A Look at Max Stampa-Brown

Connie Zhou ’12
Staff Writer

Junior Max Stampa-Brown will be starring in the upcoming Players musical, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” in November. He will be playing J. Pierrepont Finch, a window-washer who, with the help of a book, quickly rises to the top of a company.

Max says that this role goes along well with past roles, such as Danny in “Grease” and Jimmy in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” in “fulfilling everything I could possibly dream for in high school acting.” In Players, Max was the understudy for the tinman in “The Wiz” and Lefou in “Beauty and the Beast”. He says he enjoyed being the tinman understudy because he was able to learn more.

Learning to act, however, is easy for Max. Though he admits that he does need direction for some of it, “most of it just feels so organic.” He enjoys it and it comes naturally to him. He says it’s a blessing doing what he does, and plans on continuing to act in college and afterwards. When asked what roles he would like to perform in the future, he offers two characters-Cyrano de Bergerac, the French dramatist and duelist in “Cyrano de Bergerac”, and the title character from Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus”.

Though most people might have someone who originally got them started in acting or another activity, Max says he just remembers always liking it. “When I was little, I would like to recite nonsense to my family, and my mom realized that I was really theatrical.” The little interest grew from there, and now Max does much more than just reciting silly words; he spends three hours every day at Players rehearsal and around two additional hours practicing monologues in his room.

He also has other interests, which include singing, playing the guitar, and reading and writing extensively. Max is the lead singer and rhythmic guitarist of his band, the Extra Parachutes. They can be heard at myspace.com/extraparachutes. As for reading, Max loves Shakespeare, saying that understanding it comes naturally to him-something most students probably envy immensely. He also calls himself “a sap for reading a lot of poetry”, naming Dylan Thomas as one of his favorites. Max also enjoys writing songs for his band, poetry, and just writing in general. “An interesting fact is that I always write before sleeping,” he says.

Max looks up to other performing artists, like Frank Sinatra. He also admires George Clooney because “he’s able to manifest himself in his character and does such a good job becoming the character.” Max additionally has an admiration for visual artists such as Buckminster Fuller, the creator of the geodesic dome (think Epcot). “What he creates are complete marvels to the human mind, using numbers,” something Max says he just has trouble with. He says that what he and Buckminster have in common is an ideal of simplicity, beauty, finding happiness, and entertaining others-and just achieve it in different ways.

Max’s joy in doing what he does shows in every aspect of his work. Sitting through a rehearsal, it is evident how much effort he and the other Players put in to deliver their spectacular shows. Max says that he definitely plans on directing and teaching students when he’s older.

“It’s amazing how much happiness I find in acting for other people. If other people are finding joy in what I am doing, I am happy.”