Circling the News Contributor
Andrew Cereghino was driving to rehearsal at Theatre West when we spoke on the phone last week. The native Palisadian is appearing in Walking in Space, a role he landed just a few months after starring in Bell, Book, and Candle at Theatre Palisades.
The 2008 PaliHi graduate is not your typical young actor. He came to his art late in the game, which he sees as an advantage. His brother Eric is a sound designer, but his parents are not in show business. His father, Warren, was a television news editor for years, and his mother, Marilyn, ran her own PR company
“I am happy I waited to act,” Andrew muses. “It’s not easy to act while you’re going to school.”
Following graduation from the University of San Francisco, he worked in New York at Black Rock in portfolio compliance for over two years, while also trying his hand at stand-up comedy, and lucked out by moving from the understudy role in a small play to the main part.
Ironically, the pandemic was a deciding factor in guiding his career in many ways. “I was able to work remotely and work on my craft.” He also landed a job on The Bay, a multiple Emmy-award winning digital drama series on Amazon.
Leaving finance, Cereghino moved back to California to further his acting studies. He realized that he could use some formal training by studying with various teachers. “Because I was a beginner, I decided on a bare-bones course.” He took a two-year Meisner Training Program at the Ruskin School of Acting in Santa Monica.
He explained to me that as opposed to the Strasberg method, which focuses on getting into the emotions and feelings of a character by remembering your own past experiences, the Meisner technique is a style of acting that focuses on reacting to your environment and the other actors on set.
“It’s more truthful,” Andrew says. “You have to act without acting, which helps me get out of my head and be more present.”
Certainly, a good example of this is Cereghino’s role in Walking in Space. Essentially, the play observes the psychological and emotional repercussions within a family that is living with an addicted mother. The cast includes four adult children, each having coped in their own way with trauma.
Cereghino is not part of the family, rather, the boyfriend (Keith) of one of the daughters–an outsider.
“The family is in a state of emergency, and I am a life raft to help keep the family together, keep them afloat,” Cereghino said.
Throughout the course of the play, Keith has to keep a pulse on the emotional temperature in the room and offer calm in the midst of chaos.
Because he is not on stage constantly, he prepared audio of the dialogue to be able to “start up the engine again” as he re-enters a scene.
The play runs through October 8 at Theatre West in Studio City.
While Cereghino waited out the actors’ strike, he was happy working on his stand-up. “You don’t have a casting director or producer,” he says. “It’s open and gives you so much to work with.”
His next gig will be on October 16 at 7 p.m. at the Westside Comedy Theater, 1323-A 3rd St, Santa Monica on the Promenade.