Q&A With “Sweat” Actor Edgar Sanchez

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Veteran actor Edgar Sanchez stars in "Sweat" at the Goodman Theatre.

Edgar Sanchez is a veteran actor that has worked on a number of film and television projects, like Sense8, Chicago P.D. and Blueprint, among others.

He’s also made quite a name for himself in the world of theater in such productions as Macbeth (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Native Son (Court Theatre), Fences (American Theater Company, Indiana Repertory Theatre and Milwaukee Repertory Theater); Hamlet (GableStage); and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Oregon Shakespeare Festival).

Currently, you can find Edgar on stage at the Goodman Theatre, starring as “Chris” in the Chicago premiere of the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Sweat written by Lynn Nottage and directed by Ron OJ Parson. The production runs through April 21.

Sweat centers around a group of friends in a Rust Belt town that have spent their lives sharing secrets and laughs on the factory floor. But when layoffs begin to chip away at their trust, they’re pitted against each other in a heart-wrenching fight in this collision of race, class and friendship at a pivotal moment in America.

N’DIGO recently caught up with Sanchez to learn about his acting influences, how he prepares for each show, and the surprising way he leisurely makes money in his spare time.

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Edgar Sanchez (right) and Ronald Conner in “Sweat” at the Goodman Theatre. All photos by Liz Lauren.

N’DIGO: In your own words, who is Edgar Sanchez?
Edgar Sanchez: A dreamer, who keeps it real.

What did you dream of being as a child? When did you know you wanted to be an actor?
Believe it or not, I’ve wanted to be an actor/director/writer/producer since like forever. I honestly can’t think of anything else I’ve thought about doing. It’s almost like my first memory.

Who are three actors you’ve looked up to or who maybe served as an influence to you?
This is easy. Shanesia Davis, Sandra Marquez, and Tarell Alvin McCraney.

What were you first thoughts upon reading the script for Sweat?
I simply thought, “Yes! This! We need this!”

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Between the issues happening with his parents, drama at his workplace, and his dreams of going to college to become a teacher not getting much support, Chris seems to have a lot of heavy stuff going on at once. How did you decide your approach in playing a character dealing with so much?
In short, I simply felt Chris’ way of dealing with everything was to laugh to keep from crying.

Did you do much in the way of creating a backstory to get to know Chris better?
Oh yeah. I’m constantly offstage making stuff up about what’s going on with every character really. People think it’s just jokes, but really I love creating secrets about each role.

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Edgar with Andre Teamer

Do you have a specific pre-show routine or ritual that you must do before every performance?
Too many! First, I gotta shower. It’s like cleansing to prepare. Then I gotta make sure I crack one joke about everyone. Then I gotta walk the backstage like I’m walking the streets of Reading (Pennsylvania). Always. It puts me in the mood. I also must play a round of my mobile game, Clash Royale. It clears my mind.

With experience acting in film, television, and theatre, can you talk a little about the subtle differences in performing in each medium that most fans might not pick up on?
TV/film is all about what you’re thinking. Theater is all about what you’re doing and saying.

What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
I hate talking about myself? *laughs* Probably that I’m a huge gamer. Like competitively. Like I sometimes make money from gaming!

Best advice to young and aspiring actors?
The only people who don’t make it are the ones who quit. Get to really know yourself and the rest will follow.

Favorite quote or affirmation?
“In the end, everything turns out okay. If everything is not okay, it is not the end.”

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From left: Mike Cherry, Andre Teamer and Sanchez

What’s next for Edgar Sanchez?
For the first time in my career, I’m not making any plans. L.A. is in the air, and so is a show in Pittsburgh. I may produce again this year as well. There’s even the chance an episodic I wrote could be pitched this year, but I’m just riding the waves for now. Just waiting to see where I land.

(Catch Edgar in the hit production of Lynn Nottage’s Sweat, which runs at the Goodman Theatre through April 21. For more information, visit www.goodmantheatre.org/season/1819-Season/Sweat.)

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