The Interview: Jane Bradley
Interview conducted by Michael Raver
Jane Bradley is one of those beautifully transformative actors who can do anything. She’s not afraid to embrace silliness—in fact, she often leans into it. She’s also a director and a writer, lending that selfsame gentle wit which makes her stage performances so captivating. Hailing from Connecticut, Bradley went on to get her MFA from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and has been pounding the theatrical pavement Stateside for a number of years. This summer, she returns to work on Two Noble Kinsman with The Drilling Company.
How has your pandemic been?
My primary feelings are ones of gratitude. I’ve been very fortunate, in many ways. I’m healthy. My loved ones are healthy. I live in a safe, relatively quiet neighborhood where I was able to hunker down for the duration. I’ve had a day job that continued to employ me (miraculously) and let me work totally remotely. So, in many ways, I feel so lucky. But, it’s also been really hard. I’ve missed acting, the performing arts, this city, my friends and family…everything.
How did you stay creative during the last year and a half?
I’ve been able to harness a few bursts of creative energy. I started an initiative called Swapologues for my actor/writer friends. We’d write, exchange, and record each other’s original monologues over the course of a week. It was a fun way to generate new work and stay connected, with very low stakes. I’ve also upped my game in terms of the technical quality of my self-tapes, like so many actors I know. Necessity breeds invention. But, honestly—there were long stretches where I felt like I didn’t have a creative bone left in my body. I took lots of long walks. Discovered a really beautiful hidden cemetery in my neighborhood. Baked some weird gluten-free recipes. Napped. Survived.
What does it mean to you that things are opening up?
It’s totally overwhelming. I’m definitely continuing to exercise caution, masking up indoors, etc. I have multiple immunocompromised people in my life for whom the vaccine isn’t effective, so I’ve been hyper-aware of the risk as we move back towards “normal.” But, I’m also so relieved to be back in a rehearsal room, back on the subway, back on a stage. So relieved.
Are you back to auditioning? How does that feel?
I’ve actually been auditioning for commercials via self-tape for a good few months—things started shooting again this winter, and in the past couple of months it seems like production has really ramped up. No in-person auditions though. It’s all just me, alone, in my bedroom, setting up box lights and fiddling with tripods. Sometimes my (very patient) husband helps out. Definitely not the same as a casting office. I never thought I’d say it, but I miss ’em.
How did you first get involved with The Drilling Company?
I was introduced to the Drilling Company in 2014 after I’d just finished grad school in the UK and moved back to NYC. I read a glowing New York Times review of their production of C. Denby Swanson’s The Norwegians, and noted that the lead actress, Karla Hendrick, had gone to Mount Holyoke—my alma mater. Being the proactive, precocious little recent graduate I was, I reached out to Karla and asked if she’d meet me for a coffee. She introduced me to the Drilling Co‘s artistic director, Hamilton Clancy, and then, through a crazy turn of events, I ended up taking over for another actress who had to drop out of their Parking Lot production of Othello three days before they opened. The rest is history, I guess.
How did rehearsal go?
Fast and furious. We had three or four zoom rehearsals, I believe, and three in-person rehearsals. And then, we opened. It was completely insane. Drilling Company rehearsals tend to be truncated, but this was a stretch, even for us. Thankfully, we have a veteran company of incredibly talented, gung-ho folks for this production, so we made it work.
How have audiences been responding to the play?
The audiences have been a dream. So invested and enthusiastic — clearly so happy to be back at the theatre (parking lot/park). And I’m right there with ’em. It’s pure joy.
Tickets for Two Noble Kinsman are free to the public. For more information about performance dates & locations, visit: https://drillingcompany.org/
For more information about Jane Bradley, visit https://www.jane-bradley.com