In Part Five of a series of interviews with the cast of Vagabond Players’ Moon Over Buffalo, meet Greg Guyton.
Joel: Please introduce yourselves and tell me why you wanted to be in the cast of Moon Over Buffalo?
Guy: My name is Greg Guyton, and I’m a lot of things – husband, father, orthopedic surgeon, pilot, and (for the last ten years) actor. Performing to me is really about experiencing, and I try to sample the whole range that theater has to offer from dramas to farces, musicals to plays. ‘Moon spins its way up into a wild, antic physical comedy that is hard to match. Throw in the chance to work at a superb historic theater with the inimitable John Desmone at the helm and my wife on stage with me and it was a really choice opportunity.
Did you bring any personal experiences to your performance? How has your performance changed since the show opened?
Well, I’m married to the play so to speak . . . When you play opposite your real-life partner whose abilities you respect there is an effortless chemistry that moves the whole rehearsal process forward. In the non-theater world I’m a simple bone doctor and she’s a mind-reading psychologist, so she feels confident in her ability to bend my thoughts to her will. Not so! My secret is that as each weekend’s set of shows approaches I work in a few George-like comments at home to stir up a little quiet agitation by Friday night. As the weeks go by I’ll probably ramp it up just for interest. Think of it as good-show fuel.
Who do you play in the show and how do you relate to your character? Has your feelings for the character changed since the show began?
I play George, the overly confident, overly dramatic actor whose romantic and career misadventures drive the story. Despite his comeuppance, he manages to emerge with his essential character and the love of his wife and the life theatric all intact. As I’ve lived with the character, I’ve found a little more of his fundamental goodness and a final grace note of humility. A few years ago I foolishly asked my twelve-year old son what he thought of me. I grinned and waited for him to dive into the good role-model, supportive dad zone. Instead, without looking up from his bowl of cereal, he said “Dad, you’re a buffoon, and you’re basically Mom’s slave.” There you go – that’s how I relate.
What have been some of the things that have not gone as planned during the performance and how did you handle it? What have been some of the funniest moments of playing your character?
The rehearsal process has been remarkably smooth. Maybe that’s because the character is a little too much like my real person – just jacked up on Coca Cola and sugar donuts. The second act is spent throwing myself around the stage, so I while the theatrics are pretend, the injuries can be real! The show includes a good hard groin kick from Charlotte to George; if there’s a palpable bit of fear in my voice in the lines leading up to it there are some valid reasons . . . two of them in fact. Fortunately, the real hits play even better than the near misses.
An additional side benefit is the liberating feeling of playing drunk. In this case it’s not the serious tortured, drink-yourself-to-death alcoholic (although I’ve done that before over at Fells Point Corner Theater), but the normally self-assured person sent on a bender by outrageous circumstance. My favorite moment comes from the special close-up the audience members just in front of stage right get during the second act; more I cannot say.
What has surprised you about the audience reaction to the show and your performance?
George and Charlotte spend quite a bit of time saying terrible things to each other, but right after most audience members finish telling me how hard they laughed they will say how much they can tell the two characters (and my wife and I) are in love with each other. Not so surprising I guess, but certainly affirming.
Why should audiences come and see Moon Over Buffalo?
The play is just plain fun, from the acerbic put downs to the mistaken identities, classic characters to the surprising turns. It flows, it moves, it starts with chuckles and ends with hilarity. I’ve been blessed to work with all the very talented fellow cast members that have so effortlessly fit into their roles and a director with a real sense of purpose and vision in addition to a superb comedic sensibility. Throw in the Fells Point scene during the best month of the year and you will have yourself a fantastic evening.
Why do you think Ken Ludwig’s play is so popular?
The play appeals at many levels. Its fast-paced and has jokes that land all over the age map. If the first doesn’t appeal a second is coming right behind it. One section of the audience will love the physical comedy while another will cheer for an Esther Williams reference – all at the same time. Ludwig has the rare ability to write for a true general audience. It’s not high art, and you may not ponder the essential questions of being later that night, but you will be entertained.
Review: ‘Moon Over Buffalo’ at Vagabond Players by Lauren Honeycutt on DCMetroTheaterArts.
Meet The Cast of ‘Moon Over Buffalo’ at Vagabond Players: Part 1: Caroline Kiebach.
Meet The Cast of ‘Moon Over Buffalo’ at Vagabond Players: Part 2: Jess Kim.
Meet The Cast of ‘Moon Over Buffalo’ at Vagabond Players: Part 3: Moon Over Buffalo Cast: Michelle Guyton.
Meet The Cast of ‘Moon Over Buffalo’ at Vagabond Players: Part 4: Carol Carol Conley Evans.
Meet The Cast of ‘Moon Over Buffalo’ at Vagabond Players: Part 5: Greg Guyton.