David Barlow is an actor who has worked in film, television, and theatre. His film and television credits include "Reeds," "Third Watch" ("Alexiv"), "Without A Trace" ("Hugh Malin"), and recurring roles on "All My Children." On stage, David has been seen in "The Hour of Feeling" (Actor's Theater of Louisville), "The Crucible" (Hartford Stage), "Romola & Nijinski" (Primary Stages), "Andorra" (TFANA), "Saved" (TFANA), "LA Party" (Under The Radar Festival), "Perfect Harmony" (Theater Row), "King Lear" (Kansas City Rep), "This Is Our Youth" (Philadelphia Theater Co.), "Oroonoko" (TFANA), and "Smashing" (Play Company).
At PTPNYC, David has starred in "Victory" and now in their 26th Repertory Season, David returns to their stage for "Serious Money," a scathing satire set in the trading pits and boardrooms of London’s financial district. Acclaimed English playwright Caryl Churchill tackles the insider trading, corporate raiding and leveraged buyouts of the late ‘80s. Churchill’s acidly funny, cocaine-fueled ride examines the abuses of power, greed and sexual politics that continue to resonate with the current global financial crisis.
"Serious Money" plays at The Atlantic Stage 2 (330 West 16th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue) through July 29. Click here for tickets!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? In high school I was way into sports. But during my Junior year I took an acting class, and something just instantly clicked. I quit every sports team I was on so I could join the school's theater repertory and perform in as many plays as possible. My senior year I was double cast as "Macbeth" and "Banquo," alternating roles with my best friend each night. I had no clue what I was doing, but I was definitely into it.
2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? There are many actors I'd love to work with, and they all tend to be extremely generous actors who bring all of themselves to the table and then give it all away. Phillip Seymour Hoffman comes right to mind, as does Marcia Gay Harden. I know Reed Birney, and I'd love to finally do a play with him.
3. What attracted you to Caryl Churchill's "Serious Money"? At first when I started reading "Serious Money," I'll be honest, I kind of balked, because reading that play demands tremendous focus and commitment--I mean it's about bankers and brokers for god's sake, and the musicality of how Churchill plays with language in the play means that it is really meant to be heard and not read. But when I finally got around to it, and I imagined the text being delivered by skilled actors, I got excited by the challenge it would be for a company to pull off. The play is a full frontal attack of energy, and at the same time everyone has to have as nimble a tongue as possible in order to deliver the text with alacrity, sharpness, and flair. As for playing a businessman, I've never done that before, so it's been a new type for me to investigate, and I've used my father as a model.
4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? Audiences will get out of this production what they put into it. I've noticed several audience members leaning forward in their seats so as to follow Churchill's brilliant rhyme scheme as she weaves what is a complex story about a corporate takeover and the mysterious death of a rising star in London's business world. And it's those people who really choose to get on the Churchill train that have a blast watching this play. One appreciative gentleman said after last night's performance, "I've never seen anything like that!" I told him, "I've never done anything like that!" He then said he was going to get his accountant to see the play. I hope everyone who sees the show goes out and drags their accountant back with them.
5. What do you identify most with about your character? Even though the play deals with unhinged greed and avarice (my character being an instrumental part of a system gone insane), I've grown to like, and dare I say respect Zac Zackerman. He's both classy and down to earth, he's gregarious, fun, and extremely sharp. Most important of all he's a born leader, and these are all qualities that I aspire to in my life. Even though he is involved with nasty things, he doesn't see it that way--in fact as the MC for the audience, he ideally convinces us of the beauty of unbridled capitalism. My father never was a corporate raider, but he was a very successful business man who came from humble means, and along with his intelligence, charm, and ambition, I think it is his terrific optimism that propelled him to where he got in life. And so more than any other role I've played, I am using my dad's outlook on business and life as a way of getting into a positive, non-judgmental relationship with my character. As I see it, it's my job to go out there and show people just how beautiful the American dream is--that with enough pluck, drive, and acumen, the sky's the limit as to what any of us can accomplish. As for the losers of deals, and the folks who get crushed, well, tough luck, that's the rub of the green. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back in the ring.
6. What excites you about being part of PTP's 26th Repertory Season? I love the kind of ferocious material that PTP affords me the opportunity to engage with. Last year's PTP play VICTORY by Howard Barker was maybe the play I've most enjoyed in my career. Playing the randy, impetuous, insane, sharp witted, and ultimately poignant King Charles II was like a total gift from heaven. And where else would I get the chance to do SERIOUS MONEY? This is the first time it's been revived in the States since it opened in New York in the 1980's. Richard, Cheryl, and Jim are audacious directors who choose challenging, thought provoking work, and who do so with passion, rigor, and (thank god) humor.
7. What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show? Where is your favorite place to rehearse on your own? My favorite part of the rehearsals and previews is not knowing how the hell things are going to come off. Everyone really has to band together, and fight for one another's success.
When I'm rehearsing alone, I like to leave my apartment or hotel, and if I'm near nature, walk in the woods and say my lines.
8. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? This career definitely provides me with ample opportunities to learn about myself, and I'm sure I will continue to do so for as long as I'm at it. Principally what I've learned about myself, and what I guess I'll keep re-learning, is that as long as I throw my shoulder into my work, I will expand as a human being. It's the times that I've been most challenged and scared that have sharpened my sword.
9. What's the best advice you've ever received? I just received it. A friend of mine just left me a voice message quoting Theodore Roosevelt:
"It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; Who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
10. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I'd like to dream about Brigitte Bardot. I'd like it even more if in some alternate universe she's dreaming about me.
11. Favorite way to spend your day off? Go for a hike and a swim, then dinner and movies with friends.
12. Favorite way to say in shape? Racquetball and Ultimate Frisbee.
13. Boxers or Briefs: Boxers, duh.
14. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Flying.