Sam Fleming attended Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, participating in several stage and film productions during his time there. After graduation, he moved to New York City, where he performed in plays, commercials, TV, and a sketch-comedy troupe, learning more about himself and the "real world" along the way. Sam moved to LA in March of 2014, and he is thrilled to have found Elysium--such a passionate, inspiring and welcoming group of artists--just weeks after arriving. He's performed with Elysium as Guiderius in Cymbeline, Lancelot in The Lady of Shalott and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, as well as a Voice in Joan of Arc towards the end of its run.
Tell us about a transformative educational experience.
When I was in my early teens, I attended a day camp in Massachusetts (where I grew up) over a couple summers with a group called the Rebel Shakespeare Company. They believe strongly that Shakespeare should not be learned while sitting in a classroom; get the text on its feet, and it becomes much more accessible and relatable to people at all ages. I had performed in musicals before then, but those summer days were the first time I really came to appreciate the theatrical process, the building of an ensemble, and all things Shakespeare. A couple years ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to give back to Rebel and pay it forward by co-directing a 2-week Shakespeare residency with them at my hometown's local middle school; it was inspiring to see that spark ignite in those kids' eyes and heartwarming to be a part of it.
What about transformative professional experiences?
I'd have to mention a production I worked on with a group of artists a few summers ago. We were invited to workshop a new play at a theater in a beautiful corner of our country called Stonington, ME. We (a cast of 4 actors, the director, the playwright, and a sound designer) traveled there from NYC and stayed for a couple weeks to read through, tweak, learn, block, and ultimately perform the play. This experience stands out among others because we were essentially able to drop everything else and focus on the art--especially refreshing coming from the hustle and bustle of New York. It was also nice to work on a brand new piece, as we didn't feel tied to anything but the story itself. Two weeks sounded like a short amount of time to accomplish such a feat, but due to this freedom from other responsibilities, we were able to succeed.
Why I do what I do...
Something that has always excited me about acting is the chance to learn about different people, places and things while working to embody a new role. I've never been crazy about research, but in the context of developing a character, it becomes much more exciting and essential to me. I love working to find a connection with each character I portray: good or evil, old or young, familiar or not. If I can find a piece of myself in that character and vice-versa, I'm able to understand him much more deeply; the search for that humanity and questions I need to ask along the way are a thrilling process.
What about Elysium inspires you?
One thing that kept me coming back to Elysium is the emphasis on never settling for the first taste of success. The company in general--and Aaron in particular--challenges its members to risk, strive for new heights, learn and grow during each production and throughout each season, so there's always something at stake that feels vital and ensures that you approach every moment and opportunity with passion and vigor.
My favorite "day-off" event would be...
Being able to relax on a beach with all my friends and family, near and far. Swimming, cooking out, fireworks, a bonfire, and s'mores galore.
If I had one million dollars I would...
Pay my parents back for supporting and putting up with me for all these years, put a good chunk of the money away in a safe place where I wouldn't be tempted to spend it, and then develop projects (film and theatre) with people I know and love, without having to worry about a day job for a while.
Did you know...
...that I've never been to Canada? Will somebody take me there, please? It seems pretty cool.