Hysterical is extending for ONE NIGHT only this Friday, July 29th! As a part of our New Works series, another performance means the world in many ways. Firstly, it is as an opportunity for audiences (like you!) to see it another time. In addition, an extended performance also means the chance for actors to keep exploring the text, their characters, and getting the chance to challenge themselves to find something new about the play. I sat down with two Hysterical (all puns intended) cast members, Gavin Bazalar and Robby Ramos to talk about their experience with the play, how they got involved, and their experiences studying at the studio.
How do you guys get involved in the project?
Gavin Bazalar: Yeah Peter had given Crystal my name and she reached out to me, I auditioned and the rest is history.
Robby Ramos: I saw it on the website and I came in for the audition. I had done the workshop production that they (T. Schreiber) had done previously, Natural Life, I had a really small part in that. I was excited about doing another one.
So you are both graduates of the One Year Conservatory!
RR: T. Schreiber was the first school I went to in New York. I actually moved here to go to the One Year Conservatory. I saw a production of Balm in Gilead here directed by Peter Jensen. When you walked into the theatre they were already in character and it was almost as if the play was already happening and you were inhabiting a space where it was already going on and you are just a viewer. The play takes place in a diner in SOHO and so many weird characters and it turned me on so much and that same week I had seen a Broadway show and this blew it out of the water. The experience I had here was more gratifying so I said “I just need to go to this school.” I hadn’t really acted that much, very little if any, so the first kind of experiences I had with acting if any were here. And I still used all the things I learned in. What i liked about it was it was well-rounded and you deal with moment to moment, emotional recall and all those things. And the One Year Conservatory, I’m sure Gavin can vouch, it covers everything- even the business.
GB: You get to do camera work. At the end of the conservatory we get the chance to do performances which is a huge benefit. It was really something powerful. I had done theatre prior to this, not to say it was a walk in the park but it’s nice that they include that in the conservatory because after a year of doing all that work it’s nice that they give us an opportunity to actually use it instead of just throwing us out there into the world where there’s no guarantee of anything. This place, I still feel this way, it’s very warm, it’s very welcoming, they actually seem to care not only about the craft but they care about you and what you can give of yourself to actually pursue this. That was my deciding factor. Yeah, it was the best decision I ever made.
What is the difference you have felt since studying here?
RR: One of the things that the conservatory does, it’s an acting program but you also begin to recognize the unique qualities you possess as a person and how that can translate into your career. For me, at least the intention that I came with was I wanted to be as authentic to myself as I could be and the teachers really helped hone that and helped make that into a reality. And then coming out once you’re done, it’s a little tough, you know what I mean? You gotta figure out (how to work in the world) and hitting walls because in the conservatory you are so wrapped up in working with another person, you guys connect, and then you do a play and transferring all that techniques and that we learn here into the actual theatre world it’s hard at times because not everyone is going to be as welcoming. Gavin has more experience with the biz than I do. But I did study with a teacher before I came here, so I wasn’t completely green.
Yeah, what’s that like when you leave school and then you’re no longer with people who trained the same as you, how do you figure out how to play together? You don’t have that same vocabulary?
GB: Well, to be fair, everyone has their tricks or they have their own training. As far as what I’ve discovered, you just got to be open and take what they do you and use as well as give them some of what you’ve learned and see if they use it. It’s all a give and take process.
RR: Go with the flow.
GB: Yeah, that’s really it. I don’t have a rigid process or structure. I like to do certain things. That’s why I like the conservatory program because it’s all about getting out of your comfort zone.
RR: (affirming and nodding) Yeah.
GB: It’s all about pushing your limits and seeing what’s inside you because there’s a multitude of things inside all of us and that was one of the things that they encourage here. Let all of society’s rules and criticisms, and just let it all go because none of that matters here. None of it matters. You can just be, you can just be, and be yourself. Like Robby was saying , you learn more about yourself. That’s what I got out of this. I’m not afraid to be myself.
Do you ( Robby Ramos) have anything to add to that?
RR: No, I second everything he said. The breakthroughs that happened during our classes…I mean I never really had that experience (before T. Schreiber).
How did you apply all of this experience and all this training that you’ve (Gavin and Robby) and apply it to Hysterical?
GB: The one thing I take out of it is being specific.
You have so many ensemble parts.
RR: Yeah, you have a lot of stuff.
GB: That really helped me. Otherwise you learn the lines and
they all become the same person. And naturally prep, and get the rest of the day out of your head and just play because ultimately it’s just fun to be out there. Having details, having a past for each of these people.
RR: I like to find, Terry calls it the the super objective! I like to have the emotional core and then have everything come out of that.
Any final thoughts?
GB: I mean this is going to sound so corny but if this is what you love to do, this is a good place for you to experience because they don’t want you to fail here and they only want you to have breakthroughs here. That’s what’s so crazy about it. They’re going to push you and encourage you in ways that you are probably not used to as an actor or a person and as long as you are willing and open to it you’re going to do the best stuff that you have ever done. It’s so different being in a class when you get so much time to work on a scene or character.
RR: T. Schreiber has really opened doors for me that I didn’t know were there and gave me a place to do stuff in New York when I didn’t have anyone when I didn’t have auditions, when I didn’t have anything.