When Nick LaMedica first played the lead character of the anxiety-ridden Jason in Robert Askins’ Hand to God, his co-star, Tyrone, would often steal scenes.
But LaMedica really couldn’t complain because he was the one manipulating Tyrone, a hand-rod, Elmo-like puppet and the dangerously irreverent character in the Christian Puppet Ministry.
“There’s no opportunity to blame your scene partner for letting you down,” he says of his dual duties, adding “from a technical point of view, it’s great because I can rehearse whenever I want.”
Now he’s returning to the role in a production that Tracy Brigden will return to again direct at Hartford’s TheaterWorks. The show runs July 20 to Aug. 19.
“It can be really confusing to be in two completely different states of mind at once,” LaMedica says of the acting challenge of playing alter egos. “Tyrone is just buried deep within Jason so it’s funny to be playing things that are simultaneously coming from different places but are part of the same person.”
Does he have his own inner Tyrone?
“Mine is getting closer and closer to the surface because of the various difficulties and frustrations of living in New York City. Just go on a walk through Times Square and you’ll get a sense of my Tyrone. There’s so much to marvel at but there are so many little things that prod you and poke you that unleashes the animal inside you.”
Is he ever jealous of his more outrageous co-star?
“Yeah. It’s weird when you read a review talking about Tyrone’s performance and you’re thinking, ‘It’s me. It’s me.’ ”