Edward B. Bauer first came to LRR as a cast member of Jen Browne’s play Lona Means Island, and now he’s a stellar part of our our acting ensemble for our Fall Shorts Series, the Rom-Com section. Pretty much, he’s awesome. Check out more of Edward’s work at www.edward-bauer.com.
#selfie 2.0 is an interview series where Lather, Rinse, Repeat playwrights interview the actor ensemble for their next night of short plays. Playwrights have free reign over the questions. The interviewee must then post an actual selfie, because we told them to.
1. People google people. And when you type in “edward bauer actor” the first bit of information you will acquire is that you are a founding member and the Co-Artistic Director of The Assembly (www.theassemblytheater.com). Bad ass. Tell us about your company and the work you aim to create as a collective of multidisciplinary artists.
My company, The Assembly, is a collective committed to devising new theater that speaks truthfully to the world around us by really embracing the creative abilities of everyone involved. Our last full-length production, a play about the Weatherman Underground entitled “HOME/SICK,” was developed over the course of a year and written by a cast of six, a director, a dramaturg, and several others. It was also influenced significantly by the contributions of its designers from an earlier point in the process than you see with almost any other new plays being made these days. Our current project, “That Poor Dream,” is an adaptation of Dickens’ Great Expectations, and is being devised by the group in much the same way. Telling a story this way, with so many minds and so many voices working together — sometimes in unison, and frequently in contrast — creates an experience that’s unbelievably rich and deep.
It also, like I said, can take a year or more to create one of these pieces, but hey. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
2. I too studied both Theatre and English in college. How do you think that duel degree shaped your professional career as an actor and theatre artist?
Apart from preparing me in absolutely no way for any practical real-life situations at any time in my future ever? I kid, I kid. I think the biggest benefit of combining those two majors was the way that my English degree taught me to read books and stories holistically, and for their big pictures. As an actor, that gives me a sense of where my character’s arc exists within the larger movement of the play as a whole, and that effects so much in my performance: tone, rhythm, pacing, etc. I guess I’ve always felt that however important the emotional truth of my performance is, it’s only important because it’s a crucial piece of that bigger story. And having grown up with my nose in a book most of my life, I tend to have a good handle of what that bigger story is.
3. What were your favorite toys as a kid and do you or your parents still have them stashed somewhere?
Oh, boy. I did have a number of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures back in the day, but those are all long gone. Noble sacrifices to a church yard sale, as I recall, in the age when yard sales were still a thing. I like to imagine that they’re in a better place, now, and not just having their plastic weapons choked upon by toddlers.
Sigh. Excuse me, I need to go pour one out for Bebop and Rocksteady.
4. What do you think are the best and the worst parts of being an actor/artist in NYC? How do you think the city informs the work?
Hmm. This question pre-supposes that there are good things about living and being an actor in New York City, which… Look, here’s what I do like about it here. We’re all in it together. This city is a hell of a grind. It’s overpopulated, overpriced, and the market for actors and artists is way over-saturated, but for all that’s obviously not ideal for us here, I think the crucible of shit we’re all going through makes us stronger people with more compassion for each other’s struggles. I really do believe that, because for all of the “All About Eve”-esque backstabbing and sniping that I’m sure must be going on somewhere in the city, my own experience has been much more in line with, say, “The Grey.” Us actors are all just huddled up in our winter clothes, basking in a slowly-dying fire and sheltered by the wing of our downed airplane. And yes, it’s getting cold, and the food is running out, and I don’t like that sound of pacing paws and guttural breathing coming from the treeline any more than you do, but goddammit if at the end of the day we aren’t going to stand ourselves up, brush ourselves off, fashion crude weapons out of duct tape and broken mini-bottles of liquor, and go out there and punch some wolves. Together.
5. And now I will ask you to pimp your wares. Any new work on the horizon? New shows? New endeavors? How can we get our Edward Bauer fix?
Well, it’s a bit late, but The Assembly just last week performed thirty minutes of new material from the development of “That Poor Dream” at CUNY’s Prelude festival. The show’s moving in a fantastic direction, and actually most of my time over the next few months will be spent further developing that. We’ve got an eye on mounting the full production in March, although several wonderful venues are in the midst of a bidding war to determine where we’ll be, so stay tuned for more news. Apart from that, in November you’ll be able to catch me at Spoke the Hub performing in a few of David Haan’s “President Plays” (last seen at Ars Nova’s ANT Fest), in which he plays fast and loose with historical fact and writes a short play depicting an apocryphal death of each of our nation’s Presidents. Last time I joined him on this project, my Teddy Roosevelt put up a pretty good fight, but couldn’t avoid getting mauled by that bear. And in December, I’ll be putting in an appearance at Dixon Place in an adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet” written entirely by internet chatbots. Hope to see you all there!