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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Left-handed actor learns guitar for role

    Matthew Bowdren is a theatre production senior and a cast member in the Arizona Repertory Theatres Bus Stop.  He had to learn had to play guitar for his role as Virgil Blessing.
    Matthew Bowdren is a theatre production senior and a cast member in the Arizona Repertory Theatre’s ‘Bus Stop.’ He had to learn had to play guitar for his role as Virgil Blessing.

    Matthew Bowdren, 21, is a theatre production senior. He can currently be seen through Oct. 28 as Virgil Blessing in the Arizona Repertory Theatre production of “”Bus Stop.”” For ticket information, contact the UA Fine Arts Box Office at 621-1162.

    Arizona Daily Wildcat: So, what other shows have you been in at the UA and what roles have you had?

    Bowdren: I’ve been in eight shows here. I did a show called “”Tartuffe.”” In “”Biloxi Blues”” I played Arnold Epstein.

    W: Which one do you remember the most?

    B: “”Biloxi Blues.””

    W: Why?

    B: It’s a wonderful play, and the part I got to play is a really fascinating part. It’s got everything in it and it is just extremely well written. And, I got to examine a lot of darker elements for a show that is written to be kind of a fluffy comedy in a way.

    W: Why don’t you tell me a little bit about the role you are in right now in “”Bus Stop.””

    B: I am playing Virgil Blessing in “”Bus Stop”” by William Inge and it is the part of Bo’s best friend, who grew up with him on the ranch. He is kind of stuck in the middle of a lot of people.

    W: Without giving away too much of the ending for people who haven’t seen it yet, where do you see Virgil’s life going?

    B: The director and I talked about this and kind of came to the conclusion that Virgil probably ends up in a small town working as like a cook for a long time, kind of by himself. You know those crazy old men who sit on a horse and drink Jack Daniels all day? That’s him.

    W: Which part of the rehearsal process takes the most out of you or that you as an actor have to devote the most effort to?

    B: Well, it is a lot of independent thought to really know what you are doing, how you are doing it and what you and the director want to accomplish together. It is definitely collaborative. So I would say a lot of thought and energy really goes into finding a place in the show, finding what you accomplish and how that serves the greater goal of the piece. How I like to think of it is every part is part of a bigger picture. So that time it takes, especially with “”Bus Stop,”” to fit every story to serve this greater purpose takes a long time.

    W: What is a memorable part of the show for you? Not necessarily your character, but just overall, what are some memorable parts?

    B: I think there are some great little moments in there. The floorshow we do is hysterical. Everyone in the show has come up with a bunch of really clever characters. I had to learn to play guitar, so that is memorable for me.

    W: So you didn’t know how to play guitar before this experience?

    B: No. And, I can only play the two songs that are required of me in the show.

    W: Do you think you’ll try to learn even more songs?

    B: I would love to. I would really love to. But, I am left-handed so …

    W: Everything is flipped around?

    B: Right. It is confusing. But, if I had a chance to, I would. Guitars are expensive.

    W: And, the ultimate question, Los Angeles or New York?

    B: Probably New York. I just like theater better.

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