Youtube comic takes a serious turn in Friendswood theater’s ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’

October 30, 2017 GMT

A Friendswood acting teacher who is a YouTube comic displays his talent for drama in Purple Box Theater’s production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” which runs through Nov. 12.

Chase Harris, 25, plays Gooper Pollitt, the less-favored son in Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winner that debuted on Broadway in 1955, with the late Pat Hingle as Gooper.

“He is a little conniving,” said Harris, explaining that Gooper hopes his dying father will leave the family estate to him rather than to Gooper’s alcoholic, irresponsible brother, Brick.

In Brick’s corner is Brick’s determined wife, Maggie.

“Lurking under every practiced interaction between the Pollitts is an ulterior motive, under every smile, a challenge, and under every statement, the specter of mendacity,” according to press material.

Harris, who teaches improvisational acting classes at the Friendswood theater, said once he learned his lines and blocking for the play, he got to experiment with his dramatic skills.

“That is when you start building the character, trying new ideas on the go,” he said.

“Your character has a goal he needs to achieve, and you portray that as well as you can. Gooper’s intentions are not what they seem to be; so in all of his encounters, he is acting beneath a façade. He turns his back, and drops his face to express how he really feels.”

In one episode of Harris’ YouTube comedy channel, “ChaseOnStage,” he portrays his character’s duality by performing him as both a responsible office worker and a casual dude who keeps calling him and interrupting his alter ego at work.

“My YouTube series is my passion project,” said Harris, who gets high marks as an acting teacher from Purple Box founder and artistic director Cathy Holbrook, who is directing “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”

“Chase is fabulous with the kids and adults,” she said. “They all love him. He has a lot of experience he brings to his classes.”

Two children who take acting at Purple Box appear as Harris’ kids in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” They are Liam Alonzo, the son of Albert and Liza Alonzo of Clear Lake, and Arabella Reyes of League City, whose mother, Victoria Reyes stars as Maggie.

Rounding out the cast are League City’s Juan Butriago as Brick, Deborah Winters Chaney and Steve Rockey of Friendswood, Pat Monks and Chelse Tillman of Clear Lake, Felipe Bautista of Dickinson and T’Mar Bunch, a student at the University of Houston who graduated from Clear Falls High School in 2005.

Harris graduated from Friendswood High School in 2010, but spent only a year at the University of Houston as a theater major.

He also works as a musician and a roofing estimator.

At Purple Box, he has portrayed Private Howard in “A Few Good Men,” Brother Boy in “Sordid Lives” and Rooster in “Annie.”

Performances of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” will be at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3-4 and 11, and 3 p.m. Nov. 5 and 12 at the theater, 1309 W. Parkwood.

Admission is $15, $12 for seniors. For tickets, call 818-642-4665 or visit www.thepurpleboxtheater.com.

Don Maines is a freelance writer who can be reached at donmaines@att.net