From Stage to On-Screen with Juan Castano
Words and Photography by Teddy Nguyen
We recently sat down with young actor Juan Castano best known for his role as Marcos Ruiz in What/If. Juan is an American Actor who has both theatre play and television experience. This young actor talks about his experience in being both on stage and on-screen. Check out his interview below.
So you started your acting career on the stage. Tell us about your experience performing on Transfers?
The stage will always be where my heart is. My goal has always been to work on strong material so I felt fortunate to become part of the New York theater community where some of the most amazing writing is taking place. It was kind of this incredible two year journey, beginning with Bruce Norris' Parallelogram at second stage, where I got to work with incredible actors like Celia Keenan Bolger and Stephen Kunken. Shortly after that I played Oedipus at the Public Theater and then Transfers at MCC where I met my "artistic soulmate" and now good friend, Lucy Thurber. Those experiences will stay with me forever.
How has acting on the stage informed your acting on the screen?
They definitely require a separate skill set. But some things always translate. On stage, I learned to be present, to be generous. And to be vulnerable enough to trust that every night will be different if I'm willing to let go of control. I hope these things are translating into my screen work.
How has the adjustment been performing on What If and Tales of the City?
Television and film are such a structured medium, but aside from understanding that, my job pretty much remains the same.
How did you tap into the emotions necessary to play two very complicated characters on What If and Tales of the City? How have you been able to identify with characters that are so different from you?
I just try to bridge the gap. How are these people like me? I look for that. The spine of the character. Once you have that, you can't make a mistake.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your career?
I think acting has served as a mirror for who I am. It reflects back to me my strengths and weaknesses. If I want something in my art, I have to cultivate it in my personal life first. That's not always fun.
You're a pretty private guy. How do you differentiate between vulnerability in your personal life with vulnerability in acting? What does vulnerability mean to you?
My friend said she became a dancer because it allowed her to have an emotional experience in a controlled environment. That rings true for me. I can be vulnerable in front of hundreds of people on stage, or millions on screen. But when I'm me walking through my day, It's still difficult to connect. I think that where the privacy thing comes from. Just fear.
What advice do you have to give to actors who want to transition from stage acting to on-screen acting?
There were two guys in New York that helped me with that. Bob Krakower and Eric Reis. If I could, I would still study with them.
Catch up with Juan on Instagram and stay up to date with all of his projects.