In the theatrical world there is a saying, “when the acting bug bites, it bites hard.” That colloquialism rang true for former Herndon High foreign language teacher David Segal.
The Herndon resident has taken advantage of every staged play, musical audition and table read possible throughout the Northern Virginia area since his recovery from cancer in July of 2010. Patch regarding his battle with throat cancer and his segue into acting.
Segal took a short hiatus from the theatre in 2011 when he booked his first feature film, entitled Ultrasonic. Rohit Colin Rao co-wrote and directed the film, which was accepted into the D.C. Independent Film Festival and will be screened for the public on Saturday, March 3.
The retired teacher played a psychiatrist in Ultrasonic. His character, Dr. Rose is called in to an intervention for a young man named Jonas, who is having auditory hallucinations that he believes are controlling him and the rest of the world. Segal said Rao was an excellent director and he is both anxious and excited to see himself on the big screen.
“I think [Rao] is a really talented guy and very detail oriented,” Segal said. “I got some pointers from Rao and he said he wanted it very understated. That’s kind of how I read it and it took me a while to bring it down because I was used to the stage voice. But I got it down and it worked OK.”
Segal said he found many differences between acting on stage and in film. He said patience is absolutely necessary for actors during a movie, as one of his scenes took six hours to film. Projection of your voice is crucial in stage productions but Segal said he learned quickly that film acting requires quite the opposite technique.
“The hard part is you have to say your lines exactly the same every single time because of the editing. It’s very different on stage. You have to project your voice on stage. Everything is in the face and nuance of voice and looks [on film.]”
Segal has since returned to the stage in Taking Flight Theatre Company’s production of Earth and Sky which finished its run last weekend in Sterling. But he will not have much rest from under the lights before beginning his role in the British Players’ production of Cause Celebre, which runs March 16 - April 1. While he is more experienced on stage, Segal said he might venture into more film productions if the opportunity presents itself.
“I haven’t done as much film, but I think I’d like to do more of it,” he said. “The memorization in stage is tougher but you can kind of wing it at times too. It’s a whole different dynamic working with actors too.”
The actor has also delved into another art form, as he modestly refers to himself as a “fledgling photographer” and is considering going into business via LLC. One might wonder for someone who is in recession from cancer, with so many projects in the pipeline, how has his health stood up?
“My health is fine,” Segal said. “I just had a CT scan of my head and neck about eight weeks ago with no problems. The only problem I have is with fatigue and I think that’s just some little chemical imbalances going on from the radiation.”
He admitted his schedule can get to be a bit much, but he will soon take a break from everything with another trip to Europe this spring.
“I’m going to France in May because I want to improve my French,” he said. “I am also thinking of going to the Ukraine where my grandparents are from, and find the town of my origination.”
Once he returns to the states he will no doubt jump into the acting fray again. Segal said if he were not to stay so busy he would quickly “turn into a slug.” Segal said while he loves acting and retired life is treating him very well, he is mostly thrilled about watching his son walk during his high school graduation this June.