“Let’s just jump in the car!” Said no one going on tour ever. Critically acclaimed actor, David William Bryan is back to tell us how he prepares for his version of the Olympics Games.
What is your day like in the month leading up to a run?
I don’t actually keep track of all the crazy amounts of things I have to get done. It tends to go in stints. Before a long run like the Vaults or the Fringe, I spend time training to get into peak physical shape.
My days consist of getting up about six. I go around the corner to a hotel where I sit in the coffee shop and I get to work. I organise more dates; I do artwork; I edit video.
I started a mentoring group for actors and answer questions in there to help people who are not as far along as I am. After I do as many hours as I can, I go and work out.
In the afternoon, I rehearse. I eat well, go to bed at a reasonable time and repeat. That will be my last month but it varies. To be honest, it depends on the narrative I am living on social media. The Vaults is sort of my Winter Olympics and the Edinburgh Fringe is my Summer Olympics.
Do your incredible ticket sales for In Loyal Company bring added pressure?
No. It is all rooted in the absolute fact that I 100% believe in what I’m doing. If I didn’t 100% believe in that, I wouldn’t do it. Honestly, it’s just a relief when I see a full audience. It’s a lot easier to perform to a full audience than it is a few people. Every moment is elongated. When they laugh, they laugh for three seconds and not one. You have more time to regroup and that compounds over time. It feels like you’re soaring rather than trudging through treacle.
Do you use the same crew for each show?
I have one tech guy who goes with me everywhere. That’s it. On that side, it was important to me to find the right person to work with because I didn’t want somebody’s creative vision. I knew what I wanted.
I actually tracked down a guy that I had worked with and I said, “Look, how would you feel having more creative input than you would have normally as a tech operator?” And he loved it. I would say where and when I needed an explosion and he would go away and find a bunch of different ways of doing it. He would come back to me, I would pick the one I wanted rather than him plonking his artistic vision onto mine.
It was a nice middle ground. We work extremely well together and we know each other really well. To me, it was more important to me for him to go to every single show and pay him well than have a less good show because I have to teach someone new at every venue.
Is it lonesome working and touring mostly on your own?
We don’t talk enough about the cost of communication. As soon as you add more people that cost grows exponentially. When you get to four people, you have eight or ten lines of communication. It becomes incredibly inefficient. That is one of the reasons why at this early stage, just as I am starting to piece together a team, because I’m reaching my maximum capacity for workload, I tend to keep everything as simple as possible. I literally rock up with a backpack and my costume.
That being said, I am naturally a loner. I am more than happy on my own. I just like getting on with it. The thing that I found about collaborating is that I work fast over crazy amounts of hours and it is rare to find people who want to do that. It is natural for me to get up and get on with it.
Stay tuned for the final part of our conversation with David: Finding my self-worth: David William Bryan on why he does one-person shows.
See ‘Fragility of Man’ at the Edinburgh Fringe, 31 July – 26 August, 2019 at The Pleasance. Book your tickets here.
See in ‘In Loyal Company’ on tour:
- April 13th – Market Theatre – Ledbury
- April 27th – Everyman Theatre – Cheltenham
- May 3rd – Darwen Library Theatre – Blackburn
- May 4th – Rotherham Theatre – Rotherham
- May 11th – Corn Exchange – Wallingford
- May 17th – Cornerstone Arts Centre – Didcot
- June 7th and 8th – Swallow Theatre – Dumfries and Galloway – Scotland
- June 10th – New Wimbledon Theatre – London
- July 5th – The Stables Theatre – Hastings
- July 31st – August 26th – Pleasance – Edinburgh Fringe
- September 6th & 7th – East Riding Theatre – Hull
- October 4th – Red Rose Chain Theatre – Ipswich