EF - Tell us a little about your family and where you are from.
SB - I'm originally from a small town called Towaco which is in New Jersey. I was brought up there. It is very country and surrounded by farmland but only about 45 minutes out of the city (NYC). I have three sisters.
EF - Did you grow up on a farm?
SB - No. The whole area though used to be a farm. The original farm house was the house right across the street from us. It is still there. They have just built up a neighborhood around it.
EF - Are you the only one in your family with the acting bug?
SB - Yeah. I'm the only one. The only one that caught it.
EF - Now, because the acting business has so many challenges and uncertainties, how did your family feel about you entering the business?
SB - There was never really any other option for me. They have been concerned especially regarding the financial end of it. They were definitely concerned when I was working in Brooklyn cleaning toilets.
EF - Now usually actors decide to wait tables. You decide to clean toilets. (laughing)
SB - Well, it's a whole other story. I was waiting tables and cleaning toilets. It was literally in the depths of Brooklyn. I mean there were chalk outlines in the street everyday. I was trying to hide where I was working from my parents. I would try to make them think the neighborhood was not that bad. I'd go home for dinner though on the weekend and they would say how they saw my street on the news that day. They wanted me to move back home.
EF - They've been fairly supportive though?
SB - Oh, yes. In terms of the acting I hadn't worked all that much because I sang with the rock band for so long. I'd be coming home with different color hair everyday and big earrings. My parents would come to these real dives to see us play. We'd always find a little place in the corner for my mother so she wouldn't get hurt by anyone dancing (laughing). Geez, they'd end up in topless bars. They were always supportive though.
EF - Was it real heavy rock?
SB - Not really. We played in a lot of heavy rock venues but we were influenced by the U2, R.E.M. sound. Closer to actually what Nirvana turned into or Pearl Jam.
EF - Now, you wrote the songs. Did you play an instrument too?
SB - I played very little. I played a little bit on the keyboards but I mostly sang.
EF - Does song writing come easy to you? What inspires you?
SB - Not being an accomplished musician, it made it sort of difficult to convey what I was hearing in my head sometimes, but forced me to be really clear with those around me. I still enjoy writing and try to every day. A lot of my songs came from a journal type of writing. Musically, I'm very inspired by things like the outdoors and the weather. I also strongly believe in the sensuality of music and its ability to inspire passion which is why I've always been swayed by rock music. The raw energy is what I like best.
EF - Was your goal then to always go into acting?
SB - Well, I was actually doing both at the same time. I was in school getting my BFA in acting, directing, and playing in the band. I would be in school all day with classes until 4:00pm, rehearse in some play I was involved in from 6:00pm to 10:00pm and go to a studio from like midnight to 4:00 in the morning and then get ready for an 8:00am class. Eventually I had to make a decision and see what was going to give. Since I was spending all my money on school, I stayed with the acting.
EF - You don't do that much of the band thing anymore?
SB - No, not really. The thing about The Last Session though is it felt like being back in the band. We were given the arrangements to the songs initially. We were allowed to play within them much like you do in a band. You sit and figure out vocal chords and what sounds best where. A lot of our rehearsals turned into jam sessions. For me, I was so at home.
EF - So, you had a lot of creative freedom in developing your role of Buddy in The Last Session?
SB - Yes! Jim (Brochu, director) really encouraged us to go with it. He knew when to pull in the reigns. He knew when to say it was too much.
EF - The role of Buddy is rather complex. There is so much to this guy. How did you approach the part?
SB - (after some serious thought) - As honestly as possible. It is so out there. In order to believe him it has to be with the utmost conviction. To tell someone they are basically going to hell because they are gay... come on. There was the challenge. It was to yell hell fire at somebody and believe it at the same time. To get the audience to believe that I believed it was necessary.
EF - Did it ever just turn your stomach when you were saying some of those derogatory lines?
SB - Essentially Buddy is the antagonist. As an actor you realize the character doesn't know he's the bad guy. Buddy believed in his thoughts and actions as wholeheartedly as possible. You know it is a lot like Cal, the character I play in The Fix. Cal is just a kid at the top of this. He is thrown into the world of politics. He figures he'll do whatever anyone tells him to do. He changes toward the end of the play. He makes the same kind of arc Buddy makes.
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