A solo show: theatre / music / movement / storytelling / ginger... (3 min read)
Growing Into My Beard @ Interplay Theatre;
Armley Ridge Road, Leeds LS12 3LE
March 14th & 15th, 2018; 7:30pm
(1hr runtime then optional talk-back)
TIX: £8 / £5 (Concession)
Growing Into My Beard synopsis?
'Growing Into My Beard' is one ginger's personal quest to obtain TRUE LOVE --the kind that can ALWAYS be found in the movies starring Drew Barrymore (love you drew)... By way of original songs, dramatically told personal anecdotes and justified farcical movement, Bay weaves together a coming-of-age tale that is romantically nostalgic, profoundly authentic and above all HOPEFUL.
"Bryan's performance is open and vulnerable... and fosters a strong sense of community between performer and audience."
Where did we come from where do we go?
Two years ago, while surviving in NYC, I won the whacky and whimsical East Village game-show Cabaret Showdown. From this I received an hour-long slot in a theatre to do ANYTHING that my wee ginger heart desired; Almost immediately I knew what that anything was: I wanted to (imagine Liza Minelli saying these next few words) write and perform my own solo show... I had one month.
Things kicked into gear when my friend Artem Yatsunov agreed to come on board and direct this mysterious beast. He sat with me in various cafés from Bushwhick to Washington Heights as I read him my journal entries, reminisced about LOVE and what is was like growing up ginger. (BTW, I am FOREVER GRATEFUL to you Artem for those many hours you spent listening to me go on and on)...
Showtime came and I am proud to say, A SHOW WAS PERFORMED; It was raw, slightly random-at-times and yes it lacked a clear central story BUT DAMMIT it had heart and there was absolutely something right about it.
With Artem (the f*!king trooper) continuing as my director AND donning the producer hat as well, we would go on to take this still-growing beast to the Minnesota Fringe and Philly Fringe Festivals.
ON THE ROAD the show was a constantly-evolving organism (and orgasm), one that was always changing --which I have to add is a huge challenge for a director #Sorryyyyyyy; And over the course of these two festivals, performing in spaces as varied as the upstairs of a thrift store to an improv comedy theatre, the actual STORY started becoming clearer (THANK GOD). We would go on to take the show back to NYC and perform it at the One Catches Light Festival in Brooklyn and The Proud AF Festival at the Tank in Manhattan.
Then came the opportunity to perform GIMB in the UK. I was visiting Manchester at the end of 2016 and Interplay Theatre (Leeds, UK) offered to have me for one night. Artem was in NYC so he was not available to join me this time, however another dear friend Claire-Marie Seddon would come on board to direct and help produce the strongest version Growing Into My Beard to date.
Showtime came and we managed to get a solid audience of 50 people into that space. I was fully prepared to tell this story; each-and-every different version of GIMB that I had done on the road with Artem, all those times that I had gotten up and just performed SOMETHING, even when it wasn't really clear why I was doing it, had amounted to this very performance right here and now.
So what made this performance SO EXTRA? Well, there in the audience sat one person in particular who unknowingly was my guest of honor.
As the performance came to a close, there in this repurposed church space in Armley, MUCH to his surprise and everyone else's, I brought him on stage and asked him to marry me.
he said yes. #YAS
As you can guess, the story does not end there. In fact, it plays a major role in why I am now based in Manchester!
The story continues on in this solo show I call Growing Into My Beard --An evolving tale that I believe is a story about discovering love and about discovering who it is you are and how you want to share yourself with the world!
So, that being said, I hope you will join me in Leeds THIS MARCH at Interplay Theatre as I share with you the NEXT iteration of this quirky slice of my life...
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