Winning the invisible audience

by Simon de Carvalho '14

In anticipation of this weekend's HRDC four show run of David Henry Hwang’s Tony Award-winning M. Butterfly, I spoke with John Lithgow ’67, who played René Gallimard in the original 1988 run of the show, about the play and his experience at Harvard. This time, I caught up with Andy Boyd ’14, who is playing the role of Gallimard in HRDC's current take on the play, to talk about some of the same topics.

How did you approach the complex role of René Gallimard and the play as a whole?

I viewed it as an opportunity to tell people a story for two hours. A large chunk of the play is really just me talking to the audience about a really crazy story. I am really interested in first-person narrative, especially in a performance context. For example, Swimming to Cambodia is one of my favorite plays. I didn't really even get too far into analysis of what I want from other characters, which is shameful. My character is basically trying to win the audience to his side, to redeem his honor, as he puts it. We basically do this all the time: We win our invisible audience to our way of seeing. It wasn't all that hard, given that we are all so used to it.

Is there a favorite moment you have in the play?

When my character says, "I am a man who loved a woman created by a man. Everything else simply falls short."

What are you thinking of studying?

I'll probably do History with a Dramatic Arts secondary. That feels good right now.