Eric Bogosian Makes Time
The accomplished playwright makes his Broadway acting debut in Donald Margulies' gripping new play Time Stands Still.
THEATERMANIA: It's taking a long time for you to make your Broadway acting debut. What was the reason?
ERIC BOGOSIAN: I've wanted to get more involved with plays, but there has been the simple issue of working at night. I wasn't able to do that until my sons were old enough. That bridge was crossed this summer, so now there's no reason why I can't be in a theater every night, which is what I love to do.
TM: Did you think that taking this part would mean forgoing TV and movie jobs?
EB: No, I don't care about that stuff. I'm in my own little world and don't think of myself as an actor for hire so much. I am to some degree, but I try to make everything I do an unusual or somehow exceptional project in some way. I wanted to work with Daniel Sullivan, who's one of the best directors in the business, and I knew that working with Laura would bring my game up a notch. To my mind, she's one of the finest dramatic actresses out there today.
TM: Do you consider the role of Richard a departure from other parts you've played?
EB: This role breaks new ground for me. Many actors like to play roles that are close to themselves. I've made a career of playing characters that are completely unlike myself. Sometimes people see the nasty guys I play on stage or screen and think that's what I'm like. Richard is the closest to myself I've ever played. As I said to Alicia the other night as we stepped off stage, I'm doing something in this role that I don't think I've ever done before and she knew what it was. She said "Smile?"
EB: Oh yeah, the way he is sort of superior to the female characters. I would never in a million years call a woman "baby" or any of the other things he says. My relationship with my wife Jo [Bonney] is nothing like that -- we've been together a long time and we're like colleagues. Richard is the kind of guy who's been a bachelor for a long time and now he's found this young wonderful girlfriend. It's not that I don't understand but I don't believe that would happen for me. Alicia and I are both in long-term marriages and understand that when you devote yourself to a marriage you take it with the pluses and the minuses, and that fits in with the theme of the play.
EB: Personally I like to work hard, because that's what I think makes great results, and I was very pleased to see that my castmates were also people who like to work that way. Sometimes in a cast, there will be actors who think they are such geniuses that they don't have to do the leg work. But this is a company where two hours before every show everyone is in their dressing room working and getting ready which, to my mind, is the way you should do it. We knew a couple of weeks in that we were ahead of schedule and by the time we hit dress rehearsal we had already run the play a number of times. You know what the most horrible thing is in the theater? It's that we have this thing called an opening, and on or around that day the play will be judged. But it's very often a little while after that day that you find new things and you wish the critics would have seen it later. In this case, though, I feel like we're ready.