Theater professor has guest appearance on History Channel sci-fi show

David Mackay, assistant professor of theater, in his office. Mackay made a guest appearance on the second episode of the second season of the History Channel's "Project Blue Book." (Sreenikhil Keshamoni | Collegian Media Group)

Assistant professor of theater David Mackay made a guest appearance on the second episode of the second season of the History Channel’s “Project Blue Book” on Jan. 28 — the episode can be viewed online.

Mackay played a mortician in Roswell, New Mexico, during the Cold War and atomic era. “Project Blue Book” is about two men, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, played by Michael Malarkey, and his partner Air Force Capt. Michael Quinn, portrayed by Aiden Gillen. Hynek and Quinn are given a task from the United States Air Force to investigate mysterious UFO sightings and try to debunk them with science.

Before coming to Kansas State, Mackay wrote plays, acted and directed in Vancouver, British Colombia, where the show was filmed.

Since he was from Vancouver and spent his summers there, Mackay had an agent who helped him get the role.

“Vancouver has a predominant TV and film industry going back to X-Files, and even before that,” Mackay said.

He said it was his first audition in a while.

“You go in and audition, you see a bunch of people that look like you,” Mackay said. “Everyone’s trying to get the role. I was fortunate enough to get it.”

For this show, science cannot always fully explain many of the incidents that take place. A body is delivered to Mackay’s character that he identifies as non-human while he becomes suspicious of Hynek and Quinn.

“Project Blue Book” is based off of the real Project Blue Book. The real investigation ran from 1952 until 1962, where the executive director David O’Leary stated that out of the 12,000 UFO sightings, 700 were unexplained. Famous examples from “Project Blue Book” include the Roswell incident, which was a reported UFO crash, and Area 51.

Mackay spent three days shooting over the span of two to three weeks for the episode.

“To get a job like that and work professionally and work with some really amazing people in performance and backstage was exciting,” Mackay said.

Mackay said he is happy to use the experience in an Acting on Camera class he teaches.

In teaching the acting classes, Mackay tells his students to be prepared and ready to go, as there can be lots of sitting around on the job.

“The excitement around it and the excitement of telling people, yes that’s fun, but more importantly, I think for my students, the thing that I stress is that your work ethic is what gets you the work and it’s why people want to work with you again —because your easy to work with and you do the work,” he said.

Further on, Mackay plans to seek more acting jobs that he can audition for and enjoy doing.

The History Channel series airs at 9 p.m. CST on Tuesdays.