In Part 2 of a series of interviews with The Playwright, Director, and cast of Tying the Knot at the Baltimore Playwright’s Festival, playing at Fells Point Corner Theatre, meet Brian S. Kraszewski.
Daniel: Tell our readers where they may have seen you on local stages.
Brian: I have most recently performed in the Baltimore Rock Opera Society’s “Six Pack” of shows (Frank and Lance Stone) at Artscape and the Creative Alliance. I also performed in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Cheswick) and Jekyll & Hyde (Utterson) at Spotlighters earlier this year and Taming of the Shrew (Petruchio) at Reisterstown Theater Project last year. Next up I will be returning to Spotlighters as Gripper in A Sensation Novel.
Tell us about the character you play and how you relate to him? Does this character have any of your personality or traits?
Michael Paulsen is a successful partner at a New York City law firm. He has a few close friends, a controlling mother, and is somewhat estranged from his father. He has had many relationships and eventually found that someone special. Unfortunately, that someone special broke his heart. I find it very easy to identify with Michael. He works most of the time. He is unsure of whom he truly is, but diligently and effectively hides that uncertainty. I did put parts of my own personality into Michael. Everything that you see Michael do on stage is part of me in some way. His friendships, connections, love, hurt, frustrations, confusion, and acceptance all stem from my experiences and feelings.
What has been the most fun playing this character?
Michael’s friendship with Lance, played by the talented J. Hargrove. J and I have worked together before in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot at Mobtown Players where I played Judas and he played Jesus. We fell right back into an effortless symmetry. The only way I can find to explain it is that it seems like at times we are reading each other’s mind. And the fantastic writing of James Beller makes our banter and emotions fun, light, and real.
What have been some of the challenges you have had preparing for your role and how did your director help you with these challenges?
Daniel’s insightfulness was effective at helping me find ways to connect to the audience. His eye for comedy helped me expand my performance physically and vocally to capitalize on certain moments.
What have you learned about yourself the actor while performing your role in Tying the Knot?
This show reaffirms for me the main forms of love and their importance in my life. Romantic love, familial love, platonic love; all are different, powerful, and true gifts any of us would be lucky to have.
Which character in the show is most like you and why?
I identify with both Michael and David. I see myself as a mix of the two and have an understanding of where both are coming from in the show. I used to be open and live my life with my heart on my sleeve. Now I have a mix of being work driven and reserved.
What do you admire most about your fellow cast members?
They like to have fun with the script and that takes the performances to new places where we discover new things about the characters and the show.
What has been the craziest thing that have happened on the stage during the run (that was not expected)?
When he was breaking down and crying, I gave Felix (David) chips and guacamole instead of water and tissues.
What does Tying the Knot have to say to theatergoers, and how is it still relevant?
It says that theatre still has the capacity to surprise audiences. It is relevant because it shows that theatre can take a stereotypical situation, turn it on its ear, and force us to reexamine our perceptions and conceptions while having a hell of a good time.
What do you want audiences to take with them after watching you perform in Tying the Knot?
Laughter and the affirmation that humans encounter similar trials even though they walk different paths.
Meet the Playwright, Director, and Cast of ‘Tying the Knot’ Part 1: Playwright James L. Beller Jr. by Daniel Douek.
Meet the Playwright, Director, and Cast of ‘Tying the Knot’ Part 2: Brian S. Kraszewski by Daniel Douek.