Garity trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a film career; he's had leads in Rafael Zelinski's Bohemia and in the short film Solomon Bernstein's Bathroom. Redford got her B.A.. in Theatre Arts at SFSU, and also studied--among other places--at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, ACT, Circle Rep, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Her film credits include Casanova Falling, and Of Love and Fantasy, and she's also done a lot of stage work.
I spoke with both of these young actors about the joys and frustrations of live theater, their training, and their famous folks just prior to a recent performance.
TM: Amy, I saw The Messenger on the night of Alan Nebelthau's first performance. That must have been a challenge for you all.
REDFORD: It was. When an actor has a script in his hand, it's really difficult--but it was actually kind of exciting, because how often do you have that kind of a challenge? We had been rehearsing the play for a while, and we'd gotten into a certain rhythm. When you get the opportunity to work with a new actor who has a different take on things, it keeps you on your toes. You have to adjust to the energy of the new person. And, if they have book in their hands, you have to be extra focused and attentive.
TM: Can you talk to me a little about acting in movies as compared to theater work?
REDFORD: Most actors I know relish the opportunity to go back and forth between stage and film. I think theater keeps you more humble in a lot of ways; you're not quite as precious. In film, you tend to be coddled a lot. Theater is more intimate, and that intimacy can be wonderful. Television is another great training ground.
TM: I'm told that you were just on The Sopranos.
REDFORD: Yes. It was a very small part--but I would have walked on and off carrying a box of Kleenex, because I love those actors and I love the show. I played an E.R. doctor who tells Tony Soprano that he should lose some weight. James Gandolfini and Edie Falco both have a long legacy of work on the stage; they're generous, terrific, crafted actors.
TM: What was it like studying at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art?
REDFORD: I really loved it a lot. It was kind of a boot camp for actors, in many ways; being able to go out to the theater every night for five pounds makes a huge difference in your education. LAMDA is not a place to go to figure out if you want to act, because they're not going to hold your hand. It's a place to pick up tools. They're not going to hold your hand and help you negotiate your emotions; it's all about the text and enunciation, and I found that refreshing. Also, the sense of history you get just by walking down one of the streets in London is amazing, especially if you're studying classical acting. But LAMDA is a great base camp for any actor, because you can apply the lessons you learn there to contemporary texts. Just trust the words, and they'll lead you to where you need to go.
TM: What has been your father's attitude toward your career?
REDFORD: It's pretty much the attitude of most parents towards their children's careers: fear mixed with encouragement. I really had to prove to myself why I chose acting, what my motives were. Now that I have just a little bit of ground under my feet, he's been very encouraging. This is where I'm at right now, and it makes me happy.
TM: Even though it's one of the most clichéd questions in history, I should ask if you think your family name and connections have helped or hindered your career?
REDFORD: Both. It can be hurtful, because people sometimes make assumptions about you before you step into a room. I've probably gotten through a lot more doors than I would have if I didn't have the name, but what you do once you get through the door is another question.
TM: How did get involved with The Messenger?
REDFORD: I did a reading a while ago. Then they called me when the production was going to happen, and I auditioned. The normal course of events.
TM: The identity of the messenger character in the play is somewhat murky. I wasn't sure about him...
REDFORD: I don't think you're supposed to be sure; it's purposefully ambiguous. I think we all have our interpretations about a lot of stuff in the play. You'll have to make your own decisions!
TM: Career-wise, what else have you been up to lately?
REDFORD: I had another small part in a new TV series, Wonderland. Patricia Clarkson and Ted Levine are in it; these are actors to aspire to. And the show has good writing. I'm also an artist in residence at Mabou Mines, helping to create a piece for them. That's the joy of my life at the moment.