Randy Burt balancing work and art in Stephenville Theatre Festival role

Frank Gale fgale@thewesternstar.com
Published on July 31, 2014

Randy Burt, top, performs in "The Birthday Party," along with from left: (front) Sara Tilley, Erica Anderson and Jonathan Silver.

Christopher Vaughn photo

Putting his own spin on his character in “The Birthday Party” is Randy Burt’s favourite part of the experience of performing with the Stephenville Theatre Festival.

“When you’re the first person to play that part you can put that spin on it,” he said in a Wednesday interview at College of the North Atlantic, where he works.

Burt was making reference to Tuesday night’s premiere of “The Birthday Party,” a comedy in which he portrays somewhat of a peculiar character who is quite removed from Burt’s real-life persona.

This is Burt’s first year with the festival, after getting into acting back in 2006 when he played a small part in a production by Bay Theatre, a local amateur theatre group. Since then, he’s been turned on to live theatre and has also done some work with 2nd Stage Players.

He’s done everything from serious drama to comedies to farce, but tends to lean towards comedy.

As Eric in “The Birthday Party,” that’s exactly the type of work he’s doing. His character is in a support group with Joan’s boyfriend Eddy. Eric is the one person Joan doesn’t want at her birthday party, but he gets invited anyway.

Eric’s the type of person that writes depressing and morbid songs and wants to sing them to people, and he and Joan are complete opposites. In an already tense atmosphere, Eric arrives at Joan’s party and quickly realizes there are problems.

“It’s a lot of fun to be that guy, the one who comes in and breaks the ice for a couple of minutes,” he said.

In addition to that part, Burt is doing a monologue by Kenneth J. Harvey in “Music from Home” and playing three roles in the family show “Jack Meets the Cat.”

He found the monologue to be the more challenging, as he had to bring the emotions of this person to the stage.

“It was a challenge but an enjoyable experience and I’m definitely enjoying doing this piece,” he said.

Juggling work and the festival is also a challenge, but one that Burt is meeting. He recently took a couple of days off work from his job in finance and accounts receivable at the college to keep up with the workload.

Despite those challenges, he said he would absolutely do it again.

“It’s numbers at work and letters at night, but I’m certainly enjoying it all.”

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