Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Director/Cast Interview: Brandon Walker on A LIE OF THE MIND

Your Name:
Brandon Walker

Role in this production:
Jake / Director

What's been your favorite role, to date?
Warren in THIS IS OUR YOUTH.  It's a role I never played.  But I played Dennis in a small production in San Diego, and I spent several years preparing to play Warren after I came to terms with myself and realized that I was never the definition of cool.  I was the kid who tried too hard.  I was Warren.  I understand him in my bones and my blood.  I rehearsed and read with all sorts of people.  I had a couple of different productions of the show over the last six years that never got off the ground for one reason or another.  I finally gave up after we didn't get the rights for it.  It was supposed to be The Seeing Place's second production.  So...Warren joins the list of roles that got away.  He's right up there with Hally in MASTER HAROLD...AND THE BOYS and Kostya in THE SEAGULL.  I just got too old too quickly.  Ah well.

What's the wackiest experience you've ever had onstage?
Probably when I had to run offstage and pee in a trash can during the 3rd scene in DANNY AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA.  I'd had way too much coffee before the show, a pitcher of "beer" and a bottle of "wine" onstage, and we were up there for 90 minutes straight.  I realized I had to pee after about 30 minutes.  And by about 80 minutes, it was a full on emergency. 

What's been the most challenging thing about preparing for this role?
Having to come to terms with the fact that I am not 100% different from Jake.  I haven't beaten anyone, no.  But I'm more volatile than I'd like to admit - even to myself.  I think that all of us have been a little abusive in one way or another, and we like to pretend we're better than that.  And we strive to be better...but it doesn't make the time we went just a little too far any more okay.

What's been the most exciting thing about the rehearsal process?
Watching all of my fellow actors come to life.  It doesn't always happen.  But everyone is doing some very special work.  And it's really exciting to play with them all onstage.

What parts of yourself are similar to the character?
I wasn't initially intending to play Jake.  But I'm glad that I did.  I think the role requires a very particular kind of actor.  On the outside, it seems like Jake needs to be a typical abuser - whatever that means.  For some, it's a rough guy.  But as I've done my research, there is no type.  That's why this play is beautiful.  We see eight people deal with an abusive event.  We get all sides of it.  Most importantly, Jake is a guy who went too far.  He crossed the line.  His emotions got the best of him.  And that's been the story of his life.  And that's the story of mine, too.  As Lorraine (and my own mother) would say, I'm an "over-emotional boy".  Always have been.  I don't mean to say that I feel things any more deeply than anyone else.  But me and Jake are a pair of Drama Queens.  We're always in a state of crisis.  My motto for much of my life can be summed up in Albert Camus' advice to "Live to the point of tears."  So...I guess the real question is:  What parts of myself are different? 

What's next for you (with The Seeing Place, or other)?
Hamlet.  I know, right?  Kill me now!  :O)

A LIE OF THE MIND runs March 1-17, 2013
Wed-Sat at 7pm;  Sat & Sun at 2pm, in New York City.
For tickets, click here.

For more info about The Seeing Place, click here.
To donate (it's a worthy cause!), click here.

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