are three words you would use to describe The Siegel?
Hilarious, bizarre, melancholy.
The Siegel runs March 24-April 23, 2017. Are you 15-to-25-years-old? Click here to sign up for MyStage and get $10 tickets to see The Siegel.