First it was law, then economics, and now, six years after graduation, Elliott Kashner has turned his attention to acting and is finding success. Kashner is the title character in Molotov Theatre Group’s production of Nightfall With Edgar Allan Poe, which opened Nov. 6 in Washington, D.C., and runs through Dec. 7.
The York, Penn., native credits his professors at George Mason University for steering him into theater, despite his earlier professional intentions. That decision has led to an active career on stage, in film and on TV, most notably as a recurring character on the Netflix hit “House of Cards.”
“I always knew I wanted to attend law school after graduation,” says the 2008 graduate, who even worked for a law firm when he was a George Mason student. But Kashner always had an interest in acting and auditioned for shows his senior year. The lure of the stage took hold.
“The closer I got to [law], the more I knew it wasn’t for me,” he says.
It was his mentors at Mason who helped him become a professional artist, he says, adding that the diversity of the student body provided shape and context for his education.
“Mason helped me understand the disciplines in acting, how to step out of yourself and understand someone else,” Kashner says.
His time with the school’s award-winning forensics team supplied him with fundamental skills he uses on stage and screen. And though his heart was in theater, he went to work after graduation as a financial analyst for three years.
Networking in the local theater community led him to the Keegan Theatre in Washington, as well as acting work in industrial films for military and federal agencies.
Molotov’s Nightfall With Edgar Allan Poe by Eric Coble explores the psyche of Poe in eerie, dreamlike dramatizations of “The Raven,” The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Performances are at the DC Arts Center, 2438 Eighth St. NW, in the Adams Morgan neighborhood. Showtime is at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $25, but every Thursday is “pay what you can” day.