Who: Kieran Barry, CTC conservatory actor.
Barry has tackled a multitude of roles this summer, ranging from a sentient Eiffel Tower and more in the Young Playwrights Project early in the season, to a dual role as Flute and Egeus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, to his current role as Alan in CTC’s mainstage production of One Man, Two Guvnors.
Amidst the variety of personas he has donned this season, Barry said being himself around his fellow conservatory actors has been the highlight of his experience at Chautauqua.
To identify his favorite production of the season, his initial answer is the work he’s done on One Man, Two Guvnors.
“It was really just such a blast,” he said.
But upon further reflection, he pivoted after remembering his time working with the young playwrights of the YPP.
“It was an incredible experience,” Barry said. “It was so cool to do a project like that; I’ve never done anything like it. It was honestly inspiring.”
Where he’s from: Originally from Atlanta, Barry moved around a lot as a child due to his father’s work in the military. From Florida to Rhode Island to Mississippi, Barry finally settled across the country in California.
“And I’m staying in California for as long as I can,” Barry said.
His mother was a dancer, and once operated her own ballet studio, and Barry started out by pursuing dance as well. He dabbled in theater before deciding he wanted to major in computer science at Brown University.
But no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t stay away from the stage. He got into improv, which eventually led to a full-blown interest in theater.
“(Theater) just kept creeping back into my life,” Barry said. “Now it’s what I do, and what I love to do.”
He recently graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with his MFA in theater.
Favorite theater memory: “I don’t know that I have one,” Barry said.
While he’s enjoyed and appreciated each show he’s been in, he said that pinning down one particular experience to highlight felt antithetical to what he loves about acting.
“I love that it’s always a new challenge,” Barry said. “It’s not like, ‘Oh, I have this incredible experience that’s my crowning acting achievement,’ it’s that it’s a constant thing that I struggle with and work on and enjoy exploring.”
Favorite food: In the same way that he can’t quite pin down a favorite theater memory, Barry said it is impossible for him to pick a favorite food.
“The answer that I usually give is ice cream, because you can’t go wrong there,” Barry said. “But food is just so great. It all depends on how you’re feeling, and what you’ve already eaten, and how the food is prepared and so many other things, that I can’t pick one, definitive food.”
What he’s reading/watching/listening to: A lot less than he used to.
“I’m actually working on spending time doing nothing,” Barry said. “So a lot of the time that I would dedicate to engaging with stimuli, I try to spend doing less.”
To that end, Barry said he’s been reading information on how to meditate and how to garden, both more Zen, engaging activities.
Dream vacation: A tour of Asia.
Barry said it’s been a goal of his and his partner’s to make a circuit of the parts of Asia that have been least touched by Western culture and civilization. This includes countries like Thailand and Nepal, among others.
What’s next: In the short term, he’s heading back to California to continue pursuing theater, film and television.
In the long term, he’s staying in California to pursue film and television. Barry said the West Coast is where he sees himself staying for a long while.
“L.A. is definitely the place I want to be,” Barry said. “I think I can make a lot of good things happen there.”