BWW Interview: FIRE IN DREAMLAND's Kyle Beltran on Resilience, Re-Building, and Reigniting the Light
No stranger to The Public Theater, Kyle Beltran, has performed in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Head of Passes, and The Fortress of Solitude, and now returns to the stage for Fire in Dreamland. Coming to audiences from playwright, Rinne Groff and directed by Marissa Wolf, this thought-provoking play examines uncovering possibility and new life in the face of destruction. Beltran plays Lance, a young man who is moving from youth into adulthood and dealing with all the challenges that come up along the way.
BroadwayWorld had the chance to catch up with the talented actor about the major themes of the play, relating to devastation and human resilience; his character's journey in navigating his place in the world; and his advice for finding the way out of life's fires.
Bonus! We also talk excitement for the 2020 In the Heights movie with this Broadway and national tour alum of the Tony-Winning musical.
How have performances been going so far?
It's been a very busy but exciting few weeks! We've had the opportunity to go through the staging and really see the shape of the play stand on its own two feet. It's also been a great time for bonding with our incredible cast!
You've performed quite a bit at The Public Theater. What makes that so special for you?
It really does feel like a second home! I'm so grateful to be a part of this community and am so fond of all the talented individuals I get to work with. I feel so proud to work with The Public Theater and love that they put on so many innovative productions that give a voice to so many different groups of people. I'm also so amazed by all of the history that exists here and the pure grandeur of the physical space!
The messages of the play are so powerful - being able to find potential and inspiration, even in times of despair and destruction - and certainly provide food for thought. Can you talk a little bit about that impact?
Our writer, Rinne [Groff] and our director, Marissa [Wolf] do such an incredible job of dealing with the macro issues - devastation, the idea of community, and how its people are impacted by disaster - while allowing paying very close attention to the characters' own personal stories. It a very nice balance between the macro and micros issues in the plot, dealing with how we survive as human beings and find resilience, as we aim to make the world a better place. It's such a beautiful story of a woman finding her way out of personal loss among the collective community loss, when it comes to disaster. There's also some really interesting imagery of Coney Island and what is was before man came in, as well as how it's been affected by development and re-built over time.
Your character, Lance, is a young man trying to find his way in the world. Describe his journey of self-discovery and the greatest lessons he's learned.
Lance is in a time in his young life where he is trying to find himself; who he is going to be; who he is going to love; etc., as he moves into adulthood. He is in a place of searching and that's what also helps connect him to others.
He's also a lot of fun to play and has this dry sense of humor. He's honest, straightforward, has a big heart, but can also be a bit prickly at the same time. He's relatable because his emotions reflect what life is like - we laugh as much as we cry!
Exactly! Do you have any personal advice for how we can look for the light in times of darkness?
The times we are living in can sometimes be very dark and chaotic. We all have times of fear and stress, but it is up to us to lift ourselves up and find our way out of the fire, love each other, and fight for what we believe in. All we can do each day is our best to be kind and compassionate - the human condition requires a lot of resilience.
Well said! I have to ask, how excited are you about the In the Heights movie?
I am so thrilled! That show is full of so much joy and I can't think of a better time to share these important messages around triumphing over difficulty and finding a place to call home. I hope as many people as possible can get their eyes on it when it hits theaters!
FIRE IN DREAMLAND began performances in The Public's Anspacher Theater on Tuesday, June 19 and runs through Sunday, August 5 with an official press opening on Monday, July 16. Tickets are available by calling (212) 967-7555, visiting www.publictheater.org, or in person at the Taub Box Office at The Public Theater at 425 Lafayette Street.
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus