Friday, December 7, 2012

From the Rehearsal Room: Brandon Walker as "Beane"

As a special feature, we're excited to introduce you to our cast members and their experiences creating the world of LOVE SONG. 

LOVE SONG runs through December 9 - Wed-Sat at 8pm and Sat-Sun at 2pm. For tickets and information, click here

Introducing: Brandon Walker, who's playing Beane in LOVE SONG. Here is his first-hand account of the rehearsal process. 

This has been a wild process.

First of all, it's been wonderful working with Erin Cronican as a director. Often times, I don't quite get to let go as an actor in rehearsals, because I am either directing myself or I am guiding another director through our process. So, it was a real joy to have that freedom in rehearsals, as she's worked this way so many times.

Secondly, I love this play. But it is not an easy play to do. It seems like it's going to be easy on the page; however, it's very poetic, and it's difficult to get underneath the words to the situation. One scene even alluded us until well into performances - the love scene between Molly and Beane. I kept trying to address the scene with my work, and it just kept falling flat, somehow. It would get too sexual or too weird. It's a love scene, but there's a lot of over-poetic language, and a lot of potty humor, too. It's very odd. Finally, Erin and I discussed the idea that it might be akin to a high school date. One night, I just decided to go hogwild and create the story with the objects in the room, using creative work that makes me sheepish - and miraculously, it worked wonders. And that's just ONE example.

Lastly, Beane is such an extreme character in all of his incarnations throughout the play, and I couldn't play the scenes with any logic by simply putting myself into the situation that seemed to be happening on the page. For instance, he's depressed (to the point that he appears to have Asperger's Syndrome) in the beginning of the play, and he really doesn't respond to regular stimulus. I would continually live through the situation and find that I was too sensitive - and then end up going down some rabbit hole which took us away from the story of the play. Later, he's not just hungry, but rather enjoying life as if for the first time. It seemed to me and to Erin that Beane becomes overly-sensualized - which took a while to actually get my body to DO. And then at the end of the first act, he's not just in a happy mood, but ON TOP OF THE WORLD.

Basically, these are the things that make LOVE SONG a fantastical comedy, and they are important to the storytelling. I believe this is the first time that I was really able to exercise my craft to create these tall-tale situations. Rather than just acting BIGGER, I pushed my creative work to the Nth Degree. From everything I've learned from my teacher, David Gideon, Comedy is Reality Extended. So, let's say that I were turned on in a scene, and imagining that someone were licking me sensually in order to get my imagination engaged. If I were playing a true Comedy, I would want to create TEN PEOPLE licking me. I've basically done just that all over the play. 

I'm not going to go into any more specifics with regard to this play, because how I do what I do on a stage isn't the audience's concern. You come to see the story. Ideally, you won't even notice the acting. Best case scenario is that you simply believe what we're doing. But it's been really great to stretch my acting muscles in a way I am not normally able to on stage.


Brandon Walker - As an actor in New York: Committed (Dooky) - Living Image Arts; Violating Uncle Piggy (Investigator) - Gallery Players; Love's Labours Lost (Dull) - ATA. Regional: West of the 5 (Charles) - La Jolla Playhouse; Androcles and the Lion (Lelio) - Old Globe; And A Nightingale Sang (Eric Parker) - Barnstormers; A Moon for the Misbegotten (Mike Hogan), The Tempest (Caliban) - North Coast Rep; A Christmas Carol (Dick Wilkins) - Sierra Rep; Two Gentlemen of Verona (Proteus), Playboy of the Western World (Shawn Keogh) - New Village Arts; Marat/Sade (Duperret) - ion Theater; Dog Act (Bud) - Moxie Theatre; This Is Our Youth (Dennis) - Life Out Loud; Romeo and Juliet (Romeo), Titus Andronicus (Saturninus), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Puck), Twelfth Night (Orsino), Measure for Measure (Pompey/Claudio), 'Tis Pity She's A Whore (Giovanni), Taming of the Shrew (Hortensio), The Tempest (Trinculo), Othello (Lodovico), Coliolanus (Brutus), Hamlet (Horatio) - Poor Players). As a Director: A Midsummer Night's Dream (Poor Players), and This Is Our Youth (Life Out Loud). As a composer: Taming of the Shrew (Poor Players).Training: David Gideon. Member AEA.


  1. Thanks for sharing this, Brandon. The play really hangs together, however unusual its content. I look to seeing it again at the last performance on Sunday.

  2. As an actor, the first I thing I do while watching a play, for better or worse, is be on the lookout for technique. It allows me to either breathe a sigh of relief, that the work I'm about to see will have at least some basis in "good acting" or just the opposite. Watching LOVE SONG, I was acutely aware of the difficulty of the play and the nuance needed to keep the play moving while telling the story. Each time I saw the show, the nuance grew and grew until it finally became life last night. I was not observing technique or acting, but just honest living. It was a fantastic experience and I am so glad I got to experience it.

  3. I enjoyed hearing about the process you had to go through with Beane. Some of my favorite moments from backstage are getting to hear Beane's turn-around, barging into Joan and Harry's apartment to proselytize about wonder and eat them out of house and home. When he begins falling head over heels with life. And that's where Kolvenbach's lines truly shine, giving his actors such freedom to play. I'm glad you got this experience to really stretch your wings and your work. Congrats!

  4. Not an easy play, a less easy role! But where is the thrill of accomplishing something easy! SPT and you did accomplish something.... a good production and it took all of your great efforts to make that haooen! Yay for you.... see you Sunday.

  5. It was a pleasure to work with you too.

  6. Thank you for all of your kind words - it was a pleasure working with you as your director as well. :)

  7. So i saw the first half of the show early in the run, and the second half later in the run. When I found out that using the props to tell the story was discovered in the process, I was blown away. That seemed like something that was in the script's stage directions, it worked so well! This just goes to show that when organic theater shines, it shines bright.

  8. It was great to get to see this happen onstage. I feel our jobs as actors is to be fully connected to our environment onstage. I would like to think that your discoveries for this character can be applied to other pieces after this one. You are right in that a "happy mood" is a different texture than "on top of the world". Plays are usually about a character or group of characters at a very important point in their life (lives) or realization, so "on top of the world" is something much richer and deeper than just a mood and is something much more tangible that people can connect to when an actor tells a story. It is much more vivid and real. All plays should be approached this way. Rather than playing a mood, there is a definite clarity in a bold, meaningful choice.


We're so passionate about creating a conversation in our community - thank you for leaving your thoughts!