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"Randy Harrison Interview: Ibsen's Ghosts at Berkshire Theatre Festival" (Aug 2009)

Randy Harrison Interview: Ibsen's Ghosts at Berkshire Theatre Festival
The Actor Talks About Renewing a Classic
Posted by Larry Murray on berkshirefinearts.com; August 5,2009.

Randy Harrison outside the rehearsal studio. Larry Murray photo.

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To explore what was going on, we headed down to Stockbridge to talk again (2008 Interview) with actor Randy Harrison (see bio below). The rehearsal studios at BTF are very simple, even primitive. They are nestled into a wooded lot that also contains the "camp" kitchen where the actors and apprentices eat their simple meals. The sun was out at last, and with it at his back, through the battered old screen door came Harrison, making a beeline for the tape recorder and me. He was all smiles, and we chatted amiably before settling into what would be a serious discussion.

The Berkshire Theatre Festival has slowly become his regular summer home. The Festival is an artistic and spiritual resource where he retreats to try new things and challenge himself. "It is all of those things to me, plus I get a lot of new opportunities here," he said happily.

Opportunities like playing the son Oswald in Ghosts for the first time. In the play his mother, Mrs. Alving (Dillon), is keeping secrets from him, worsened by horrible advice from a puritanical preacher, Manders (Adkins), and complicated by an infatuation with the maid Regina (Franklin) and her devious father, Engstrand (Epstein). Into this household returns the more worldly Oswald, who is mortally ill. The character is a contradiction, someone who is full of life but facing a death sentence. I wondered just how Harrison was playing the son, as someone with vitality, or as a gloomy Gus.

"That's one of the interesting aspects," Harrison answers, "Oswald talks so much about the joy of life, and that's reflected in his painting. But it is this same vitality that is so much a part of him that killed his father. His dad was not able to express himself like that." In the play it is clear that Mr. Alving was a frustrated man who simply had no outlet to express his own joie de vivre in that repressive society.

"His mother says that for all his life his father was stuck in this gloomy town, one completely devoid of real passion and that there was nothing but business and social status." Back then it was all a matter of simply keeping up appearances, of conforming to the rigid strictures of the Victorian era. "Yes, and so the father self-destructed." But because Oswald had his painting, "He was also able to have a great deal of vitality and life."

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@темы: 2009, Ghosts, theatre


From the BTF Newsletter (Aug 2009)

From the BTF Newsletter (Aug 2009)
Randy Harrison
Osvald in Ghosts

Randy Harrison knew he wanted to be an actor from the first time he saw a play. When he was ten he began acting in community theatre and hasn't stopped since. At eighteen he went to the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and received a BFA in theatre. After graduating, he continued his training in New York City over the next five years by taking classes and workshops. He studied with Ron Van Lieu, who now runs the Yale School of Drama, and Siti Company, where he learned Suzuki.

This is Randy's fifth season with BTF. His first show was Equus, back in 2005. "I was going crazy in New York, I was like why am I still in New York; I need to be in the beautiful Berkshires." He enjoys coming back to the Berkshires because he gets to work with familiar faces and friends. In fact, in Ghosts he knew everybody in the cast and had worked with everyone before except one. BTF creates "such an amazing and supportive environment to be an artist in."

Q & A:

~ What is your dream role to play?
I don't have a dream role. I will tell you that the roles I have played here are some of the best that I have ever played. For me it has always been about working on plays by particular writers, more than the roles themselves. I enjoy being able to work on plays by writers that I admire and love. The fact that I have worked on Shaw, Ibsen, and Beckett here is amazing. I do want to play Uncle Vanya when I am an older man, but it isn't something I will play anytime soon.

~Random fact about yourself?
I have been fired from every job besides acting that I have had. I got fired from waiting tables, being a bag boy, temping at a bunch of different companies, and being a caterer. I can't do anything else but act.

@темы: 2009, Ghosts, theatre


"Randy Harrison Talks About Waiting for Godot" (July 2008)

Randy Harrison Talks About Waiting for Godot
Extended Rehearsals Underway at Berkshire Theatre Festival

Posted by Larry Murray on berkshirefinearts.com; July 21, 2008.

