Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Spotlight On...Bill Griffin

Name: Bill Griffin

Buffalo, NY

Education: BFA, NYU: Tisch

Select Credits: South Dakota (Curly, Jewel Box Theater - NYC Premiere); Spaceship to Venus (Tim, Cherry Lane Studio); This One Time in Last Chance (Chester, LATEA - Fringe NYC 2011); Ayn Rand’s Ideal (Dwight Langley, 59E59 - America’s Off B’way); In Fields Where They Lay (Giles Andersen, Dreamscape Theater Co.); An American Dream (Seb, performed at the Old Vic, London as part of the 2011 TS Eliot US/UK Exchange)

Why theater?: I go to the theater because I want to participate in something; I want to be asked to use my imagination. I think good theater should be more like reading a book than watching a movie - the beauty of the medium is not the high-tech special effects and realistic, epic battle sequences, it's the ensemble of players using a piece of rope and a two-by-four to suggest something to an audience.

Tell us about Persephone: I play Toby, a two-bit thug ("No, strike that - a ONE-bit thug," says my counterpart, Oskar). Oskar and I specialize in "Semi-professional Abduction and Personnel Detainment" - at least that's what it says on our business cards. We're not kidnappers though - the kidnappers are OUR clients. They hire us to pick up the victim and hold them in the basement of an abandoned house in the woods until the ransom comes through (or not)...Persephone is the story of a particular victim named Corey, and how she manages to disrupt the monotony of our routine.

What is it like being a part of Persephone?:
A little exhausting - all of these characters live in pretty deranged headspaces (I'm glad to be just visiting), and I've found myself chasing their logic down the rabbit hole on a few occasions. But I'm having a blast - the play is fun and funny and director Estefania Fadul has assembled a great ensemble for it (if I do say so myself).

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I like creative, non-literal storytelling. I like performers who embrace a sense of spontaneity, who are emotionally available but always play to win.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I want to play Richard III, from the Henry VI cycle straight through...but I'd like another ten years under my belt first.

What’s your favorite showtune?: I'm partial to the Bobby Darin version of "Hello Dolly."

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Mark Rylance - see below.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?:
Ignoring the laws of time and space, I would split the part between Anthony Michael Hall (circa 1986) and Dick Van Dyke (circa 1965). It'd be called, "Finding his Niche: the Bill Griffin story."

What show have you recommended to your friends?: The Mark Rylance Twelfth Night/Richard III that's coming to Broadway this fall. He's a genius.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: I was raised Catholic - all of my pleasures are guilty.

What’s up next?: I work with the Factory NYC, a spinoff of the Factory Theater Co. in London. We've been slow-cooking a Hamlet project for the past year-and-a-half, which is just about ready to be shown - stay tuned.