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article imageParvesh Cheena talks pandemic-based series 'Connecting' on NBC Special

By Markos Papadatos     Dec 14, 2020 in Entertainment
Actor Parvesh Cheena chatted with Digital Journal's Markos Papadatos about starring in NBC's pandemic-based comedy series "Connecting."
"It's funny to think that August to October of 2020 feeling like a year ago but that's what it feels like," he said. "The experience of filming Connecting will now be a time capsule of what life was like in the Pandemic of 2020. And it's not even the end of the year or the beginning of a new one. Because I was just at home like most actors in this new world, my experience with Connecting was so complete. We were cast, filmed, promoted, and aired a full season in just a few months. I'm still processing my experience from Connecting."
On his daily inspirations as an actor, he said, "Humanity and storytelling. History itself is a story. Social Studies and History were my favorite subjects in school. I would wait until all my homework was done to read those textbooks, curled up in my bed. Telling the stories of our past and present experience inspired me mainly as an actor but maybe in just the last year or so, I'm so motivated by looking to the future and using that hope of what an equal and inclusive world I want to live in, to also be what motivates my acting work going forward."
He opened up about life during the quarantine. "I've been so fine during the quarantine. I was on a network tv show working while some of my friends have just been getting by. My partner is home safe with me, we have our dog. My family in Chicago is safe and together. I am one of those, I'm fine during the quarantine. I miss live performances. I miss eating in restaurants and I miss traveling our planet. But we will again. Until then, my loved ones are safe and close. I have passwords to all my friends' streaming sites. I'm fine," he said.
On being an actor in the digital age, he said jokingly, "I am an actor in the digital age. I am comprised of binary code. I have been focus tested and beta tested. I am digital."
For young and aspiring actors, he said, "Acting is just one part of our work as storytellers and entertainers. Be diverse and not just a specialist or craftsman. Take a film class or seminar or YouTube deep dive. Write all the time. In a journal. I use Day One. Or Apple Notes. Don't limit yourself. And do not forget the power and truth that comes from live performance. Stage. Theatre. I miss it. It will be the fundamental storytelling medium that will last forever."
He complimented the photographic work of celebrity photographer Bjoern Kommerell. "I feel like I am channeling Bjoern tonight. He is such an artist and makes you look past any bullshit you have. I have shot with him plenty of times because he views the actor's headshot as art and then you start feeling the same way. Commercial meets fun and art. I just love him. He helped me lean into the clown and insanity that my physical face lends itself to. The photography session is always a conversation," he said.
Cheena defined the word success as follows: "Success for me means that I can afford my rent, go see theatre when I'm available, and dine in at all kinds of wonderful restaurants while doing the same job or career that is also my art. I guess the next level of success is owning a home. The whole American dream thing. And also hope that we can figure out that pesky healthcare for everyone thingy. That would be a success for us all, eh?"
He concluded about Connecting, "Give yourself two hours and binge our show on Peacock or Hulu. I am proud to be part of a diverse group of actors and writers that told a story about an equally diverse group of friends during the quarantine of 2020. We will never forget this year of our lives."
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