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The Interview

LM: Glad to see you back in the Berkshires. How are the rehearsals going?

RH: I've been here for four summers now, and I love it. I feel so lucky to be able to spend time here.

We've had rehearsals underway for two and a half weeks now. I never worked on Beckett before. I love Beckett, so I was really excited to have the opportunity to work on a Beckett play.

LM: Did you bring any Beckett baggage with you?

RH: Nothing much beyond a love of it.

LM: The play can be a daunting challenge.

RH: I didn't feel scared really, I just felt really, really excited about it. There's so much academic stuff, so much to study and think about it, and I just tried to scrape it all away and start fresh.

LM: They say that Bert Lahr (who was in the original Waiting for Godot) didn't understand a line of what he was saying.

RH: I don't think you necessary need to. I just tried to be with the director (Anders Cato) and the sсript as I see it. It grows for me, and I think for all of us, every time we say it out loud. I worked with Anders last year on Mrs. Warren's Profession and it is great to have him at the helm again.

LM: So how did it come to be that you got Lucky?

RH: One day Kate Maguire just asked me on the phone. And I knew she had been thinking about doing it. She just loves Beckett and she managed to get a grant for some extra rehearsal time.

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@темы: theatre, Waiting for Godot, 2008


"A Tale of Two Toms" (January 2007)

A Tale of Two Toms

Randy Harrison and Bill McCallum share the plum role of Tom Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie at the Guthrie.

Posted by Michael Portantiere on theatermania.com; Jan 23, 2007.

Randy Harrison in The Glass Menagerie
(© T. Charles Erickson)

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Harrison, whose stage credits include the Berkshire Theatre Festival productions of Amadeus and Equus, is delighted to have a go at Tom. "I've been in love with this play since I was a young teen," he says. "They did it at my high school in Georgia, but I didn't get cast. That production was the only one I've ever seen -- but the play is so brilliantly written that, when you read it, you immediately understand what the characters are experiencing and fighting for. And it's so fluid that it feels so different every time we run it. I'm excited that we have a nice, long run, because it's going to be great to live in this play for a while."

Of the two-Tom concept, Harrison remarks: "It's fascinating, and I definitely think certain things about the sсript are illuminated that aren't always clear when it's done as written. Bill McCallum and I look a lot alike, and we have a few moments of simultaneous speech to help tie us together. There are also moments when he's observing the action. I think the audience is more aware that the play is this person's memory, and that there's some distance between where is now and what he's remembering."

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@темы: 2007, The Glass Menagerie, theatre


'Randy Harrison's Tennessee Waltz' (Lavender, January 2007)

Splendor in the Glass
Randy Harrison’s Tennessee Waltz


In 1944, master gay playwright Tennessee Williams rocked American theater and society with The Glass Menagerie. Its poetic, yet unsettlingly candid, view of the Wingfields, a family abandoned by their father and husband, now ranks as one of the towering achievements of 20th-Century American drama.

The Glass Menagerie is especially relevant in 2007, given the awareness of the American public about single parents battling rocky economic times. Moreover, in subtle ways, this classic, which was inspired by Williams’s own personal experiences, codifies the playwright’s struggle with his homosexual orientation.

It’s fitting that the current Guthrie Theater revival features Queer as Folk star Randy Harrison as protagonist Tom. Indeed, given the sensitivity he revealed in that landmark television series, Harrison’s casting seems nothing less than ideal. If Williams’s spirit is out there peeking in on us, he must be ecstatic that Harrison essentially is playing him.

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обложка, сканы

@темы: theatre, The Glass Menagerie, 2007


'Show has fans from queer and far' (October 2004)

Show has fans from queer and far
Posted by Eleanor Sprawson; Sydney Daily Telegraph; October 27, 2004.

Randy Harrison will always have Paris, but it will never be particularly Parisien. The American star of SBS’s cult hit, Queer as Folk, went to the French capital recently seeking his fix of culture and cafes – and instead found Australians.

