Judd Hirsch: Audiences have most recently seen Judd Hirsch in the CBS sitcom "Big Bang Theory" and on the big screen in "Independence Day: Resurgence." But the Tony- Golden Globe-, Obie- and Emmy Award-winning actor has a long line of memorable television credits, among them the sitcoms "Taxi" (1978-1983; ABC/NBC) and "Dear John" (1988-1992; NBC) and the drama series "NUMB3RS" (2005-2010; CBS), and on Broadway in "I'm Not Rappaport" (both the original in 1985 and the revival in 2002); "Art" (1998); "A Thousand Clowns" (1996 revival); "Conversations With My Father" (1992); "Talley's Folly" (1980) and "Chapter Two" (1977). Hirsch is in the Berkshires now in the world premiere of Sham Bitterman's "The Stone Witch," at Berkshire Theatre Group's Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge, Mass., where previews begin Thursday. The show officially opens Saturday and is scheduled to run through Aug. 20. He took some time out from a busy rehearsal schedule to answer a few questions:
1. What drew you to this project?:
The worthwhileness of the story and, of course, believing that I could get the character, Simon Grinberg, to surprise you, and even surprise myself.
2. What do you look for in a director?:
Someone who listens well, and who invites the intuitions of the actor.
3. What is the most meaningful advice you ever received as an actor; from whom, and at what point in your career?:
My acting teacher, Bill Hickey, said, right from the beginning, "When the audience reads the program and your name appears as the character, then that is who the character is — no one else."
4. How do you prepare to go on stage before a performance?
Do you follow any particular routine, and do you get stage fright at all? If so, how do you deal with it?: Stage fright is the anticipation that things will go wrong. But the energy produced by it usually propels you to begin! The kind of preparation depends upon the task to be performed, to present yourself, whether it is to be 'discovered asleep' or 'crashing through the set.'
5. What are you reading?:
The New York Times and other scripts that are sent to me.