Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Long Day's Journey Into Night: John Dylan Atkins

Hello all, Threepenny is back in the month of February, presenting Eugene O'Neill's great American tragedy Long Day's Journey Into Night, running February 6th through February 22nd at TheatreWorks. As always, the show is set-you-own-admission with a suggested ticket price of $15.

For our final interview this week, we talk to a fella who has been with Threepenny since the beginning. He is the only person to appear in every single one of our shows. He was Demetrius and Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night's Dream. He was Macduff in Macbeth, and he was Richard in #blessed, but most of the time, he is John Dylan Atkins.

Welcome back, Dylan. You're one of our founding company members, and you've appeared in all of our shows. Your last show was #blessed, where you played Richard, a sort of sleezy con-man. How was it transitioning from that comedy into Long Day's Journey Into Night?

It is worlds apart *laughs*. That show was more focused on character acting and just completely changing my body, whereas this show is more naturalistic. More about finding what that character is inside me, instead of creating it out of nothing. I have to find it.

Now, you've had an attachment to the character of Jamie for a long time. What's it like to finally get to play this role?

Oh, it's a dream come true. Jamie is the number one dream role I've had since I was introduced to the play by Gloria Baxter. And now I'm getting to do it... it's baffling *smiles*.

How challenging are you finding it?

There are challenging parts, but it's a really comfortable room to work in, so when something isn't working I don't feel a lot of pressure or anything because I know Matt and I will find a compromise to where it will work. I just have to be sure to let the moments I have happen and make sure to get out of my own head, which I always say is my biggest problem. But this cast has made is feel a lot easier than I maybe thought it should have been.

How are your cast mates to work with?

Oh, they're great! Everyone is really strong, and I've worked will all of them before, so it really helps that we have that previous relationship. It's really nice.

Long Day's Journey Into Night is a very dark play, darker than a lot of shows Memphis audiences are used to. What do you think are the merits of putting on a show like this?

Well, not everything in this life is Light. And I know we don't usually like to expose ourselves to dark things, at least openly, but I think there are some safe environments, such as the theatre, where it's really helpful and beneficial to look at these things.

This play hits really close to home for me, because I've had a lot of people in my family struggle with addiction, and I've seen lives just melt away from it, just like you see in this show. So I'm moved by it even when I'm not onstage, just listening to my cast mates. I'm moved by it, and it's therapeutic for me. I guess that's the hope. That it will help somebody in some way. Because it's not stuff you want to think about, but when it's right there in front of you and done as delicately as this feels like it's being done, then I think that can have a good outcome.

Any last words about Long Day's Journey Into Night?

It's a dream come true for me.

Thank you Dylan. Check in next Monday and Tuesday when we meet the parents, played by two of the finest actors in Memphis theatre.

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