Ensemble Interview: Langston Darby

We know you've been itching for another interview with one of our Bright Invention ensemble members, so here it is. We're talking to Langston Darby, teaching artist, actor, ComedySportz team member, of course a member of Bright Invention: The White Pines Ensemble, and so much more. 

So, let’s start with the basics. How would you describe improvised theatre to those who have no idea what that means?

Currently, to me, improvised theater is when you take the foundation tools and craft of an actor and spontaneously create dramatic performance. When I say "the foundation tools and craft of an actor" I mean stuff like making specific action choices, making character choices, allowing yourself to be emotionally vulnerable, etc.  When I say "dramatic performance", I mean in the literary definition of what "drama" is and the style of performance that comes from that: there is comedy and tragedy but overall it is theater.

Bright Invention: The White Pines Ensemble has been together for about 7 months. What has been the most memorable experience in working with these people so far?

I don't have an overall "most memorable experience" yet, but I will say that I am continually impressed by the quality, variety, and uniqueness of the of work we produce in shows and in rehearsal.  On Monday, I watched an engaging wordless scene involving two painters trying to one up each other;  I thought it was full of a kind of vitality that every performance tries to capture but sometimes lacks.

Now, Bright Invention has come to love performing with each other, but if you could throw any celebrity into the group, dead or alive, to improvise with who would it be and why?

Oh God, well... I just finished reading Marlon Brando's autobiography so I guess I'll say him for a couple of reasons.  First, he talked a good deal about improvisation in the book.  I don't know if Brando ever did the type of improvisation we do, but I think the improvisation that he used in his film work shares a lot of common fundamentals in the work that we do and that actors do in general.  Second, It would be interesting to experience working with such an iconic figure on a very primary, intimate level; to separate the actor from the myth. Brando talked about how he was never really "bitten by the acting bug", how he simply viewed his career as a  way to provide himself with the necessities of life, and about how acting was a way that he didn't mind doing that.  I think that might be shocking for some actors to hear.  Acting is not only a career but a passion to so many people, but I think it's actually kind of refreshing.  Just because Brando wasn't "in love" with acting doesn't mean he didn't respect it or put effort into it his work (though some might argue certain points in his career). I think he still respected the work of an actor and appreciated art in general for what it is and can do.  So yeah, Brando... sometime after he filmed the Streetcar movie and before he totally quit doing theater ( which was relatively early in his career by the way...).

Members of Bright Invention not only perform, but also teach for White Pines Productions. We’re starting session two classes very soon, do you have anything coming up you can tell us about?

Yes! I have a class coming up called "Scene Play.". We will study, rehearse, and perform scenes by American (mostly) playwrights. We will also study techniques and theories that make up the foundation of basic to "advanced" acting technique. 

For more information on "Scene Play"