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INTERVIEW: Christopher Borg on the hilarity of working with Charles Busch


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Mar 22, 2024
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Picture: Christopher Borg is featured in Ibsen’s Ghost at 59E59. Picture courtesy of the artist / Supplied by The Print Store PR with permission.

Ibsen’s Ghost, Charles Busch’s newest play, had a profitable run at New Jersey’s George Avenue Playhouse earlier this 12 months and is now taking part in a restricted engagement at 59E59 Theaters in Midtown Manhattan. Busch, like he does for many of his exhibits, serves as author and star. On this comedy, he performs Suzannah Thoresen Ibsen, widow of the late playwright Henrik Ibsen, writer of A Doll’s Home, Hedda Gabler and An Enemy of the Individuals.

Within the present, which is labeled as an irresponsible biographical fantasy, Suzannah should cease the publication of a tell-all diary that features lies about her husband. She employs the assistance of a motley crew of family and friends to assist in her mission. Performances of the Primary Stages production run through April 14 at 59E59’s Theater A.

Christopher Borg, a classically educated actor who has carried out in Busch’s performs earlier than, is included within the solid, together with Jen Cody, Thomas Gibson, Judy Kaye, Jennifer Van Dyck and Kate Hampton. Lately Hollywood Soapbox exchanged emails with Borg about his roles within the present and his historical past with Busch. His earlier credit embrace Busch’s The Confession of Lily Dare and Judith of Bethulia. Questions and solutions have been barely edited for model.

If you first learn the play, what did you want about your characters?

Charles wrote two characters for me to convey to life on this piece, and what struck me instantly was how drastically completely different the characters are: in social standing, of their relationship to the opposite characters on the planet of the play, and most clearly, of their gender! So, I knew it might be a enjoyable problem to create two fully distinctive and memorable individuals.

You’ve labored with Charles Busch earlier than. What do you like about his phrases and characters?

I’ve been a fan of Charles as a playwright since I used to be a theatre main. Charles, as a humorist, as a wordsmith, as a teller of tales, as a crafter of worlds, tickles my humorous bone. The strains in his play make me snort out loud greater than every other playwright. The work is sensible. And humorous. And it’s working on so many ranges. The characters he invents are each actual and ridiculous, and they’re scrumptious to play.

Is it attention-grabbing having the playwright be a colleague on stage with you?

It’s a large profit to have the author within the room. And whereas it may be intimidating to be sharing the stage with Charles, he’s additionally such a giving performer and beneficiant to his fellow actors. Charles actually hears the rhythm and music of the play, so if one thing isn’t working in rehearsals, he’s proper there to make a change or assist clarify or repair a second. It’s a blessing.

How did the George Avenue Playhouse run go? Has the play modified quite a bit?

The GSP run was very profitable, and it was advantageous for us to have the ability to play the scenes earlier than an viewers. I wouldn’t say the play modified quite a bit, however inside scenes there have been important modifications to strains in locations that helped to inform the story or transfer issues alongside sooner. Charles isn’t afraid to make modifications to his work. He listens to the viewers and is aware of learn how to tweak a scene to make it work higher. He additionally added some nice jokes.

Are you an Ibsen fan?

I’m completely an Ibsen fan. As a scholar of the theatre, I developed an enormous respect for the daddy of realism. Not solely did Ibsen change the course of theatre, however his performs are additionally nice! Very relatable and playable even to audiences of as we speak. There’s a cause his performs are nonetheless being carried out all over the world over 100 years later.

Do you continue to depend on your classical coaching for every new function you sort out?

I 100% draw on my background as a classical actor ceaselessly when engaged on new roles, however particularly when engaged on a Charles Busch play. Charles typically makes references to classical theatre and movie in his performs, and since he is aware of I’ve that particular coaching, he’ll typically write my half to have a sweeping monologue or a dramatic arc that requires a sure rigor and craftsmanship {that a} classically educated actor can convey — even in a comedy, possibly particularly in a comedy. The components are bigger than life however concurrently should be firmly grounded. And he makes use of complicated language in a really particular manner that requires a mastery of breath and rhythm.

By John Soltes / Writer / [email protected]

Ibsen’s Ghost, that includes Christopher Borg and starring Charles Busch, continues by way of April 14 at 59E59 Theaters in Midtown Manhattan. Click here for more information and tickets.
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