|Eric Henrickson (second from right) plays loner Malcolm MacGregor, one of the six "Hot Metal" dancers.|
PHOTO by Anne Craft
In the Farmington Players production of The Full Monty, Eric Henrickson’s character Malcolm MacGregor describes himself as “a complete loser who still lives at home with his mother." As Eric says, “Malcolm starts the show as a very lonely man. He's let his sick, domineering mother pretty much dictate his life, and he feels cut off from the world around him. He doesn't have any friends because he's spent so much time taking care of his mother. But things turn around quickly for him when he becomes part of this ragtag group of amateur strippers. He finally has some friends, and he gains the confidence to be his own man.”
In developing his character, Eric tapped into his own experience, saying, “With Malcolm, I can relate to his loneliness. It's never gone to the extreme Malcolm feels, but it's definitely been there. And not too long ago, a friend from another show committed suicide. He was in his mid-20s. The visitation was held in a huge room in the funeral home, and it was packed and overflowing into the hallway, and I thought, ‘With all these people, how bad was it that he felt he had nowhere to turn?’ So as I started working on lines for that scene in the show, that experience jumped to the front of my thoughts.”
Fortunately, Eric’s family is very close and he can rely on them and his network of friends to get through any hard times. Similarly, Eric thinks that local audiences will connect with the story of The Full Monty, saying, “As we continue to pull ourselves out of the economic downturn, I think everybody in Michigan can relate to a bunch of guys who were laid off in a plant closing and unemployed for more than a year. We still have divorce, we still have crushed dreams, we still have insecurity, we still have domineering mothers, we still have suicide ... These are all issues that aren't going away anytime soon.” And like Detroiters, the “show is blue collar but has a sweetness underlying it. It's a cliché, but it has heart. Movie translations don't always go well, but this one made it. Every character comes to this moment with a real emotional need that goes beyond needing some quick cash. And it's those emotions that will keep audiences interested and entertained.”
Beyond connecting with these themes, Eric’s real motivation to audition was the opportunity to sing Malcolm’s song, You Walk With Me: “It's such a beautiful song. I loved the movie when it came out, and the show when the tour came to the Fisher years ago, and since then, I've thought it would be great to play Malcolm. He's such a sweet character in a show that has its own sweetness.” About his male cast mates, Eric says, “I kind of feel like we're echoing the show's story arc as we get to know each other through rehearsal. And I'm sure that first time we get on stage in our underwear, it won't be hard to act that feeling of awkwardness in that scene.”
Eric lives in Ferndale and worked at The Detroit News for 19 years as a copy editor, writer, food editor, and blogger (“Geek Watch”), and he now writes content for Meemic Insurance Company's website and runs their social media. His other big loves are baking (see his work at facebook.com/cupcookiebakery) and theater, having played Bill in Kiss Me, Kate at the old Barn, Rapunzel's Prince in Into the Woods at Ridgedale, and Linus in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown at Grosse Pointe.
The Farmington Players production of The Full Monty is proudly sponsored by TruVista Wealth Management. The show is definitely R-rated for sexually suggestive content and language. There are 12 performances from April 29 – May 21. Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by contacting the Barn box office at email@example.com or 248-553-2955.