BWW Interviews: Alfredo Narciso of NYTW's RED DOG HOWLS
Narciso has appeared at NYTW in The Misanthrope. His Broadway credits include Motherf***er with the Hat and A Streetcar Named Desire. Off-Broadway he has appeared in Chimichangas and Zoloft (Atlantic), The Ugly One (Soho Rep/Play Co.), and The Drunken City (Playwrights Horizons). The actor's film and TV credits include The Guys, Living & Dining, Elliot Loves, "Blue Bloods," "Unforgettable,” "Person of Interest," and "L&O: Criminal Intent.”
The talented actor chatted with BWW about his latest role of Michael Kiriakos, a man who digs up buried family secrets and uncovers a past he never knew existed.
Can you tell us about your character, Michael Kiriakos, in Red Dog Howls.
We first meet Michael Kiriakos when he is 34 years old. His father has just died and he has found a box of letters in the back of his father's closet. He ends up writing down the return address of the letters and seeks out the location of it and he finds this old Armenian relative. And from that point forward, things just start to unravel. He is basically a man who is on a journey of self-discovery, confused about who he is. He's filled with sorrow and pain and he's basically trying to locate the source of his pain.
How did you prepare for the role?
Well I always do a lot of research when I work on a role. I've been reading a lot. I watched a lot of documentaries, and I read a book called 'Armenian Golgotha' by Grigoris Balakian and a book called 'Black Dog of Fate' by Peter Balakian. And it's interesting to read their stories and hear their personal accounts about what it's like to be Armenian and aoubt their history. And of course, being in the room with everybody in the cast and seeing what develops.
Are there parts of the character that you can relate to personally?
Yeah definitely! I think everybody has those parts of them. Everybody has their sorrow and their pain and every family has their dysfunction and compartmentalizes, and it's hard to identify exactly what it is sometimes and I think that's exactly what Michael is going through. I think everybody goes through that in their life.
You've also done TV work. Do you have a preference for live theater versus acting in front of a camera.
I do actually prefer theater. I love to rehearse, to discover and then to go out every night in front of an audience just to keep discovering, see how the performance goes. It's fun to work in television and film too but you get one shot at it and then you have to live with what's up there. So there's something really nice about being able to go out there every night and try and see what new things can come out.
And have the response from the audience.
Yes, there's something really beautiful about that. It feels more like a ritual or a tradition when you go on stage in the theater.
At what point did you know that you wanted to pursue acting as a career?
Well, I kind of knew very early on in high school. It was kind of funny - it was very serendipitous actually. I was primarily interested in music but some kid dropped out of the high school play and, I actually still have the script, he wrote "I QUIT' on it. And so then I went in for him and did that production of 'See How They Run' by Philip King and I just really got sucked into it. I was like, 'Wow, this is so great!' And from that point forward, that was it.
Did you come right to New York after high school?
Right out of high school I went to University of Wisconsin Eau Claire and got my degree from there and when I graduated, well, I'm what they call a 'super senior', it took me a long time to graduate, about 6 years. But then I moved to New York and I wanted to study with Uta Hagen actually but she never taught when I was there, she was always performing and she never taught while she was performing. So I ended up working at HB Studio, her school, and also started working down at the Free Theater and that was sort of my entrance into the theater world in New York.