This week on DirecTalk Radio: Actor and writer Ian Ruskin as Thomas Paine speaks with Joseph Miller.
Anglo-American actor IAN RUSKIN trained at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and performed in England for 15 years. He came to Los Angeles in 1985 and worked primarily in television; usually guest starring as the intelligent bad guy in shows such as “Murder She Wrote”, “Scarecrow and Mrs. King” and “MacGyver”. This work paid the rent but did not in any way fulfill his dream as a student at RADA – to work in plays that would affect an audience. A pivotal moment arrived in 1994 while playing the lead in Rob Sullivan’s Strike Story: The Harry Bridges Story. A rehearsed reading before the ILWU, the renowned labor leader’s own union, was capped by a ten-minute standing ovation. Some years later Ruskin put his hand to writing and recording radio documentaries and one-man plays, including From Wharf Rats to Lords of the Docks, which was eventually directed and filmed for PBS by the legendary Academy Award-winning cameraman, the late Haskell Wexler.
In 2010 Ruskin received a COLA [City of Los Angeles] Fellowship to write To Begin the World Over Again: the Life of Thomas Paine, and has toured over 60 performances to date, including Harvard Law School, The American Philosophical Society, the ACLU, and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. What’s more, a film adaptation (Wexler’s final project, before passing away at 92), narrated by Elliot Gould, is now complete and will be featured on PBS nationwide later this year. Ruskin brings his play to Santa Barbara on Saturday afternoon February 13 for one performance at the Faulkner Gallery at the Central Public Library. The performance is free, and hosted by The Institute of World Culture.