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While the series which follows the lives and loves of a group of gay friends living in Pittsbugh started off on SBS with a largely gay audience, viewership has broadened as more and more viewers find themselves addicted to an adult drama with a sense of humour.

“It’s huge with middle-aged women in Australia, which is the case here too. I think they relate to Debbie,” he says. Played by Sharon Gless, who is best known for her role as Cagney in Cagney and Lacey, Justin’s waitress mother, Debbie, has been getting more and more storylines as the show goes beyond its initial in-your-face celebration of gay culture.

Harrison says that all the actors have been relishing the show more and more now that it has moved beyond its flag-waving.

“The controversy surrounding the sexuality and all of that was definitely there at the beginning but that’s died down, which is comforting,” he says. “Having said that, the focus of so much of the fourth season are things that have very much to do with gay politics in the States, that’s definitely the spine of the show. In fact they’re having trouble writing it fast enough because as they’re writing things are happening and laws are changing.

“So, you know, no matter how fast we go it’s probably going to be a little outdated by the time it airs.”

@темы: 2004


'Queer As Folk star to visit Columbus June 12' (June 2004)

'Queer As Folk’ star to visit Columbus June 12
Posted By Lisa K. Zellner on outlooknews.com; June 2004.

Randy Harrison likes the realness of his New York life in lower Manhattan. He hates the superficiality of Los Angeles. And he doesn’t personally know anyone in real life who is like his character on Showtime’s hit series Queer as Folk.

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This season, QAF’s fourth, Harrison’s character Justin has turned from taking a stand against discrimination to a more vigilante approach with a group the show calls the Pink Posse.

“That was really hard for me to do,” Harrison said. “Justin is always such a very rational character, very empathetic and moral, for the lack of a better word. But I sort of related to it because I understand where the character was coming from.

“I’ve never had that kind of anger. I’ve never been bashed. But the writers are mostly older gay men in their 60s and what they faced is drastically different than what I have faced personally,” he said. ‘I think that kind of anger prevents some gay people from reaching out to people who could potentially be our supporters. There’s a sort of self-segregation that comes from that kind of anger that can turn into hating straight people, which is so counter productive.

“That was so hard to play because it’s not at all where I come from. I’ve been out of the closet since I was 15. It was not that much of a big thing to me.”

@темы: 2004


'Randy Harrison discusses the ins and outs of his ‘QAF’ role' (April 2004)

Justin time: Randy Harrison discusses the ins and outs of his ‘QAF’ role
Posted by Loann Halden on twnonline.org; April 2004.

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"I think the hardest thing for me is – I’ve never had any problem being out and I love talking about gay issues and stuff – but because I came out at the same time that I became known as this character, people have such a hard time differentiating me from Justin and my story from Justin’s, which can become frustrating because sometimes people are asking me about things like: ‘How did it feel when Brian showed up at your prom?’ " Harrison says.

"You’re like, ‘You’re talking about Justin. How did I feel playing that part or how do I think Justin felt?’ You feel like you’re picking over someone’s semantics when you correct them, but it’s a really significant thing.

"It’s also strange to represent something that isn’t necessarily yourself, and people are always going to associate my opinion about a gay issue with whatever it seems the opinion of ‘Queer of Folk’ is on that issue," he adds. "But I’m actually really glad that I’m a part of something that does talk about issues. I feel like we were the first show that really showed gay sexuality on television. As trashy as it can potentially get, it is a significant thing to occur and to now exist. I’m really glad about that. I would have rather been doing this than practically any other TV series – except for a few."

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@темы: 2004


'Harrison Gets Wicked in Broadway Debut' (June 2004)

Harrison Gets Wicked in Broadway Debut
Posted by Andrew Gans on playbill.com; June 22, 2004.

Wicked welcomes "Queer as Folk" star Randy Harrison to the land of Oz

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Through July 25, Harrison can be seen as munchkin Boq, the role created on Broadway by Christopher Fitzgerald, who will return to the part after a stint at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Though Wicked marks Harrison's Broadway debut, the openly gay actor is no stranger to the musical theatre.

