Economic professor stars in one-man show
Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:52 pm in News
When economics associate professor Mark Moore introduces himself as both an economist and an actor, he often raises eyebrows.
‚ÄúSome people are surprised that an economist is involved with theater,‚ÄĚ Moore said. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm sure some think it‚Äôs odd but, by and large, people are used to the idea that people have many hats.‚ÄĚ
Though Moore now successfully balances his two careers and has a one-man play running in the Village Gate theatre next week, his journey to the stage was at times an upward battle.
Individuals, such as his father and his economics mentor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, held expectations for Moore‚Äôs life that conflicted with his own.
‚ÄúAt the time, I thought, ‚ÄėDo I betray my father, my mentor or myself?‚Äô‚ÄĚ Moore said.
After teaching at USC for three years, he took a year off in 2006 to earn a master‚Äôs in fine arts at the Shakespeare Theatre Company Academy for Classical Acting at George Washington University.
Moore returned to teach at USC in 2007 but still embraces his ‚Äúunlikely creative obsession‚ÄĚ by performing and writing on the side.
‚ÄúBalancing it all is a fun challenge and a work in progress,‚ÄĚ Moore said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a struggle, but it‚Äôs not a bad struggle. It‚Äôs an interesting one.‚ÄĚ
Moore believes the two professions complement each other better than most might think. He attributes his experience and professional education in acting to the teaching styles he has developed as a USC professor.
‚ÄúGiving an economics lecture that doesn‚Äôt have raw emotional power can be a bit difficult,‚ÄĚ Moore said. ‚ÄúBut through my acting background, I‚Äôve learned to keep the classroom alive in a way that the stage to me is alive.‚ÄĚ
Moore‚Äôs upcoming show, Crooked Roads, explores his struggle to make the most challenging decisions of his life: balancing his interest in economics and his passion for acting. Though he graduated from MIT to pursue a career in the classroom, he still itched to be on stage.
‚ÄúActing demands a full commitment of yourself both physically and emotionally,‚ÄĚ Moore said. ‚ÄúThe ability to share that live on stage is amazing to me.‚ÄĚ
In addition to playing each character himself, Moore wrote and produced the show. He said he looks forward to expressing himself to a USC audience.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a great experience to write your own words and to get a chance to perform them,‚ÄĚ Moore said. ‚ÄúAnd it‚Äôs tremendously rewarding to just say something that‚Äôs in you to say.‚ÄĚ
Jessica Stauffer, a junior majoring in economics, personally relates to the play‚Äôs premise. After taking two courses with Moore, Stauffer met with him to help her choose her major and discuss which career path best suited her interests.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs ironic that the play is about Professor Moore figuring out what to do with this life, because those are the very conversations I have had with him,‚ÄĚ Stauffer said. ‚ÄúHe really helped me figure out a plan for my future, so I am excited to support him since he first supported me.‚ÄĚ
Moore said the show will resonate with USC students, especially since choosing a career path lies just around the corner for them.
‚ÄúStudents are about to face important life decisions with competing expectations,‚ÄĚ Moore said. ‚ÄúI think the show really strikes a chord with this audience, which is really what I‚Äôm in it for in the end.‚ÄĚ
Crooked Roads plays at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 29 and Thursday, Jan. 31 at the Village Gate Theater. Admission is $10 for students, faculty, staff and alumni.