Austin Tichenor

When he's not busy being a television actor (perhaps you've seen him on Boston Legal, or Everwood, or Nip/Tuck), Austin Tichenor is one-third of the Reduced Shakespeare Company, a three-man comedy troupe known for taking long, serious subjects and reducing them into short, sharp comedies. They've previously taken on Shakespeare and America, and now the masters of miniaturization are tackling Tinseltown in a new show for Actors Theatre. Minutes before opening in Completely Hollywood (abridged), Tichenor considers bad auditions, unfulfilled dreams, and Dick Van Dyke.

I knew I wanted to be in show business when I found out being a lawyer required too much acting. Playing one on TV is much easier.

The worst thing about being a combination writer/director/actor is all the juggling. I'm a terrible juggler. I'm always dropping things. I also have a big head; I mean, literally, a ginormous noggin. So it's very hard and sometimes confusing, switching hats all the time.

My worst audition ever was for the part of a grieving husband whose wife had been killed on CSI. Afterwards, the casting director said, "Let's try it one more time, and remember: Your wife has just been killed." Oh, sorry, did I not convey that?

The happiest day in my life was when my son was born. Tears of joy that day. I should have run right over and auditioned for the part of a man whose wife had just been killed.

If I could be anyone other than myself, it would be Dick Van Dyke; at least when I was younger. Then I wanted to be John Cleese and was devastated when I found out they already had one.

The unabridged secret of Hollywood is too lengthy to get into here — why do you think we're reducing it?! Basically, Hollywood is still a city of dreams. Largely unfulfilled dreams for most people, but still.

The one thing I absolutely refuse to do on stage is sweep up afterwards.

Something I have never admitted to anyone before is that I never, ever lie. Never. I never exaggerate, either.

Currently I am reading three books by friends of mine that all came out this summer: Schrodinger's Ball by Adam Felber, a funny romance about physics; Mommies Who Drink by Brett Paesel; and Reduced Shakespeare: The Complete Guide for the Attention-Impaired (abridged) by Reed Martin and . . . oh, hell . . . me.

The first time I got drunk, I was completely in control and absolutely meant to fall down those stairs.

Like my mother used to say, "Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night . . . at Completely Hollywood (abridged) at the Actors Theatre until October 1st! Get your tickets now!" Sigh . . . good old mom.

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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela