About the Actors by the Actors
Donald Rees, Sean Curley and Nir Guzinski talk ART
DONALD: Welcome to a unique interview between the cast members of Brave New Productions 'ART'. My name is Donald Rees and I'm here with Sean Curley and Nir Guzinski to talk about the show which opens February 28th at Theatre Ste Catherine. We seem to have such great conversations when the three of us are together, and although there have been lots of promo for the show, we haven’t had a chance to do any of it together. We already know the best questions to ask each other, so let’s start at the beginning:
How did all of this get started? Do you guys remember how you initially approached the project?
SEAN: Well, it was Donald who approached me with an idea for the next project following The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later. I brought up a couple of plays that I thought would be fun to put up, both are written by John Patrick Shanley; 'Where's My Money' and 'Psychopathia Sexualis.' While he was busy reading those plays, he had suggested I take a look at 'ART,' which eventually won out over the others. By then I already knew which character I was wanted to portray.
DONALD: That's right. Sean is full of suggestions. Once he and Clarisse Desire (our make-up artist for Callistro The Great) cornered me and tried to persuade me that Brave New Productions next play should be a futuristic war piece. They almost had me convinced, but then Sean fell off the stage and somehow the subject was never touched upon again. I really wanted to do Psychpathia Sexualis. That's the one with the socks right? I was trying to figure out a way to do both Art and that one. I remember Sean got back to me and said he wanted to take on Yvan and I was a bit shocked. Only because Yvan has a two page monologue. I still want to do Psychopathia Sexualis. There's just too many projects I'd like for us to do together. If only we had more (any) funding. We (BNP) don't normally go around letting people pick their roles, but Sean was just so incredible in last years Callistro The Great (unbelievably professional and an all around joy to work with) that a joyous exception was made.
SEAN: Hey 1984 is still on the table as far as I'm concerned, I just haven't located a script. And as far as falling off the stage goes, I spoke to some audience members following the show and the majority of the comments hinted that it looked part of the performance....that's all I gotta say about that.
NIR: It was during our drive to our Toronto presentation of The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later that I found out about Brave New Productions next project: ‘ART’. While driving with Emma, Sean and Kenny Wong, I overheard that auditions were being held for one character in this three man show! Emma had hinted that they were looking for a fresh new face.. and as my wrinkly face had just appeared in their last two plays... I assumed I had to let this one go! But at the Laramie wrap/cast party, a tipsy Donald approached me and insisted I audition! ... So i did! Coming into the audition i have to admit I was pretty nervous, but auditioning alongside Sean and Donald made it much more comfortable! And to my surprise, my wrinkled face became fresh again and I was offered the role of Marc!! I was thrilled to portray such an obnoxious, egotistical, pompous character, being such a prick myself, it was right up my alley!! ... In all seriousness, I was looking forward to the challenge of playing a very different personality than my own, and in a comedy with two other incredibly talented, hilarious individuals!
DONALD: I wasn't tipsy when I said you should audition Nir, I was stone cold drunk. I was trying to get Emma up on a speaker to dance with me. Moral of the story : great things happen when you drink. Remember that children. Those auditions were really hard. There are some extremely talented actors in this city.
DONALD: What about you Sean?
SEAN: The best answer to my own question would be that I am my own motivation. Let's face it, I am Yvan and I only need to ask myself how I would respond in any given situation knowing the kind of experiences I've had. Naturally, I can't say that about every single scene, this is where some good direction comes in handy. But for the most part, Yvan reminds me so much of myself that I never really needed any external sources to look to.
DONALD: It's true. Though he talks a lot more than you do. You're generally quite reserved. I'm working on that. Now - let me ask you two, how is working on a Brave New Production different from other productions? Sean this is your 4th and Nir this is your 3rd (my 10th) so something must be good about the experience?
NIR: I have to say that working with Brave New Productions is a hell of an experience! Every production is unique and provides me with incredible learning experiences. With Brave New Productions I have been extremely lucky to have had and continue to have the ability to perform with such talented actors, directors and crew! Its also been very humbling to work on such inspiring, heartfelt and challenging plays, which have helped me grow, not only as an actor but as an individual! The people at Brave New Productions make the experience so enjoyable. Its like, the moment you walk into an audition, its like your meeting new friends. Its been an incredible ride and i'm definitely looking forward to what comes next!
SEAN: I can say that within Brave New Productions I've made some long lasting friendships, possibly even lifelong friendships, although I'm not one to make predictions about the future, hehe That coupled with a certain degree of professionalism makes for a good working environment. In my experiences outside of BNP the professionalism was still there, but my general feeling was that we were just actors working together for a limited time. After the final curtain fall, we all went our separate ways. It's been really fun working on various Brave New Productions' because I got the feeling that we were all in this together, we made a commitment as individuals and as a group to do what we love, and that is to be good story tellers ...money be damned!
NIR: What? Money?? One can make money out of this art form?
DONALD: Hopefully, very soon, we’ll all make money doing what we love. And Sean that's exactly what I hoped was the difference. Okay, any final questions? Anything else you wanna say before we wrap this up?
SEAN: I hope that the seeds I've planted in BNP will contribute to a successful, fruitful career. Dare I be presumptuous and say that many of my colleagues probably feel the same way about their own lives. Of course only they can truly speak for themselves.
NIR: Let's go make some Art !
DONALD: Well, that's it. An interview from the actors by the actors, because we don’t receive nearly enough attention being on-stage night after night. ART is playing this week at Theatre Ste Catherine. Show times are available at http://www.bravenewproductions.com/art
Read also director David Reudelhuber's first-person piece on preparing the production