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'The Performance' with Rhys Wyn Trenhaile
A dramatic and sobering depiction of an elderly actor contemplating his success and what it has cost him.

Passion and heartbreak; they can be congruent in progression but are not always so. Both are present in the story and the film The Performance. The professionals behind the scenes and in front of the camera are at their best when they believe in the story being told, this was particularly so with the work of actor Rhys Wyn Trenhaile who took both an acting and producing role for this production. 

The Performance is a story which resonates particularly deep with thespians and entertainment industry artists. This tale of an aging actor, who revisits the stage of his first performance, some sixty years past, is allegorical for the masses while being quite literal for those playing the characters. Coming together to create The Performance are a number of acting heavyweights including: Nick Mancuso (Under SiegeRegression, and Genie award winning role in Ticket to Heaven) as Victor, Oscar nominated actor Grahem Greene (Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Dances with Wolves) as Jack, Sienna Guillory (British Independent Film Awards nominee for Best Actress known for Love ActuallyResident Evil: Apocalypse) as Sarah, and Rhys (ABC's Designated Survivor, NBC's Taken).

The visual presentation of this film is stunning, courtesy of celebrated cinematographer Sasha Moric known for his work on Golden Globe Winning Series The Handmaid's Tale and upcoming film Lifechanger, but it's the connection of the actors to their roles which has already garnered attention to this production set for a 2019 release. Victor is a famous actor who returns to the stage where he gave his first performance. In doing so, he embarks on a personal reflection of the past sixty years of his life. During this "one night only" appearance, Victor contemplates the regrets which plot his life's course while attempting to deliver a truly unforgettable performance. Trenhaile plays the pivotal role of Gus Lastiz, the owner of a renowned theater who reintroduces Victor. Gus is the film's anchor to reality as we discover that all of the other characters are ghosts from Victor's past. Gus himself is in aspiring actor and relishes every moment with the aging star, learning everything he can from him before the final curtain call.

The Performanceis fictional and yet its connection to reality is thinly veiled. The actors in the film have no doubt experienced and considered the exact same scenarios as many of their characters. When Gus shows Victor around the theater he operates, the same theater which will feature "The Performance", it's a nod to the fact that many actors take on other roles in the industry as well. Rhys himself served as a producer on this film. Trenhaile relates, "Gus was a blast for me to play because I'm normally asked to either play a man in uniform punching or shooting another man or the love interest to the girl while cracking a joke. Gus is much more internally driven; it's something I could relate to as an actor. If you're truly passionate about the business, you tend to get involved in other ways. I get into the production aspects, other actors get involved as directors or acting coaches; there's a lot of ways to pursue this.  At the end of the day, I enjoyed playing variations of myself and imaginary circumstances, finding the love in the laughter and every single character."

The subject matter of The Performance is extremely sobering. Behind the scenes interviews confirm that the production actually took breaks during the filming of certain scenes due to these powerful performances eliciting tears. While the main character is an actor, the story supersedes any single vocation and compels one to consider the choices in our all too brief time on Earth. This is the core of great art, making something specific relatable to everyone. The Performance is a reminder that you still need life balance that you still need to create a rich and stable private life while pursuing your career goals. You don't need to be famous or even creative to comprehend this. Thankfully, the artists who created The Performance remind us by placing these concepts at our feet.

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