|Alex Macksoud (seated center) plays man-child Mickey, who is based on the author's real-life brother.|
PHOTO by Jan Cartwright
All actors love a good challenge, and playing a part that is different from your own personality can be difficult. But playing someone who is mentally challenged is a unique test. It requires care to play such a role for laughs, while not being insensitive or appearing to laugh at someone’s disability. Alex Macksoud strikes this balance beautifully as he plays Mickey, a mentally challenged adult, in Greetings! which opens this Friday December 1st at the Farmington Players.
Alex describes Mickey as “a playful, lovable, pure-hearted person – who just so happens to have the mind of a toddler. I enjoy playing Mickey because he allows me to revert back to my younger days when I didn't have a care in the world and only wanted to play.” Alex regards mentally challenged people as “the happiest, purest, most carefree people on the planet.”
When I interviewed author Tom Dudzick, I asked him about his inspirations for Greetings! I was surprised to learn that “Mickey” was based on a family member. Mr. Dudzick said, “Growing up I had a mentally disabled brother, one year older than me. He had Down Syndrome. For the most part, all he could say was ‘Oh boy’ and ‘Wow.’ He's passed on now, but he was exactly like Mickey in the play.” This touching revelation about the real Mickey makes the role especially poignant.
Alex believes that Greetings! does a “fantastic job at bridging the line between drama and comedy.” Alex also finds the show’s themes of “faith and the strength of family during turbulent times” very relatable to audiences. He can personally relate to the religious themes: “Growing up devoutly Catholic and ultimately scaling back my faith, this play has a lot of great, familiar dialogue between father and son about the son's decision to alter his beliefs.”
Alex is a Farmington Hills native and now lives in Berkley. His hobbies include traveling, hiking, writing, and performing improv comedy. He holds a degree in Advertising from Central Michigan University. Regarding his cast mates, Alex says, “it has been an absolute pleasure to work with everyone, and watch each individual grow into their character with each rehearsal!”
Greetings! has 10 performances at Farmington Players Barn Theater from December 1 – 17, 2017. The show is proudly sponsored by Jill Jones and Cadillac Travel. Author Tom Dudzick also penned our successful production of Miracle on South Division Street. Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.