I was twelve years old when I was in my first show. Nine years later, I can say that there hasn't been a time since when I wasn't auditioning, rehearsing, or performing. Of course, When I first started (at age 12) I saw it entirely as a fun hobby. But as the years went by, I began to take theater more seriously, and now view it as a potential career option. Plus I now have a better understanding of what it takes to fully realize a play's character.
Director, Richard Dominick, cast me as Billy Bibbit in his interpretation of this classic play. I am both daunted and excited to work with Richard, and to add to the legacy of this particular play by bringing to life my Billy Bibbit.
The two actors attributed with the most well-known performances of Billy Bibbit are Gene Wilder, one of the greatest comedic actors ever, who originated the role in the 1963 stage production, and Brad Dourif in the 1975 film adaptation.
They leave rather big shoes to fill.
This is one of my first dramatic roles. I'm usually cast in comedies. But, I look forward to this challenge--not only to honor the great previous actors' portrayals of Billy, but to also keep up with this talented cast.
Although I am tall, Billy is small--figuratively. He perceives everyone, especially those with authority, as towering over him. He has no self-confidence. His self-esteem is childlike. I'm wondering if he became this naive and innocent person after a series of traumatic life events or was he always this way? That is part of the process. Making those decisions. In rehearsals, I forget my tall frame and move through the space as though I am small.
It’s only a matter of time before the entire cast will put down their scripts and become fully invested in these fascinating characters. I look forward to the coming weeks, learning from Richard, and absorbing the progress of the entire cast. I prepare to remain open to criticism, work hard and dedicate myself to growing as an actor.
James Knapp plays Billy Bibbit