A graduate of the University of Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music, Harrison has appeared in productions of Grease, Anything Goes and West Side Story and received his Equity card after a production of 1776 at the St. Louis Muny Theatre. Harrison admits, however, that he has purposefully avoided musicals for the past few years. "I was doing so many musicals I got sort of frustrated with [them] and wanted to do something different," Harrison said a week before his Wicked debut. "By the time I graduated [from the Conservatory of Music], I was like, 'I gotta do something different for awhile' because I didn't want to be trapped in musical theatre. But now it's been five years since I've done a musical, and I'm really excited to go back."

Wicked marks Harrison's third New York stage outing. Having made his Off-Broadway debut in the MCC production of A Letter from Ethel Kennedy, he was also a part of Sophie Rand's dark comedy Deviant at the 2002 New York International Fringe Festival. Replacing an actor in a big Broadway musical, however, poses its own set of challenges. Unlike the four-to-six-week rehearsal period that actors enjoy before a show opens, replacement actors have comparatively little time to shape their performance. "I think I'll go in having had about six or seven rehearsals [plus] watching the show a lot," said Harrison. "It's plenty of time to learn it, though, at least for this part. I know where I stand and where I go and when I say what I say, but I'll never really have the opportunity to work with the people I'm going to be onstage with until I'm onstage with them."

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@темы: wicked, theatre, 2004


'Queer As Folk' star Randy Harrison hits the stage (May 2002)

'Queer As Folk' star Randy Harrison hits the stage
By Mark Kennedy for The Associated Press, May 2002.

Перевод в комментариях, за него огромное спасибо tunka-s!

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Harrison makes his New York stage debut in "A Letter From Ethel Kennedy", a touching off-Broadway play about a dying playwright reconciling with his parents.

The play gives Harrison, who was raised and trained in the theater, a chance to return to the stage after the success and controversy of his TV show, a sort of gay "Sex in the City".

"It's not like riding a bike," Harrison says of the theater. "It's amazing how quickly it all goes away. It's a totally different kind of energy; it's a totally different process."

Set in a restaurant in the Theater District, the play stars Anita Gillette, Jay Goede and Bernie McInerney. Though Harrison hovers through all three acts -usually botching food orders - he is hardly the star.

"I must tell you this is not 'The Randy Harrison Show'. This is the smallest part,"says Tony Award-winning actress Joanna Gleason, who directs the play.

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@темы: 2002, a letter from ethel kennedy, theatre


"Randy Harrison makes an impressive debut in Queer as Folk" (May 2001)

Randy Harrison makes an impressive debut in Queer as Folk

Posted by Jeff Walsh on oasisjournals.com; May 1, 2001.

In December, Showtime began airing Queer As Folk, a gay soap opera that sparked praise from critics and debate within the gay community. A group of gay men constantly on the prowl, doing drugs, turning tricks, and cracking wise was a horror, according to some people I've talked to. To me, it's just a delicious, decadent soap opera that I wait to see every week.

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"I was just beginning my career, so this is a big, quick jump for me. It's been intense and wonderful," Harrison says. "It was like, 'Wow! I can't even believe I'm auditioning for this.' I actually read the sсript after my first callback. I was being flown to L.A. from New York for the callback and I read the sсript on the plane, and I loved it. I was shocked by it, and that's what impressed me most, because I'm not easily shocked. I was like, 'Wow, if they really have the balls to show this on TV, it's going to be something special.'"

They did and it is, according to Harrison. "I know it's the most popular thing Showtime has. It's a huge hit for them." (The show has also been picked up for a second season, although when that will debut depends on the potential strikes by the writers and actors unions)

Harrison, who seems to be naked in nearly every episode, said he never had any concerns with baring (nearly) all for the cameras.

"I had done a lot of stuff like that on stage before," he says. "I felt it was an important enough piece of television and it was well written enough that it wasn't completely trashy, so I had no problem with it."

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Randy Harrison. Interviews.