Backstage with Ben Chau-Chiu: Actor in The Mousetrap
I’m new. In almost all twenty-seven ways of the sense. If you need to know, my name is Benjamin Chau-Chiu, though for now I am Christopher Wren in SRCT’s The Mousetrap! This is my first time acting with SRCT and I am more than excited to be joining the team. This is my first role in a community theater and a theater outside of my university, and only my third acting role overall.
I started acting just last fall in UC Santa Cruz and was cast in my first show, Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. If only it was the real thing….Anywhosit, I was cast in the roles of the Anchorman, the Bad Horse Chorus, one of the homeless, and as Bad Horse. It was an amazing experience and I am so grateful to have been able to start in such a show. There are so many amazing memories of rehearsals and shows. Two amazing moments out of that show were the creation of Channel Hmmstrethafer, or 3 if you’re weird, and walking onstage as Bad Horse with a bloody dress shirt, suit, and horse mask on. It was an amazing experience and I love my cast members to death from that show. The second show I was in was Peter Pan, portraying the Pirate Cecco and Great Big Little Panther. This is the play by J.M. Barrie, not the musical. It was also it’s own memorable experience as it differed from most other shows I’ve seen and worked on. This particular show was created using media projections, utilizing five projectors, I believe. The cast bonding in that show was absolutely amazing and there are many moments with the cast that should not ever be repeated. Mainly for the sake of inappropriateness and not wanting to see some of the things I saw again. Nonetheless, it was an amazing experience and I worked with some great actors and made close friends with many of them.
After being an actor for maybe six months, I decided to try my hand at directing and designing lights. Again, great experiences and friends were had all along the way. Though you may be asking yourself, how did this kid come into theater nine months ago and has already acted, directed, and designing lighting for a show? I’ll be honest, I don’t know how I did that either, but I have, and I’m so greatly appreciative for having the experience of doing so. Along with those extra jobs, I’ve also found myself working in a scene shop and building sets for two other shows. A few of my friends poke fun at me and wonder how I spend hours upon hours in theaters. The only response I have is that it’s something that makes me truly happy.
I am originally from Pleasanton and went to school at Amador Valley High School. I was never involved in theater there, and that’s a huge regret that I have, but oh well. The past is in the past! The only thing I’ve done in theater was in eighth grade. I worked run crew for The Wiz, and helped paint the sets, and helped set up the lighting and sound equipment. Also an experience, but so long ago that I remember little from the actual show. I do remember, however, taking a trip to San Francisco and watching Wicked. That was a turning a point.
Leaving the bio, I have come to work with SRCT because of the lovely Brianna Grabowski. After meeting her through Peter Pan, she mentioned this show and being the newbie actor I am, I decided to try getting involved in theaters around my hometown. So I auditioned here, and lo and behold, I was cast as the goofy, and too much like my real self, Christopher Wren. Doing theater here is scary because I don’t like being so close to home when doing these things. And Santa Cruz isn’t all that far either, but this is…different. Regardless though, I am having amazing fun, and I love the cast despite how little of outside interaction I’ve had with them. I am looking forward to this and can’t wait for the show to become a full production in August.
by Ben Chau-Chiu