Alumnus Spencer Trinwith: Lynbrook drama to Hollywood talent

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Used with permission of Spencer Trinwith

Class of 2005 alumnus Spencer Trinwith is a rising actor and director who has appeared in works such as “Law & Order” and “Wonder Woman: 1984.”

Anusha Kothari

“Law & Order,” “Wonder Woman: 1984” and “King of K Street” are just a few of the works Class of 2005 alumnus Spencer Trinwith has lent his creative talents to as a rising actor and director. Trinwith’s optimism and determination have helped him take his talents from Lynbrook Homecoming skits and Drama Department productions to Hollywood and beyond. 

With both parents being actors, Trinwith was exposed to acting at an early age, but he had never explored the art form until high school. A Bay Area native, in the summer after his freshman year, Trinwith traveled to Washington, D.C. to act in plays with the Shakespeare Theater Company, including “Richard III.” Although he fondly remembers this experience as his first real introduction to acting, he credits his time in the Lynbrook Drama Department for truly inspiring his passion for acting, theater and cinema. 

As a sophomore, Trinwith starred in the department’s production of “Lend Me a Tenor,” an award-winning Broadway production known for its farce comedy. 

“There’s a lot of mistaken identities and missed connections. One person goes through this door, and the other person is looking for them and goes through another door, and then that person comes back and is like ‘where are they?’” Trinwith said. “I think that actually that play changed the way that people thought about theatre at Lynbrook because it was so entertaining and absurd, in the best way. Some of my friends’ parents who saw that play will still talk about it after all these years.”

This play was influential not only in strengthening the Drama Department’s significance at Lynbrook, but also in Trinwith’s acting career. 

“‘Lend Me a Tenor’ was such a special moment for me — feeling exhausted and exhilarated after all those performances and feeling the energy of the audience who was so engrossed in this hilarious play really sealed the deal for me in acting, film and the arts,” Trinwith said. 

‘Lend Me a Tenor’ was such a special moment for me — feeling exhausted and exhilarated after all those performances and feeling the energy of the audience who was so engrossed in this hilarious play really sealed the deal for me in acting, film and the arts.”

— Spencer Trinwith, Rising actor and director

Above all, Trinwith attributes his success in the performing arts field to former drama teacher Laurel Cohen, who retired in 2017. 

“Mrs. C was a huge inspiration for me and helped cultivate my talents while preparing me for the professional world,” Trinwith said. “She instilled in me a discipline and work ethic that I still carry to this day, and it is impossible for me to think about Lynbrook without thinking about Mrs. C.”

Following high school, Trinwith attended University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA), a performing arts conservatory, which gave him a foundation in a vast range of acting genres, from Molière and Shakespeare to musical theater and film. Furthermore, UNCSA introduced Trinwith to the Stanislavski method, a classic method acting technique which is widely-used by actors today. Although his time in acting school was grueling — 11-hour days were common — he feels fortunate to have trained in such an intensive and enriching program. With class sizes of about 25 students, the school ensured that his mentors and peers quickly became family. 

A member of the Screen Actors Guild, Trinwith has actively sought auditions since graduating from UNCSA, and is open to playing a wide variety of roles in any genre. 

“I found that seizing every opportunity is worth your while, no matter how big or small, because so much of this industry is based on referrals,” Trinwith said. “If you’re pleasant to work with, show up on time and work well, people will want to hire you again.” 

Trinwith’s carpe diem mindset has paid off, landing him roles in commercials, TV shows and films. Some of the TV shows in which he has appeared include “Law & Order” — considered a rite of passage for rising actors — “House of Cards,” “Veep” and “Homeland.” For his feature film debut, Trinwith acted as a waiter in the DC and Warner Bros movie “Wonder Woman: 1984,” which was filmed in 2018 and released in December 2020. In addition to his time working with star Gal Gadot and director Patty Jenkins, the sheer size of the production made acting in it one of Trinwith’s most memorable experiences to date. 

“If you could think of the entire Safeway complex on Miller Ave. and Bollinger Rd. as a set,  the entire block changed into something that was reminiscent of the 80s — that’s how big the production was,” Trinwith said. “Every single car that would pass and the way people dressed was appropriate for the period. Being on a stage where everything was decorated for the part was really cool, especially on that massive of a scale.” 

Most recently, Trinwith appeared in the 2021 film “Eye Without A Face,” which was picked up by HBO Max Europe. However, over the past few years, Trinwith has started to shift his focus toward directing. Although there was a time when Trinwith had at least two auditions per week, he now watches more auditions than he reads himself. As a director, Trinwith is motivated to create raw, vulnerable stories that highlight life’s shades of gray. 

With social media, everything is curated to look perfect. That inspires me to create very real, emotional characters — that doesn’t necessarily mean a drama, that’s comedy as well. I want to remind people that we’re all very complicated, flawed individuals and that’s okay.”

— Spencer Trinwith, Rising actor and director

“With social media, everything is curated to look perfect,” Trinwith said. “That inspires me to create very real, emotional characters — that doesn’t necessarily mean a drama, that’s comedy as well. I want to remind people that we’re all very complicated, flawed individuals and that’s okay.” 

Trinwith often uses his acting background to guide other actors, teaching new methods and procedures. For instance, he reminds his actors to listen and react to information as if it is the first time they are hearing it. 

“Even though in rehearsal, and as you’re working on your script, you’ve read your lines a thousand times, while you’re acting, it’s the first time you’re hearing information — how do you process that information, how does that information make you feel, and how does that determine how you give your line back?” Trinwith said.  “We cannot anticipate what we’re going to say to each other at all, because if we do, it’s not going to be that powerful.” 

Both as an actor and director, Trinwith prefers drawing from life experiences to relate to a character over method acting techniques, in which an actor physically experiences their character’s plight. For example, if asked to portray exhilaration or joy, he would recall how he felt immediately after performing “Lend Me A Tenor.” 

“A lot of acting is about being empathetic, which is why I think it’s such an important art form for everyone to dive into,” said Trinwith. “Truthfully, I think everyone has the potential of being a great actor, but it’s just about unlocking that emotion and empathy.”

Trinwith directing on the set of “The Zompocalypse Therapy Sessions,” a comedy horror movie which was filmed in 2020 with COVID restrictions. (Used with permission of Spencer Trinwith)

Though limited by pandemic restrictions, Trinwith is currently working on a film about Mixed Martial Arts fighting and an adaptation of Medusa. In 2020, he directed a comedy horror movie titled “The Zompocalypse Therapy Sessions,” which was filmed with social distancing and other COVID precautions. In the future, he hopes to produce a variety of films and commercials and have his own production company.

While Trinwith’s journey as an actor has been unconventional and at times uncertain, his resilience and commitment to his art have allowed him to persevere. 

“You have to understand and accept that some people just won’t get why you’re in an unconventional profession, and that’s okay,” Trinwith said. “Diversity is what makes our world so rich — if we were all engineers, this would be a very dull world; if we were all actors, this would be a very dull world.  We’re all different, we all have different interests, and I like that about the world.”