Ray A. Rochelle as Alexander Molokov in CHESS.

Ray A. Rochelle as Alexander Molokov in CHESS.

Tell us about the character you play, and how can you relate to him/her. Is there any part of CHESS that resonates with you as an actor, or personally?

I play the part of Alexander Molokov (the Russian Second) and he is seen as an antagonist of this show. I appreciate the “bad-guy” or character roles because of their layers and complexities in pushing and feeding the storylines. Because Chess is set in the 80’s during the Cold War, I remember clips of media and movies that reminded me of pieces Molokov’s character.  I understand the intention of his plot points and added color to his storyline by creating gestures and emotion that give him life through my interpretation.

What challenges, if any, have you faced with playing your character? –

I chose to smoke an electronic cigarette on stage to give the character some sense of habit or business. I actually do not inhale the smoke. But there are times, when I am not careful just before I speak or sing, when the smoke has gotten into my lungs which almost caused me to cough right before my lines. Also, the Russian accent I speak and sing with is not easy. But, luckily for me, it is one of the accents I was already familiar with before being cast in the role. It’s a funny thing I like to do to creditors when they call my home… in real life!

What distinguishes this production or role you have compared to other characters you’ve played in the past?

Molokov doesn’t usually get featured as much in past productions of Chess. The director and choreographer have given me room to make the role of Molokov more memorable in THIS production of Chess more than any other.

What made you want to pursue acting?

When I started in show business, I was originally a chorus dancer. I found that more growth in the entertainment industry could come from the craft of acting.

Have you ever faced adversity in your career, and if so, how?

I have been very fortunate to not have faced adversity.  Most of the companies or organizations I have auditioned/worked for don’t see me as a specific race or color. I have been fortunate to have worked as long as I have and for as many production companies due to my ability and opportunities given me to direct, perform, costume, and cast.

Any advice you’d give to actors just starting out?

Have a flexible day job or some money in the bank to sustain your craft. And audition for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING so you can start building your resume. As you work more, you will be able to cut your resume down to the things that show your best work!

What’s in store for you after CHESS

I currently have a full-time (9 to 5) job but I have been granted leave to perform as the “Interpreter’ in the King and I for two weeks at the prestigious Sacramento Music Circus this summer. I will also be casting the hit musical Nunsense  for the San Gabriel Valley Music Theatre in late June 2013.

Anything else you’d like to share?

East West Players is a wonderful place to work for/with and I proudly call them my second home!

How can fans stay updated about your projects?

Twitter: @DirectorHands