Jayson Warner Smith, isn’t your ordinary Georgia farm boy. Born and raised in Atlanta, he was struck with the acting bug after his mother enrolled him in a drama class when he was 9 years old. He garnered a lead role in the first production only to eventually be demoted to the chorus. But that didn’t stop him. A few years later he was cast as “Buffalo Bill” in a production of Annie Get Your Gun at the Cobb Children’s Theatre.
Now in his forties, Smith has established himself as a versatile actor that can act on both the stage and screen. After scoring roles in Footloose, House of Pain, Drop Dead Diva, and the new TV series Coma, he has been on the watch list for Atlanta talent.
This past fall, Smith played the Tao-style-macho-hippie boudoir photographer “Frank” in the insatiable and hilarious production of Body Awareness at Pinch ‘n’ Ouch Theatre. He now returns to the theatre in April playing the dirty rotten scoundrel Hollywood producer “Bobby Gould” in Pinch ‘n’ Ouch’s latest work Speed-the-Plow by David Mamet.
Smith will fill the shoes of a role that has been historically played by Joe Mantega, William H. Macy, Norbert Leo Butz, Jeff Goldblum, and perhaps a friendly supporter Jeremy Piven who tweeted the advice “Words will guide… stay present, Fall for the girl. Great play, trust.”
Speed-the-Plow is about the ruthless nature of the Hollywood movie industry. David Mamet describes, “It’s a cruel and interesting world; and, as Americans, we revel in the how-to of it all. We live to work. But, what is the difference between Work and Art, and how is one to draw the line?” The title of the play is derived from a phrase in a 15th century work-song, “God speed the plough.” It was a prayer for prosperity and productivity. Mamet goes on to say, “We’d all like to be good and do well, but we’ve all got to bring home the bacon.” (The NY Times)
Smith knows a thing or two about bringing home the bacon in Hollywood. After moving to Los Angeles in 1991, he was struck with a harsh realization. “I thought I was going to be the next Tom Cruise. But I was wrong. I was parking people’s Roles Royces for a living.” After a year and a half of “pounding the pavement” he signed with an agent, and booked his first film.
Smith says it is in the theatre where he feels the most creative. “There is nothing I’d rather do than sit in a room with other actors and collaborate.” Now working two jobs: his own blind and shade company by day and an actor by night, Smith finds a comfortable balance between Work and Art. “I love every bit of it. Rehearsing the play, to finally sharing an experience with the audience.”
Speed-the-Plow by David Mamet. Directed by Grant McGowen. Performs March 29 – Arpil 29, 2012. http://www.pnotheatre.org/.