The fourteenth profile in the Cleveland Performing Arts Examiner ACTOR PROFILE series features actor and multi-tasker extraordinaire, MARY FAKTOR. This series (in interview form) is in process to “get to know” some of our own northeastern Ohio talent. Profiles will feature equity and non-equity actors, stage and screen actors, as well as young, old and in-between actors. These are your peers and your neighbors – please enjoy!
Full Name: MARY FAKTOR (The Actor ;-)
Age: Between 40 and death
Years acting: 30
“Day Job”: On camera/voiceover Actor, Performer of original one-woman comedy show, THE SIX AGES OF WOMAN, Keynote Speaker, Workshop Facilitator, Life Coach & Owner of Faktor’s Talent Network, Variety Talent Agency in Hudson, OH
Resident city: Hudson/Peninsula, Ohio
Kate Miller: So, Mary Faktor the Actor – where have you trained?
Mary Faktor: Graduate of The Second City, various acting classes, seminars and private coaching.
KM: And do you sing?
MF: I’m not a singer… I’m an actor who can sing a little. But since I have more guts than brains, I am currently putting together a cabaret act.
KM: Do you dance? What’s your training?
MF: Only in the back row with a patient choreographer… or at weddings after some tequila shooters. The salt is first, the lime is last.
KM: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
MF: An actor… I spent all my spare time putting on shows in my friends garages and basements with a chenille bedspread curtain. I loved to make people laugh and was always the first with my hand up to read my reports to the class – A born ham.
KM: Any other actors in your family?
MF: Nope…I was the oddball who didn’t want the security of a regular paycheck. I’m the “weird one”…the “Marilyn Munster” of my family.
KM: Why did you start acting?
MF: At age 30, I was fighting a major depression. When my counselor learned of my childhood love of acting, she recommended I audition for a local community theater production of Neil Simon’s Last of the Red Hot Lovers. I got cast as Jeannette, the depressed housewife.
KM: Favorite role ever played?
MF: I have two… Doris in Same Time Next Year & Mrs. Daigle in Bad Seed.
KM: What is your dream role?
MF: Doris in Same Time… was definitely a dream role. I’d LOVE to play Annie in Misery.. I love countering my “nice” image with “Bitchy” or psychotic roles.
KM: Have you done TV or movies? How does acting for the screen differ from the stage?
MF: Last year during the “will LeBron stay or go period”, I played the airheaded mom of a Cleveland Sports fanatic played by Mike Polk in the FOX Sports Network comedy special Light Up Like Vegas. I’ve had featured roles in films including American Splendor (with Paul Giamatti), And the Winner Is… (with Jerry Springer), as well as other local Indie films like Johnny Wu’s The Rapture.
KM: Any particular venues where you work primarily?
MF: I perform The Six Ages of Woman all over the country and sometimes internationally. Every venue is different – from church basements with 50 women to large theaters with thousands.
KM: Why do you love acting?
MF: I literally LOVE my audiences. I want to give to them. I want to make them laugh and forget their troubles and go home inspired to live their dreams. I want to use my acting, writing and comic timing to help raise funds for their organizations. I want to play roles that make people feel.
KM: Tell me more about Faktor’s Talent Network and about Variety Talent Agency. How long have you been involved? What prompted you to begin? Etc.?
MF: 20 Years ago I got a call from a client to book my comedy show. I was already booked for that date, so I recommended a comedy magician friend, called him and gave him the booking. About a month later it happened again, then again. He said, “You’re getting me more work than my agent, I should give you a commission,” and the rest is history.
MF: Doing the “grandma thing”. I love reliving my childhood through them. Both my kids married spouses with a child, so I became an overnight grandmother. Then three more were added, so they range 13, 12, 7, 3 and 20 months. Unfortunately, So far none have shown the necessary combination of talent, drive and desire to be an actor. I’m holding out hope for the youngest.
KM: Who are your favorite actors and actresses?
MF: Meryl Streep, Sally Field, Kathy Bates, Dustin Hoffman to name a few.
KM: How do you prep for an audition?
MF: Memorize as much as possible by recording the lines and listening at every opportunity. I also try to understand the character’s many facets, history and relationship to the other characters. I look at an audition as a fun 5 minutes where I get to act. Then I go home and go onto other things. With the caliber of talent in this town in my age bracket, I don’t kid myself as to the odds of winning the role. I consider myself blessed when I do.
KM: How do you reward yourself for getting a role you wanted?
MF: Getting the role is its own reward.
KM: What do you do to get through a rough tech week?
MF: As much sleep as possible, LOTS of Airbourne and Cold-Eze.
KM: What’s the hardest part about acting?
MF: The lack of pay for our expertise, competing with so many qualified actors for the same role, the disappointment of not getting cast.
KM: You have so many facets of your life that you juggle, how do you keep being an actor/performer/life coach/speaker/practitioner/etc. together???
MF: You think I have it together? You obviously haven’t seen my office! Lots of folders, sticky notes, a “year at a glance” calendar and a blackberry I haven’t figured out how to use yet. Also my part-time assistant, Holly, kicks me in the butt every 7 to 10 days.
KM: Random – Do you have any pets?
MF: Yes, an adorable Bischon/Poodle mix named Frankie. I should have named him “Sybil”. Sometimes he thinks he’s a baby, sometimes he thinks he’s a cat, and he often fancies himself a German Shepherd when a big dog is around.
KM: Finally, why do YOU think Cleveland rocks?
MF: I wasn’t born to Cleveland, but I chose it as my home 20 years ago. The film and theater community here is so caring and supportive of each other; the passion of loving what they do; the free filmmaker groups where films can be critiqued in a caring way; the multitude of independent filmmakers and new theater groups who are using local talent instead of importing from NYC.
For more information on Mary’s many works, projects and business, visit:
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