Meet The Artist:
An Interview with Hardy Koenig, Ray, Blackbird
Blackbird by David Harrower
Fifteen years ago, Una and Ray had a relationship. They haven’t set eyes on each other since. Now she’s found him again. Winner of the Olivier Award for Best Play, Blackbird is a deeply complex portrayal of two people whose ruined lives are inextricably intertwined after a sexual encounter.
What is your theatrical background?
I teach theatre at NDSU in Fargo, I have an MFA in Acting from the University of North Carolina Greensboro.
What role in the theater do you find the most rewarding?
I think deep down I appreciate the moments when my students do well and reach some kind of ah-ha moment. So I guess I appreciate being a professor, although acting and directing have always been my thing.
Have you done a show at NDSU recently?
I directed LATE: A COWBOY SONG, this semester at NDSU. It was an amazing experience. All student actors and designers. We had a blast.
What is your history with Theatre B?
This is my 4th show with Theatre B: The Seafarer; Red; Vanya, Sonya, Masha and Spike; and now Blackbird. My first show at B, The Seafarer, brings back great memories; it was a wonderful cast and professionally done. I also really enjoyed working on Red as an actor with my wife Lori directing.
Tell me about your character, Ray, in Blackbird.
Ray has worked hard for the past 15 years trying to forget his past, create a new life after doing something he shouldn’t have done, something he went to prison for. When he is confronted by Una, he goes through amazing trials as he tries to figure out how to confront his past. He has created a life that he is comfortable with and now is trying to figure out how to protect that life.
What have you found challenging about this role?
The subject matter is hard, I have to go there and get in this guys head, why he did what he did and try to tell his story. I have to find the reasons he did it, I have to forgive him/myself and try to move on. It is very hard, exhausting as we work on this great piece of work, digging, digging always deeper. On the other hand, it is a story that needs to be told. There are many people in the same straits without a voice. This is a work that I think allows some deep thought on an important subject.
Interview by Emily Clemenson