BRIAN RICHARDSON opens this week in the principle role of Jack in Soundview Summer, a daring work that takes a personal look at the after-effects of nuclear exposure. Richardson, whose credits include Harlem Summer Shakespeare in Macbeth, The Tempest, Twelfth Night, As You Like It; as well as sojourns at Bristol Riverside Theatre, Barter Theatre, Metropolitan Playhouse, The Bushnell Theatre, J City Theatre and TV/Movie forays on LAW AND ORDER: SVU, THE GET DOWN, and GOTHAM; HUNGER and SID’S NEW GLASSES, sat with us to share some thoughts.
Tell us about yourself as an artist
I’ve been acting for 36 years and have devoted the bulk of that time to stage work. I have recently been getting more film and television. I have also been a street performer and have a lot of stories to tell. Even though often I am telling someone else’s story, I always search for some connection I might have with that story so I can bring some truth to it.
What do you hope to convey to your audience regarding this powerful topic?
I hope the story brings the characters to life and makes the audience feel the dilemmas, concerns and fears of those involved. I believe theater is always about empathy and understanding.
Do you feel a stronger sense of responsibility when the subject matter is so serious?
I do, because this story is happening in various ways all over the world, and attention must be paid to it. However, I also feel a sense of responsibility when doing a comedy; the responsibility to make the audience laugh. Whenever we get on that stage we assume responsibility. But it’s not a burden; rather a privilege.
Tell us your feelings on Indie Theater?
Where would we be without Indie Theater? There would be a lot less work for artists, there would be a lot less points of view on stage, and theater would be a much more expensive thing for all audiences. With Indie theater we have the chance to try things without having to mortgage our souls. It’s still always expensive to put on a piece, but it’s possible.
I have several dates coming up for “W. E. B. Du Bois: A Man For All Time” the solo show I perform around the country and internationally. We’ve taken it to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, The New York International Fringe Festival, The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and to The Netherlands where we performed for Queen Beatrix.