As Briar is new to the Parkway Playhouse stage we had to ask him all the “get to know you” questions… and turns out, he’s no stranger to the stage, though he is new here. Of course, if you happened to catch the show last weekend, it was probably pretty obvious he knew what he was doing.
PP: Where are you from? Where have you studied?
I was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, where I spent most of my childhood doing non-theatre related activities; such as, playing sports all year long and taking every opportunity I could to relax and play video games with my friends. It wasn’t until high school that I took interest in theatre and decided that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. I went on to spend the first two years of my collegiate training at The Florida School of the Arts, where I performed in multiple mainstage productions; such as Les Miserables, Anatomy of Gray, Goodnight Desdemona (Goodmorning Juliet), The Addams Family, and The Mousetrap.
After that, I transferred to Western Carolina University to pursue my BFA in Acting and spent the past year being a part of some pretty amazing productions! During my junior year, I had the opportunity to be in the casts of In The Soundless Awe, a New Work co-written by our Stage& Screen Director, Jayme McGhan; King Lear, where I acted alongside leading Shakespearean actor Dennis Krausnick; and HAIR, where I got to work with Annelise (Bonnie) for the first time and Tony – Nominated Actor Terrence Mann, who directed the show; as well as working on my very first short film, Around & Around. So I think it’s safe to say that I’m pretty excited for my senior year at Western and all the awesome opportunities that I have left in my collegiate career.
PP: Do you have a favorite scene or song in this show? Why is it your favorite?
Since this show is packed with so many great moments and beautiful music, this particular question is pretty hard to answer. But if I had to pick, my favorite moment/scene would have to be last one in the play with Annelise and I because you realize how much our characters have changed since the very beginning of the show when they met.
They go from two kids, who have all these dreams and aspirations to young glorified gangsters, who commit crimes and kill people if they have to. Even Bonnie & Clyde themselves realize this evolution because they share a moment of acceptance for their fate as we fade out. It’s truly a beautiful moment and I can’t wait for everyone to see it.
As far as my favorite song is concerned, I would have to go with the song I serenade Bonnie with near the end of Act 2 called “Bonnie” because of how slow, pretty, and non – musical theatre the song is. Now as much as I enjoy a good show tune, there has to be a time where I can listen to “every day” kind of music, when I’m going on a run or sitting in my car driving down the highway. And finally, I found that song that gives me both elements and that I can sing at karaoke if I ever feel the urge to be romantic without anyone ever knowing that it is from a musical.
PP: Did you do additional research about the two, or did you rely more heavily for character development on the actual script?
I did a bit of both actually. Now of course, you really want to do Bonnie & Clyde justice by giving historic accuracy to their characters and to do that, you need to do a ton of research. The moment that I found that I was cast as Clyde, I did everything I could to prepare; I read articles, fun facts, and even watched the original 1967 film and several other film adaptations of the infamous pair. To be able to portray a historical figure is kind of a dream come true for me as an actor because I consider myself a history buff and learning every bit of information about Bonne &Clyde was so fascinating to the extent that all I did was talk about their lives to my friends and family for a couple months.
Now on the other hand, it’s always important to make sure that your take on a character is as different as possible from how others played it, which means you have to find places in the script that you personally can relate to and make it your own. That is why I always find it interesting to see other people play a role because in some moments of the show, where you didn’t have much of a reaction could become something super beautiful, simply because a new actor had a different approach. So all in all, it’s about finding a balance between doing your own unique thing but also not losing the history that we all know and love.
PP: What do you think audiences will like about Bonnie & Clyde?
All I can really say is that this show is very under the radar. From the music and the characters and the story, you get nothing but quality. This show has romance, action, drama, and suspense all wrapped up into one. I mean who doesn’t love the thought of watching a show about the most notorious young couple in history while also listening to them sing along to rock, gospel, and blues influenced music?
But to be honest, the greatest thing about this particular production is the rest of the cast and creative team; they are the ones who really make this show worth a visit. Dwight Chiles, our director, has done an amazing job by choosing the right group of people to bring this production to life. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you Annelise (Bonnie), Luke (Buck), Christine (Blanche), and the rest of the cast is going to bring you joy, laughter, and tears during your time seeing this show. So if you want to purge all your emotions in one night, this show is definitely for you!
You have five more chances to catch this amazing cast bring the story of Bonnie & Clyde to life.