An Interview With Death House Actor Chase Cargill

The Road Theatre on Lankershim is proud to present the world premiere of Death House by Jason Karasev that first bowed as a staged reading in August of 2017 at the Road’s Summer Playwrights Festival. It’s a scintillating look at prisons and the death sentence as told through the struggles of an inmate on death row, the prison chaplain attending to her, and the new pastor set to take his place. Each week through March 10th we will spotlight a member of the cast or creative team. This week we shine the light on Death House‘s Chase Cargill.

Q: What character do you play in Death House?

A: Allen Coiro. He’s an ambitious, passionate young preacher who is training as Death House chaplain, set to take over for George. He is inheriting the “keys to the kingdom” from his idol and inspiration, and he is determined to do good for his community by serving those affected by horrific crimes.

Q: What challenges do you face as an actor?

A: I think it’s important to know what Allen is hiding at any given moment, and how best to play that secret. There are so many layers to this amazing play that Jason (Karasev) wrote. Being able to stack each piece of backstory in my mind and allowing them to unravel throughout the course of the play has been a real challenge, but one I have seriously enjoyed. That and the whole being open thing!

Q: Tell us about your director and fellow cast members.

A: Michael is great with moment-to-moment work. He really likes to dissect a scene and find out what is happening underneath the dialogue, and what our characters might be doing in order to protect themselves or achieve a certain goal. Diving into the intention of a moment and breaking it down to its bones is always a challenge, but he was definitely up for it! Sam and Verity are two of the best actors I have ever worked with onstage. I know it’s mushy! But I mean it… these guys make me strive for something beyond excellence every single day and I am immensely grateful for their talent and hard work.

Q: What do you hope audiences will take away?

A: To me, this show is about healing. I hope people are able to feel the message underneath that has always spoken to me so deeply; we are all more alike than we think, and forgiveness is achievable, given the right perspective. It’s a message we need right now. Kudos to that Karasev guy.

Death House plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm through March 23rd at the historic Lankershim Arts Center at 5108 Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood. Arrive early to ensure street parking.