Not every actor gets to clash sword-to-sword with Zorro; perform all the works of William Shakespeare within a single stage production; endure torture at the hands of a dystopian ecosphere’s evil dictator or create the character of a vain, pompous steward in a Shakespearean comedy while, at the same time, directing the show.
Seth Trucks has done them all – and always comes back for more. In fact, he’s already rehearsing for Frankenstein which opens later this month.
A lover of William Shakespeare, who attentively trained in the Bard’s genre in the U.S. and England, Seth just finished directing the famed playwright’s rom-com, Twelfth Night, for the Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival and Village of Royal Palm Beach. He enticed some popular performers to join him for the show, including his girlfriend, Sara Grant, as Viola; Timothy Mark Davis as Sir Toby; Casey Sacco as Maria and Elizabeth Price as Malvolia, a female version of the original character of Malvolio. The Lubben Brothers folk quartet provided tunes during intermission.
“I’ve dreamed of directing Twelfth Night,” said Seth, who tweaked the original version by adding music – “not ambient music,” he said, but melodies that rose and fell with the show’s action. “The music helped carry the play.”
Interviewed over lunch during a break between Twelfth Night and Frankenstein, the slim, tussle-haired performer recalled that as a budding thespian, he “fell in love with Shakespeare in high school.” He moved up the scholastic and performance ladders, studying experimental theatre at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and classical theater at The British American Drama Academy and The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
“As a freshman and sophomore, I attended summer programs at Oxford. Later, I moved to London for a year and a half of intensive Shakespearean study.” He discovered that The Bard of Avon “is always popular. You find Shakespeare fans wherever you go.”
Later, in New York, he performed with Fractured Atlas and Synaesthetic Theatre, and worked as a freelance fight choreographer. He also spent five years as a writer/performer with the New York-based physical comedy troupe, The Six Characters – an improv group often tapped for stage and TV appearances.
In addition to the Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival, Seth has performed in Florida with Outré Theatre Company, Evening Star Productions, Entre’acte Theatrix and the Primal Forces theater group which reopens in November as Boca Stage.
A native of Macon, Georgia, who grew up in Jacksonville, Seth bills himself as an actor, but has written, produced and directed shows. He also devotes time to an acting ensemble at the Miami Children’s Museum. “They have a 210-seat theater there. We read stories. Right now, we are organizing a Halloween party” which will likely feature Mr. Trucks as an All Hallow’s Eve goblin or some other manner of scary creature.
Miami Childrens Museum Theatre Ensemble. Back to front, left to right – Robert Fritz, Seth Trucks, Peter Kisiluk, Breeanna Obts and Krystal Valdes.
And why not? He once portrayed a Trekkie monster during an event and narrated a performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Abyss Theater in Wilton Manors.
One of Seth’s earliest encounters with stage performance had nothing to do with theatrical arts. His father, Claude “Butch” Trucks, was a popular rock drummer perhaps best known as a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band. Butch was one of two Allman percussionists.
The performers, inducted into the Rock ‘N” Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, incorporated elements of blues, jazz and country music to come up with a distinctive style. Their live shows featured jam band-style improvisation and instrumentals. “I had a summer job as the group’s drummer,” Seth recalled.
The younger Trucks enjoyed collaborating with his dad, but his personal career drifted in a less-than-musical direction – at his choosing. “Musicals don’t speak to me; they don’t draw me in. I’ve done musicals, but I’m not a great singer.”
Some tune-filled shows appear on his resume. “I portrayed Ernst Ludwig in Cabaret for (director) Bruce Linser at MNM Theater,” he said.
His fancy, said Seth, runs to smaller venues, such as the Sol Theatre in Boca Raton. “They remind me of the small spaces in New York, the places where I cut my teeth.” He said the tighter locations “force you to be innovative. You have to figure out how to use the available space.”
It turns out his last pre-COVID performance took place at Sol Theatre, in a show called A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center of New York, which ended in early February 2020. The show cast Seth and singer/actor Shelley Keelor as children of two cancer patients who meet in the medical unit’s waiting room.
Seth Trucks and Shelley Keelor in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center of New York.
He also performed at the Sol in The Gingerbread Lady, a darkly comic piece by Neil Simon, and Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
Keith Garsson, artistic director of Boca Stage (formerly Primal Forces), knows Seth’s abilities well. “At Boca Stage,” Garsson said, “he has been second to none at capturing the vulnerabilities of the modern, alpha male. His performances are always an expert combination of alienation and cynicism that betrays the troubled soul beneath.
The Sol – a storefront performance site on North Federal Highway in Boca Raton – has special meaning for Seth and Sara. “We met through Sol Children’s Theatre and Evening Star Productions (the children’s troupe and pro production companies at Sol, respectively). Sara’s mother, Rosalie Grant, launched both.
“Sara first choreographed a production of Midsummer Night’s Dream that I directed there. Then, we were both in A Christmas Carol which starred Jim Gibbons – a great actor – as Scrooge. Later, I appeared in Waiting for Godot with her mother as director and Sara as assistant director. It was the best show I think I’ve been in.”
Seth with his girlfriend, Sara Grant.