Get to Know Your Actors: An Interview with Jim Malinee (Ben)

We are thrilled to welcome Jim Malinee to the Talking Horse stage for his first production here! (This is not his first time with some cast mates, however: nearly ten years ago he appeared in CEC’s production of Communicating Doors with Monica Palmer and Mary Shaw, who play his wife and sister in The Lyons; he also worked with Monica in Other Desert Cities, also at CEC.) His first play in Columbia was back in 2006, and, as he puts it, “I liked the director so much I married her.” Since then, his favorite role to date has been Elwood P. Dowd in Harvey at the Maplewood Barn.

Read on for more information about Jim, his outlook on the Columbia arts community, and his taste in film.

Where else might we have seen you around town?

In real life, I work in operations for Veterans United Home Loans.

What was the first play you remember seeing?

Can't remember the first, but the most memorable was War Horse at Lincoln Center in NYC. Seeing the people operating the horses was amazing. After awhile, you didn't even notice them. And the movements of the wooden horses made them look SO real!

What do you want the audience to know about the arts community in CoMo?

That it's vibrant and thriving. I never would have known this 10 years ago, but I'm glad I do now. So many wonderful, caring, supportive people.

What is your favorite non-theatre thing to do around town?

Anything to do with Mizzou sports--I go to as many as I can get to.

What is your favorite thing about the rehearsal process for The Lyons?

Learning to act while lying flat on my back (my character is in bed the entire time he's in the show). It's challenging mostly from the perspective of trying top bring the necessary emotion to Ben Lyons without moving too much and remembering he has terminal cancer.

What similarities & differences do you see between yourself and Ben?

More similarities than I would like, although I don't typically use language quite as colorful as his. But then, I've never been suffering from terminal cancer, either. That might change things. As I've gotten older (it's my birthday, btw, as I write this to you, so I'm maybe more reflective than usual) I've tried to learn to relax a bit and let it go.

What do you hope the audience comes away from this play thinking about, talking about, or asking themselves?

If they see elements of themselves and/or their family in this show, start to talk it out with them now before it gets to the point of no return. The Lyons got there years ago.

What movie have you seen more than any other?

That's easy--I've seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show about 15 times. Not a lot by some people's standards, but easily the most viewings of one movie for me.


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