Poor Behavior Star Brian Avers Talks Hangover Cures, Weekends Upstate & Irish Charm
August 15th, 2014
by Josh Ferri
It's hard to decide if you are rooting for or against Ian, the worst behaved of the four married folks spending a weekend upstate, in Theresa Rebeck's fantastic new play Poor Behavior. It helps that TV and stage actor Brian Avers is just so captivating as the Irish miscreant that you can't hold his bad behavior against him; it's a real must-see performance this summer. Below, BroadwayBox grills Avers about Irish culture, weekends upstate and the early inspiration who shaped his own directing style.
1. My favorite film, book or play set in Ireland is:
Oh my goodness, so many options. Film: The Commitments — 1991 gritty rock n’ soul comedy directed by Alan Parker—totally holds up. Book: The Dubliners, by James Joyce. It’s Joyce at his most human. Play: The Lieutenant of Inishmore, by Martin McDonagh — shockingly brilliant top to bottom, and it was my Broadway debut, so a tough one to beat.
2. My favorite word to say in the Irish accent is probably:
None of my top five are appropriate to print…so I’ll go with “Darling.” Purr that one to the ladies, and you begin to understand the charm of the Irish.
3. My go-to bottle of wine to bring to dinner parties and such:
I’m more likely to bring Woodford Reserve, a perfect Kentucky bourbon, but if wine is on the menu, my general rule is find the most interesting looking Pinot Noir in the $25 range. Usually a safe bet in any company.
4. My ultimate hangover cure:
Two Ibuprofen, a very large glass of water, and another hour in bed. Then: a strong iced coffee (no milk), and a huge plate of Irish breakfast, of course: two eggs over medium, crispy toast, ham, sausage, blood pudding, baked beans and potatoes, all mixed up on a platter, with Tabasco sauce liberally applied… Heaven.
5. If I had to spend a whole weekend upstate with either Ian or my NCIS character Mike Renko, I’d pick:
Audiences might not agree with me here, but I’m going with IAN. He’s brilliant, emotional, charismatic, sharp-witted, political, personal, and an absolute truth-teller — of which there are far too few in this world. But he behaves so poorly, you say? This is a very particular weekend and very particular circumstances, I say.
(Also, Mike Renko is dead, bless his soul. And I find dead people make terribly awkward dinner companions. Too many lulls in conversation.)
6. Between Poor Behavior and the film I directed, The Weekend, the biggest lesson I’ve learned about weekend get-togethers is:
That they are all, inevitably, metaphors for life: we come together, we drink, we eat, we play, we laugh, we fight, we flirt, we (make love), we actively pursue a deeper connection and intimacy with the people we care about the most, we try to survive the others, and then… before we’re ever fully ready… it’s over.
7. Of all the esteemed directors I’ve worked with, my own directing style was inspired most by:
I think I have to say Bronwynn Hopton, my high school drama teacher. I’ve been blessed to work with some of the best, and I’ve been inspired and informed by all of them, but Mrs. H was a local legend — she did about 12 fully staged plays a year (no I’m not kidding), tons of her kids went on to a life in the arts, and as a director she was a living Peter Pan. Her values were “never stop working, never stop caring, tell huge stories, tell them the way they’re meant to be told, tell them with the biggest heart you’ve got, make em laugh, make em cry, and let’s do whatever it takes to get there — even if it means borrowing my family’s furniture or giving you an exact line reading — because the show must go on…” That still feels like gospel to me.
See Brian Avers and his Irish accent in ‘Poor Behavior’ at the Duke on 42nd Street through September 7.