Known for such outrageous roles as Hedwig (in Hedwig and the Angry Inch), the emcee in Cabaret and the negligee-clad lead singer of local band The Love Markets, Seattle actor Nick Garrison has taken on a new character—Alan, in the relationship comedy/drama This—who is, shockingly, a pretty regular guy. Times and prices vary. Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St.; 206.443.2222; seattlerep.org
BD: What drew you to the role of Alan?
NG: After playing a number of women, transgender people, sight gags and metaphors (I seem to get cast as metaphors a lot), I figured I should tackle the ultimate acting challenge: the role of an acerbic, lonely, awkward, alcoholic gay man in his late 30s. It’s going to be a huge stretch, but something tells me I’m up for it.
BD: You chose this role over the lead in Jesus Christ Superstar at the Village Theatre. Do you still get to sing?
NG: There are no musical moments written in for Alan, but there are a few things one can look for in any of my performances. I usually find a way to a) do some kind of spit take, b) mispronounce at least three words in the script (it’s just funny to me), and c) sing at least some bit of dialogue. Right now, the front-runner is the line “I bet you did.” True, it’s no “Gethsemane” from Jesus Christ Superstar, but something about it makes me feel it needs to be belted!
BD: Alan is gay and acerbic. How do you avoid making him a stereotype?
NG: I am going straight for the bitchy queen stereotype on this one! No, but seriously, my character is not bitchy in the least. He is just a particular person going through a particularly difficult time in his life who happens to care very deeply for his friends, has an exceedingly witty way of expressing himself, and doesn’t always have the best sense of timing or decorum. I love him very much already and I guess that’s how one avoids stereotyping in acting or just in life in general; you have to love people regardless.