Though he’s best known for playing creepy killers and as the young Spock in J.J.?Abrams’ “Star Trek”?franchise, Zachary Quinto has roots in the theater, and he says it’s his passion, too.
“That’s how I started to find my way into acting as a kid,” says Quinto. “I’m at a point in my life where I have to make good on a promise to myself to return to the thing that matters the most to me.”
He’s achieving that goal this winter in Cambridge, where he has joined the American Repertory Theater’s production of “The Glass Menagerie.”
Quinto says he loves the immediacy and vitality of stage acting.
“It fulfills me in a more substantial way than any experience in film or television can,” he says.
He’s taken the role of Tom, a warehouse worker who dreams of escaping his oppressive mother and fragile sister in Tennessee Williams’ autobiographical play.
“Understanding Tom’s personal journey has been very important to my process,” says Quinto, 35. “Williams was about my age when he wrote the play, so I can really relate to the author.”
The play opened in 1945, and has since cemented its spot in American theatrical history.
“When it premiered, plays weren’t done this way,” explains Quinto. “Tennessee Williams was transcending limitations and doing so in such a staggeringly poetic way, but also in such a relatable and resonant way that it became an instant classic.”
The catharsis of playing a psycho
Quinto’s character in “The Glass Menagerie” is much different from the creepy guys he’s played on TV, like serial murderer Sylar in “Heroes” and psycho Dr. Thredson in “American Horror Story.”
“They certainly have forced me to go places in the human psyche that are uncomfortable,” says Quinto. “I think in some ways it was cathartic, a good outlet to explore those things in myself. That’s the gift of being an actor.”