You just finished doing Full Circle at A.R.T. Describe your character for us.
I'm playing the role of Heiner Muller, the real-life director of the Berliner Ensemble Theatre. Muller was a famous playwright and director, and very popular in Germany. He succeeded Bertolt Brecht. Full Circle is Charles Mee's adaptation of the many versions of the Chalk Circle fable, which dates back to 9th Century China. Mee's setting is East Germany, 1989, at the fall of the Berlin Wall. Muller was extremely intense and committed. He was able to tread a fine line to keep the Ensemble going even throughout the oppressive years in East Berlin--in real life and in the play. He was able to placate people in power while being provocative in the theater.
How did you research your role?
I had access to Muller's essays and plays, and did a fair amount of research. One story seemed life-defining to me: he was asked in a famous interview what his first memory was. His reply certainly showed me how sick and pathological the character could be. He remembered standing in his bedroom as a young boy, and through a crack in the door watching his father being beaten in front of his mother. He watched for a while, then went back to bed.
You do an amazing 20-minute monologue lying mostly in a fetal position in a little box. How do you come down after the intensity of the role?
The impact of the monologue and the last scene actually feels like completion to me. I feel satisfied at the end of the night. Worn out, but in a good way.
Any role you'd like to play?
The Thane from the Scottish play. I've played all around it--MacDuff and, in the old Boston Shakespeare Company's production, the Narrator. I wore all black and narrated. I called myself "neutral man."
If you could eat only one thing, what would it be?
Do you prefer a movie or a book?
Boxers or briefs?
Beer or champagne?
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