Bryan D. Leys

Acting

Synopsis

She’s an aspiring actress in a Catholic high school; he’s a famous stage actor on tour. They meet on a bare stage at a local theatre. She’s awestruck at meeting her idol; he’s tired and wants to go back to his hotel. But they find that they share something in common - an all-consuming passion for the art of theatre. And two people who are totally different are drawn together again and again over thirty years, each time playing different roles but always communicating that passion one to the other.

Over the years their roles keep changing. After their first backstage encounter, they unexpectedly meet again at a drama school in Greenwich Village and he becomes her acting teacher and friend. Years go by and they run into each other at a Hollywood party, where she seduces him.

The brief romance ends in disaster, and the Actress runs off to England to get married. Soon, she’s fed up with marriage and he’s made some horrible movies. They reunite and console each other in Paris. She becomes his equal; his career begins to wind down. They become theatrical partners, go on a long exhausting tour and end up bickering. Returning to New York, they open a rep company and have a stormy break-up when she feels that he’s holding her back. He says he’ll never to speak to her again, but eventually, they reconcile and realize how much they’ve meant to each other. Parted by the Actor’s death, The Actress vows to carry the torch to another bright young student.

Acting contains moments of theatrical bitchiness, back-biting and betrayal, but it is also a show about teaching, and explores the relationship between the committed artist and his craft. Although the Actor and Actress come to care deeply for each other, it is ultimately their love for their art that is shared with the audience. The show is performed as if it were a rehearsal, with minimal sets, costumes and lights.

Reviews

“The musical is...intelligent...charming...funny, and...quite moving.” - The Montclair Times

“Campodonico has provided...pleasant and pretty tunes. Leys is a deft lyricist...as a bookwriter he displays a solid knowledge of the vaguries of show business and gets in a wealth of funny observations about it. What’s more...he’s capable of providing pungent and honest observations on a failed romance. A couple of songs criticize theater critics. They’re among the show’s funniest moments.” - Peter Filichia, Newark Star Ledger

“Received a well deserved standing ovation from the audience." - Suburbanite

Cast of Characters

The Actor A distinguished member of the theatrical community. He ages from 40 to 70 over the course of the play. He is droll, witty, and sometimes overbearing, but he's never out of control. Inside, there is a very serious person who emerges when you least expect it. The actor views the world as an accumulation of sets, props, and characters, a device he uses to hide his own vulnerability. The one thing that he will never make fun of is his craft, which he pursues with the grandest passion.
The Actress His student, a woman who ages from 17 to 46 over the course of the play. She is ambitious, but also insecure. Her greatest fear is that she will lose herself in her work. More than anything, she wants to find something real to use as an anchor. Her feelings for her teacher help fill that place in her life.

Music Excerpts

Music by James Campodonico