Roberto Bacalski

Roberto Bacalski is a member of the award winning theatre company, Theatre Neo where he has been seen in Jules Feiffer's The White House Murder Case, Alex Dreman's Scream Into My Breasts, and Peter Sagal's Mall America. He has also performed with The Blue Sphere Alliance, The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, Kinghtsbridge Theatre, and the Attic Theatre. On the big screen Bacalski has starred in the My Tiny Universe and the sci-fi spoof Cyxork 7. Darren Rea caught up with him as My Tiny Universe and Cyxork 7 were due for release on DVD...

Darren Rea: What is it about acting/comedy that appeals to you? Is it the fame and fortune that you crave? Or do you just enjoy entertaining people?

Roberto Bacalski: I'd be lying if I said fame and fortune never mattered to me, but what really draws me to acting is what I learn about myself and people in general every time I explore a new character. All characters, even one as exaggerated as Clever Bill Emory [Cyxork 7], have needs and goals that drive the dialogue. Finding those needs and putting them behind the writing to create a fully human character that never existed before is the fascinating first part of the process.

The second part is presenting our creation ("our" being the writer, actor, and director) to an audience. Laughter is the clearest and most immediate form of feedback. It's also the most thrilling to experience. That's ultimately why I love comedy. I do drama as well. In fact my role in Real Men is dramatic.

But there have been times when I've done drama and I had no idea if I connected with the audience or if they even liked it. With comedy you find out right away! Besides, there is nothing like making a packed house laugh its ass off! It's the greatest natural high.

DR: How did you originally start acting? And what would you be doing if you had a "normal" job?

RB: I always wanted to be an actor. I remember being 4 or 5 years old watching The Brady Bunch and wanting to do what they were doing. I was aware that it wasn't real and I wanted to pretend with them.

In high school, I was the classic "drama geek." I even lettered in speech competition! (My event was Humorous Interpretation, by the way!) From there I majored in theatre at the University of California, San Diego.

After college I moved to Los Angeles where I was very lucky to find an acting teacher named Robert F. (Bobby) Lyons. He taught me how to act from the ground up; how to analyse a scene, how to discover and manifest emotion for a character, how to audition. In college I was taught what an actor does. Bobby taught me how to do it.

I don't think I'm cut out for a "normal" job, but if a gun was put to my head and I was told to choose a 9-to-5 career, I would probably seek out a position on the staff of a non-profit arts organisation. That's as normal as I'd let it get!

Cynthia Chanin and Michael Maxwell in Cyxork 7

DR: How did you get involved with Cyxork 7?

RB: That's a fun story! Cindy Chanin, who plays Natalie in the film, is one of my closest friends. She was also, conveniently, the assistant to the casting director, Liz Jereski. Cindy kept dropping my name and insisting that Liz bring me in to read for something.

I was appearing in a production of a play called The White House Murder Case by Jules Feiffer at Theatre Neo at the time and Cindy convinced Liz to come see it. After the show Liz said she thought I would make a great Rob Berdash (the newscaster played brilliantly by Greg Proops.) A few weeks later I came in to read for Rob Berdash and ended getting offered the part of Clever Bill!

DR: Was your role written as you portrayed it, or did you suggest the slightly unhinged, power crazy angle?

RB: Clever Bill was always unhinged and power crazy! What's interesting to know is that the part was conceived as an older character, sort of a Roger Corman type. I believe Mr. Corman was even offered the role. (Lucky for me he wasn't available!)

John Huff and Andreas Kossak auditioned a ton of older character actors, but just couldn't find what they were looking for. Apparently when they saw my audition tape, they were inspired to re-conceive the character and I was cast without another audition!

DR: It was such a memorable character, but it could have come across badly if the right actor wasn't playing the role - or if bad direction had been given. Were you at all apprehensive about how it would look in the finished edit? Whether you're performance would fit in with the style of the movie?

RB: Thank you. That question is quite a compliment!

John had such a clear idea of what he wanted that I was never the least bit apprehensive about whether or not it would work. I knew that if John didn't give me a note, then I was doing my job!

DR: Because you were working on an independent movie did you ever worry that it would never be completed, or that it would be a total disaster?

RB: Never. Remember, Cindy was my mole in the production office. Her feedback on the whole team was always glowing. I went into this project knowing these guys were on solid ground.

DR: The movie has been well received. If another Cyxork movie were in the works would you jump on board? And if so what would you like to see your character do?

RB: ABSOLUTELY!! Especially if the entire original crew came with it! I only worked one day on Cyxork 7 and I have to say it was the warmest, friendliest, and most welcoming set I'd ever been on! I think that's because John and Andreas are just naturally warm and gracious and they set the tone for the whole shoot. As for what I'd like my character to do. hmm. I think I'd like to see how he hires his secretaries.

DR: You've just started work on Theatre Neo's Real Men and Others, can you tell us about that?

RB: Love to! It's an amazing collection of offbeat monologues by playwright, David Lewison that explores a very funky side of male thought and introspection. The themes range from the meaning of a kiss on a first date to the meaning of death. I have the distinction of performing the only dramatic piece of the show. (Yup, it's the one about death!)

We actually have two shows running at Theatre Neo in Los Angeles right now. The Voice of the Prairie by John Olive runs on our main stage on the weekends, and Real men and Others runs Thursday nights in April. Our website, has all the information about how to get tickets!

DR: Where are you happiest? TV/Film work or the theatre, and why?

RB: I love the process of theatre. The time one spends carving out a character is where the meat of the art is found. The interesting thing about film is that while the same creative process is necessary, you have to do it very quickly and often without the close involvement of the director.

The exciting thing about film is the fact that it's a mass medium. Art is useless unless it's experienced by an audience and I think film is probably the most often-viewed art form in the modern world. Film also has the power to preserve a performance. The fact that people can still see Cyxork 7 two years after we shot it is very exciting.

Short answer: I love the artistic luxury of the theatre and the exciting power of film.

DR: If your life story was to be made into a movie who would play you and why?

RB: You may be surprised by the answer. I've always admired the work of Adam Goldberg. Who's that? He played the Jewish soldier in Saving Private Ryan and was one of Russell Crowe's colleagues in A Beautiful Mind. We're similar character types and he's a very intelligent and sensitive actor. He's not a huge star just yet, but I think playing me would push any career over the top, no?

Adam Goldberg

DR: What's the one thing in your life that you are most proud of and why?

RB: That's a tough one. I've always wanted to do musical theatre, but never had the vocal chops. I just started studying voice at Los Angeles City College. If I get cast in a musical in the next year or two, that will make me very proud indeed.

DR: What of the future? Where can we expect to see you pop up next?

RB: I've got two movies coming to DVD, Cyxork 7 and another film called My Tiny Universe starring Lesley Ann Warren and John Heard. My Tiny Universe will be available May 30 and can be pre-ordered from

I will also be producing Jane Anderson's play Looking for Normal for Theatre Neo in October.

My website,, has all the latest news!

DR: Thank you for your time.

My Tiny Universe is released to own and rent on DVD from Skouras Ventura on the 30 May 2006
Order this DVD for $22.49 (RRP: $24.99) by clicking here

A special preview release of Cyxork 7 on DVD will soon be available for sale directly from the website To be notified when the DVD goes on sale, please send an e-mail to:

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