Comedic timing key for Jonesboro actor

By Ed Brock

Robert Ethan Scott Williams of Jonesboro is such a good actor he can fool his own mother.

Indeed there were times when Mildred Williams sat through some of her son's plays watching eagerly for his appearance on stage only to apparently miss him. Later he would have to tell her who he had been.

"I would have never thought he'd be an actor," his mom said. "He was one of the shyest of my kids."

Now 30-year-old actor who goes by the stage name Ethan Scott has blossomed into an actor who has been in some 15 stage productions including "The Pearl Fishers" with the Atlanta Opera. He played the role of a reporter in the Denzel Washington movie "Remember the Titans" and he's even wielded a sword at the Georgia Renaissance Festival.

"The very first play I ever did was ?Arsenic and Old Lace' at Jonesboro High School," Williams said.

Mildred Williams said that her husband had also enjoyed the theater and she had taken Robert and his four siblings to numerous plays at the Fox Theater in Atlanta when they were children. Even so, Robert Williams didn't initially plan to become an actor.

"When I first went to college I thought I wanted to be in business," Williams said. "Then I went to my first accounting class and decided that wasn't going to work for me."

So he switched his studies at Clayton College & State University to drama and acted in a production of the play "Voyzeck" by G. Buchner.

"He did very, very fine work in that production," said Larry Corse, the director of the college's theater at the time. "That was a very difficult and very demanding show and he was one of the students who really pulled it off."

Williams gave the "Voyzeck" cast leadership and was "eager to make things work," Corse said. Williams later went on to study drama at Georgia State University.

Williams' latest play, "No Sex Please, We're British" by Anthony Marriott and Alistair Foot opens tonight at the Off Off Peachtree Theatre in Dursey Studios on Clairmont Road and runs until Nov. 15. In it he plays Peter Hunter, a very regular British banker who has just returned from a honeymoon with his wife Frances (played by Rachel Garner) when Frances decides she wants to sell "Scandinavian glassware."

It turns out that "Scandinavian glassware" is a euphemism for certain pornographic items and the couple's life tips into risqu? madness.

"There's lots of entrances and exits and in Act 2 two prostitutes show up," Williams said. "And one of the prostitutes is mute."

While Williams says he likes all forms of acting, comedy is one of his strong suits.

"I succeed at comedy because I have good timing," Williams said.

During his run with "No Sex" Williams will take a hiatus from his position in the Murder Mystery Dinner Theater at Dave & Busters restaurant and game arcades. His future plans include getting into the voice-over market for television and radio commercials.

"My ultimate goal is to one day run my own theater company," Williams said.

Money is not a factor in Williams' acting career. He works during the day as a process server for an Atlanta law firm.

He gets to use his talent on that job from time to time as well, Williams said.

"I love creating characters that nobody else will make," Williams said. "We (actors) sure don't do it for the money. We do it for the love of it."