Actor Greg Maraio
SEP 9 – OCT 8
Massachusetts native Greg Maraio is no stranger to SpeakEasy, having appeared last season as Jonathon/Miranda in Casa Valentina, and the year before as Victor/Clint in John Kuntz’s Necessary Monsters.
This fall, Greg joins us once again to play Jordan Berman, the lead character in Significant Other, a bittersweet new comedy about love, loss, and letting go, written by Bad Jews playwright Joshua Harmon.
In a recent email interview, Greg shares his thoughts on growing up in East Boston, his fascination with superheroes, the remarkable similarities he shares with his character, and the one wedding he’ll never forget.
What was the best part about growing up in East Boston?
I joke all the time about the fact that almost all of my family lives within three houses of each other on the same street. But looking back, I was so lucky to grow up so close to my grandparents, who lived right next door. My grandmother has lived in the same house for 95 years. I remember going there, watching The Golden Girls, and having coffee with her while she helped me with my homework. It was one of those places where everyone knows you and your family. No matter where I live, that street in East Boston will always be home.
When did you know you wanted to become an actor?
When I was in high school, I took my first drama class. At the end of the course, we did a full-length play. It was a ridiculous farce catering to high schools with, like, 17 characters. I played a character named Oysters Rockefeller. I’m a bit foggy on the plot, but I’ll never forget coming onstage and delivering a line and getting that very first laugh. It was one of the best feelings. From that moment on, I was hooked. That feeling never gets old. It’s just as amazing now as it was all those years ago.
Tell us about Jordan Berman, the character you play in Significant Other. What attracted you to this character and role?
Jordan is a gay man in his late twenties, navigating life in New York city with his three best friends, Kiki, Vanessa, and Laura. He’s also looking for love, though not always in the right places.
I relate so much to Jordan. We share so many of the same ideals and personality traits. I really understand him. He’s funny, he’s obsessive, he’s far from perfect, but he has such a big heart, which he wears on his sleeve. He sees beauty in things that others usually don’t. The most attractive thing though, to me, is his relationship to his grandmother Helene, and his best friend Laura. Two of the most important relationships in my own life are with my own grandmother and my best friend (Rosalie and Carrie, respectively). So many of Jordan’s conversations with these two other characters feel so real and familiar to me. I’ve lived it, and I am able to take those experiences into the role. I love this character and I love being able to play him.
Jordan goes to a number of weddings in this play. What was the worst wedding you ever attended and what made it so bad?
You know, I cant really remember a bad wedding that I attended. I’ve heard some horrific best man/maid of honor speeches, but haven’t we all? I do, however, remember that when my older brother got married, my mother was insistent that she wanted to read a certain poem and then release like 20 beautiful butterflies into the air. The poem was lovely, but when she released the butterflies, about 15 of those 20 poor things just landed dead on the ground. I don’t know the circumstances surrounding their death. Foul play? Sabotage? Who knows? But we like to remind my mother about it every chance we get.
By day, you are a costume designer specializing in recreating classic superhero costumes. Who is your favorite superhero and why?
That is a tough question. I’d have to say Wonder Woman. I just love the whole truth, justice, and beauty thing. I remember watching Lynda Carter in reruns when I was a kid and those images of her are just burned into my brain. I used to spin for hours hoping something would happen. I mean, a lasso that makes you tell the truth and an invisible plane? It truly doesn’t get any better than that.
Photos courtesy of Greg Maraio.