Conference Call: "BLEACH": Eamon Yates & Brendan George
From the moment I read the press release for the immersive Off-Off-Broadway show BLEACH, I couldn’t wait to interview Eamon Yates & Brendan George, who share the title role of “Tyler” (each plays the role on a different night) in this award-winning underground UK hit.
Written by Dan Ireland-Reeves BLEACH centers on “Tyler,” a twenty-four-year-old who sells his body on a nightly basis. But on a regular working night, things are about to spiral out of control leaving “Tyler” questioning whether living in the city is really worth the price of rent.
BLEACH plays to a very intimate audience of 10 Tuesdays-Fridays in “Tyler’s Basement” (637 Wilson Avenue at the corner of Cooper Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn – directly off of the L train at Wilson Avenue), through the recently extended date of March 24. Click here for tickets!
(This show contains brief nudity, no one under 18 is permitted to attend)
1. You are both sharing the role of "Tyler" in the US Premiere of Dan Ireland-Reeves BLEACH. What attracted you to this show?
Eamon Yates: The unconventionality of it. At least for me. I’d never done a one-person show before let alone one in an immersive setting. It definitely seemed like an enticing challenge that would become a totally different performance experience. And once I got hold of the whole script I was pretty sold. I’ve told Dan many times when I met him how well written I think the show is.
Brendan George: Right from the start I was allured in so many ways! The first draw was the material. The show examines the body: how it is monetized, how it is sexualized, how it can empower or be stripped of power. As a queer actor, queer narratives, characters, and depictions catch my eye because I still feel there is a need for that representation and for those stories to be told. Also, any solo show (let alone an immersive one) is a tremendous challenge, so I was excited to take it on!
2. Have you seen each other's performance? If so, have you adapted your performance in any way because you liked what the other was doing?
Eamon Yates: Yes many times! We rehearsed together during the process. Its been very helpful seeing someone else do the show because your ear catches things from the script that your eyes can’t from just reading it or even doing it yourself. That being said, I haven’t really “adapted” anything form Brendan’s performance. We’re different actors with different perspectives of the characters, and we do things differently not to be unique but because that’s what works for us. The uniqueness of the performances is just the result. What makes sense as individual actors trying to step into "Tyler."
Brendan George: Oh, yes! I loved getting to work with Eamon through the rehearsal process. Things can get a bit lonely in a solo show otherwise! We often would compare thoughts on the script, different scenes or moments, and so on. They are two different performances, but it definitely influenced my decision making. There were certain points where I had to reconsider, "What is my objective here and why?" Seeing someone with different intentions and interpretations forced my hand a bit in either defending my own choices or going back to the drawing board.
3. What do you relate to most about "Tyler"?
Eamon Yates: Honestly, the feeling of just wanting to be loved. That’s really what the show is about for me, for how I relate to "Tyler." That being said, our ways of seeking that validation manifest MUCH differently but the understanding is relative. I think this how a lot of people relate to the character even in it’s extremes, even if they don't realize it. It's really the soul of the show.
Brendan George: At his core, I think "Tyler" wants to be loved. Crack me open and I'm just the same. I think we all want to be loved, I think that's where we see a bit of "Tyler" in all of us.
4. What is one characteristic of his you are glad you yourself do not possess?
Eamon Yates: His relationship to fame. Going off the validation through love, he believes he can find a lot of that through spectacle. Fame is something I’ve never been that connected with as Eamon. If anything I’m pretty afraid of it. I don’t think people should act for fame or live for fame for that matter.
Brendan George: I'm pleased to report I do not have his coke habit.
5. This show is an intimate immersive production taking place in the basement of an apartment in Bushwick with an audience of 10. What do you like about this kind of production? What are some challenges to it?
Eamon Yates: I love the intimacy but at first I was terrified of it. It’s something I’d never done really and had no idea how to recalibrate from the more conventional performing I’d been used to. It took me a bit to get out of my head as an actor and find the essential connection with the audience. But once I felt that connection, the show blew open for me and my perspective of performance has changed dramatically. And that’s freaking awesome. It’s also just really fun to talk to people in the audience and see them really listening and, a lot of times, responding. It doesn’t feel like a one-person show at all.
Brendan George: This venue really redefines the relationship between the audience and performance. They are immersed in the truest sense, not only sitting in the show but becoming the show itself. They are my co-stars. It's wickedly fun, you never know what energy a new audience will bring, or each individual for that matter. I've cuddled, kissed, stroked, and sat with strangers who, by the end of the show, I feel like I do have a rapport with. As fun as the unpredictability is, it also presents one of the greatest challenges to the environment -- you're never quite sure what will happen each performance. But hey -- that's live theatre, baby!
6. "Tyler" is a young man trying to find his way while paying the rent in NYC. What are some odd jobs you've had while trying to pay the rent?
Eamon Yates: I’ve been bartending in the city as well as nannying and teaching but those are pretty standard side jobs for actors. Ironically the oddest thing I’ve done to pay rent is act haha.
Brendan George: Let's see...One time I spit into a test tube for money (I couldn't have my blood drawn, which is the big bucks, I faint). I went to school in a tuxedo several times to advertise for a tuxedo shop during prom season. I was a sailing instructor in high school. Tour guide and teaching assistant in college. I still tutor students on the side -- my students are not allowed to see this show.
7. Since the show is titled BLEACH, what is something stained in your life you wish you could pour bleach on to smooth out?
Eamon Yates: Smooth out my dating life. It's messy. Either non-existent or messy.
Brendan George: In a literal sense, I have some gym socks that could use serious cleaning. Metaphorically, I'd pour bleach on a few choice high school moments. High schoolers should all be well-equipped with bleach.
8. Rapid Fire Questions:
- Boxers or Briefs? Briefs
- Colgate or Crest? Colgate
- Halos or Horns? Halos
- Favorite go to Emoji when texting? Smiley face or Smirk face
- Boxers or Briefs? Briefs
- Colgate or Crest? Crest
- Halos or Horns? Halos
- Favorite go to Emoji when texting? Flirtatious squid! 🦑🦑🦑
More on Eamon:
Eamon Yates is a gradute of Tisch School of the Arts at New York University; he has been seen in The Ramayan: A Musical at Art House and Northanger Abbey at Main Street Theatre.
More on Brendan:
Brendan George was last seen in New York in No Sympathy For the Wolf at FringeNYC. At Williamstown Theatre Festival, he appeared in developmental workshops of The Algorithm, directed by Oliver Butler, as well as Yellowjackets by Itamar Moses. He is a graduate of Brown University.