Acting Apprentice Andrew (Andy!) Haftkowycz hails from Cleveland but has roots in the Ukraine. Read on to learn more about him:
Portland Playhouse (PPH): Where you are from?
Andy: Cleveland, Ohio
PPH: Where did you study?
Andy: I just graduated with a BFA in Performance Studies from Ohio University’s School of Theater.
PPH: What’s a shameless brag you want the world to know?
Andy: I have amazing blue eyes. They can be intoxicatingly mesmerizing at the Golden Hour
PPH: Tell us an embarrassing moment that still haunts you?
Andy: Once I was on a date with an old flame of mine at a hot dog joint. I went into the bathroom and when I finished up, I realized the doorknob had broken, and I couldn’t kick the door open, so I was trapped inside. After alerting the staff (i.e. yelling until the screaming from the bathroom got their attention), they gave me the greenlight to break the doorknob, thus freeing me. I didn’t break the knob, but instead broke the doorknob through the door, leaving myself still trapped inside, as well as leaving a fist-sized hole in the door. Right after this happened, someone who worked there passed me a hotdog through the open hole and said, “Sorry about the dilemma. This one’s on the house.” Later, the police came through and kicked the door in. Perhaps the most embarrassing date I’ve been on, but the night was still a success.
PPH: What was your "a-ha" moment that made you realize you wanted to be an actor?
Andy: My mother had always wanted to be an artist (a painter), and turned down numerous offers to art school for a Biology degree and regretted it. When she passed away, I realized that I wasn’t studying what I wanted to do in my life whilst in college, so after I won 3rd place in a charity drag show, I emailed the School of Theater and asked if it wasn’t too late to study in their actor’s studio. Had I waited a day longer, I may never have studied acting, nor moved to Portland.
PPH: What was one actor moment that you wish you could forget?
Andy: Once, I went up on a line when I was playing Teddy in Arsenic and Old Lace at the Monomoy Theater during our Opening night. Instead of catching myself, I simply let out an array of sounds and then walked off stage. The rest of the play went off without a hitch, and Teddy being a psychotic character, nobody even noticed, but I still make sure my lines are OVER rehearsed so that I never fall into that trap again.
PPH: What is an actor trick you use that no one knows of?
Andy: I like to act in real life all the time. I sometimes take on different personas and see how far I can get with them. Whenever I grocery shop, I’m in a Ukrainian accent and having everyone believe I am a foreigner. I once got out of a speeding ticket by convincing the cop that my grandmother had just gone to prison. I do this so that I can see real-life emotion in the people I encounter, and trust me, you have NO IDEA how funny people will act when the status quo is shaken up a bit. I find that this is the milk that makes drama so sweet, and I try to sip every last drop of it from real life so that the plays I’m in have more of a taste of reality.
PPH: What are you most looking forward to in Apprenticeship?
Andy: I am having an amazing time working as the fight choreographer for the Fall Festival of Shakespeare. The students are extremely energetic and enthusiastic, especially Franklin High School’s MacBeth cast and crew. I have a real passion for creating visceral and real fights onstage, so this has been allowing me to really exercise my creative and teaching muscles as far as making actors look like badass mothers onstage. However, I REALLY can’t wait to produce and perform my Solo Show this spring so I can share my heritage, my struggle and my talented, messed-up mind with the rest of the people who keep Portland weird.
PPH: What did you want to be when you were five years old?
Andy: So my dad is an OB/GYN, and I was raised by a family of doctors. Since I was little, I always wanted to be a plastic surgeon. When I was in 4th grade, and my classmates started to learn more about the way the world worked, people started to assume it was because I wanted to work on boob jobs, and I had to correct them by letting them in on what my real passion was: making people’s faces look better if they were disfigured in an accident. I’ve always been hypersensitive to human misery, and I’ve always been the kind of person who would rather split his last loaf of bread in two than be full and watch someone else starve. I like to think that, in a way, I’m accomplishing my childhood dreams by making people smile when I’m onstage, because everyone looks beautiful when they have a smile on their face.
PPH: Who do you admire?
Andy: I find great strength from the people who protested, suffered, and died for an entire winter in the Euromaidan revolution of Kyiv, Ukraine to oppose the corrupt former-government. I love theater, and I love how powerful of a tool it can be for social, political, and moral change, but I strongly believe that those who fight and die for equality in the world are truly the greatest gifts we have on this planet. I pray that we theater-types can find a way to truly honor the courage and sacrifice of these heroes.
PPH: Any hobbies outside of Theater?
Andy: Other than beautiful women who love back massages, I’m a nature junkie. As a Ukrainian Boy Scout, I would be anywhere in Oregon hiking, mountain climbing, mountain biking, and/or swimming when I leave the city limits. Inside the city, I love trying out new cafes and breweries with friends, or jamming on drums and guitar. I’ve also picked up a new affinity for freestyle rapping, so don’t be surprised when your foot starts a-tapping from the rhymes I create when lips start their flappin’. #bless’d
PPH: What are you listening to in your car (or iPod) right now?
Andy: Modern Jesus by Portugal. The Man & Worst Comes to Worst by Dilated Peoples