2022-23 season

2022-23 season

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Michael Soave is Well-Suited as the Santa Assassin, Samuel Byck

Michael Soave plays the Santa clad assassin, Samuel Byck (below), who attempted to assassinate President Nixon in 1974.

With his GQ look, Michael Soave conveys an image of suave sophistication, which is ironic given that his character in Assassins is anything but. Michael plays Sam Byck, who like many of the outsiders portrayed in the show, “felt the entire world was against him, including the government.” On February 22, 1974, Michael explained that Byck “attempted to assassinate President Richard Nixon by hijacking a 747 airplane and crashing it into the White House.”  (While Byck’s plane never got airborne, he ultimately killed a few people onboard, including himself.)   In the play, the Byck character appears in a Santa Claus suit, which the real-life Sam Byck once wore to a political protest.

In Assassins, Michael describes the Sam Byck character as “an interesting guy; fun-loving, bipolar, narcissistic and crazy. One second I'm jolly and singing a song and in the blink of an eye I turn explosively angry. The sudden shifts in mood are probably what I enjoy the most, but at the same time are the most challenging just because there's so much back and forth with myself. Sometimes it’s even a little scary because acting crazy came a bit to naturally for me.”

In real life, Michael is a stand-up comedian from Detroit, which might explain his crazy side. He is making is theatrical debut in Assassins because “I enjoy Stephen Sondheim's work and I'm also a fan of darker things, so this was right up my alley. Also I find it easier to identify with my character, Byck, just because he's like an everyday Joe. Working odd jobs just to make it by and then all this crap goes wrong in his life. We've all had times in our lives where we thought the world was taking a crap on us. Byck just took it too far.”

While the show does not try to justify the assassins’ actions, Michael explains that Assassins is “full of underdog, anti-hero characters who take it upon themselves to become vigilantes. Everyone loves an underdog story.”  Even if it’s hard to root for them, it is interesting to try to understand each of the assassin’s rationale for doing what they did.  As Michael says, it’s “different for everyone. Some characters want to be remembered, some just want to be noticed and some just want revenge.” 

When he’s not doing stand-up, Michael’s hobbies include magic, juggling and cooking, and watching horror movies. He’s also a self-taught hypnotist. 

The Farmington Players' production of Assassins is proudly sponsored by the Center for Financial Planning, Inc.  The show runs from February 14 – March 1. Tickets can be purchased online at www.farmingtonplayers.org or by calling the box office at 248-553-2955. 

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