At Brooklyn Acting Lab, we’re speaking to past and present BAL Teaching Artists about their dreams, artistic passions, and work in the field of teaching and theatre.
Here’s Naren Weiss, who worked with BAL in our summer intensives and Play in a Day.
What are you up to now?
I just finished working on a Rajiv Joseph premiere at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, called Guards at the Taj. I’m always writing something or the other, and I’ve now just begun work on a new piece that I’m quickly falling in love with.
What’s your favorite way to create?
In a room, with a bunch of similarly crazy, passionate people.
What’s your favorite project you’ve ever worked on?
I never had a younger sister. Growing up, it was a dream to tell the story of a man who goes to the ends of the earth for his little sister. As time went on, I kind of let that go. Earlier in 2015, I got to do my dream role; the role of Musa in Rajiv Joseph’s Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo. I got to tell the story of a man who lost his sister and, even after her removal from his life, had no choice but to continue attempting to live on – for her. The story is dark and twisted and was a dream come true for me as an actor for two reasons: one, because I got to work on Rajiv Joseph’s material for the first time and I feel a very intimate connection with his writing (perhaps because of our identical ethnic mixes); and, two, because the role itself transitioned me from boy to man, and from aspirant to actor. There are many experiences that have been ‘favorites’, but this one will always stand out.
If you could talk to your ten-year-old self, what would you tell them?
Hey, you know that crazy dream you have for yourself and your life? Don’t change a thing. It’s going to come true.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Shapeshifting. And, honestly, I think that’s why I act.
What advice do you have for young artists?
Leave your ego at the door. The second you acknowledge that you’ve stopped learning, you’ve stopped growing. And that’s a dangerous thing for both an artist and a human being.
What advice do you have for all artists?
It’s not about how far you travel in life, it’s about how much you learn along the way.