He arrives late for our interview. Ninety seconds late. The moment he parks and slides off his motor-scooter, he apologizes for having kept me waiting. Peter Galle, the actor who earlier this year impressed audiences with his bloody rampage as Mad Padraic in Threshold Repertory Theatre’s The Lieutenant of Inishmore, sheepishly confesses that the thing he’s been murdering lately is his sleep schedule — thanks to the Olympics.
Working for a living. Galle admits that it’s never easy, anywhere, to make a living wage as an actor. Helping to change that in Charleston is high on his list of things to do. At Threshold, he says, “That’s our goal.” After graduating from the College of Charleston in 2011, he became more actively involved in the company while also honing his improv chops at Theatre 99. And then there’s the film project he’s working on. And the video promos he creates for Threshold’s shows. And a special theatrical production he hinted at that’s in the works at Threshold for next year’s Piccolo Spoleto. Clearly, slacking is not an option.
Fuggedaboutit. While he’s spent some time in both New York and L.A. with an eye toward future possibilities, for Galle, Charleston is the place to be right now. “Before, I believed I had to be accepted by New York, or by L.A., to be considered legitimate. That’s a common thought and I understand why people might feel that way. But after going to New York, I realized maybe that isn’t the first step. I see in Charleston, in Threshold and Theatre 99 and in the friends around me, an incredible sense of community.” It’s that sense of coming together around creative projects that Galle feels truly nurtures careers. He’s inspired by the talent in town.
Improv on the mat. Galle says his improv work at Theatre 99 has made him a better performer. And he has a unique perspective on that craft. He likens it to wrestling. “I like to look at it all as moves. On the mat, wrestlers are not using the take-down they’ve rehearsed with their partner. They’re using a spontaneous variation. They’re stringing all these things they’ve learned together.” Bouncing off the other performer’s lines, building a credible world for the audience, he says, is an exercise in discipline. “Training helps you become spontaneous.”
Continuing education. “Having my mom (Threshold Repertory’s executive director Pamela Nichols Galle) around is like having grad school because she’s been acting for 25 years. She has an uncanny sense when she reads a script. I’ve worked with her on every play that I’ve done. The other gift I have is working with Greg [Theatre 99 co-founder, Greg Tavares]. I’m lucky. I’m always learning.”