Brian Colonna on Buntport Theater's role in Captured in Film
After thirteen years with Buntport Theater, actor Brian Colonna knows his fellow collaborators and they know him. They write together. They perform together. They even share directorial responsibilities. As a result, they have built one of the funniest theater troupes in Colorado. But sometimes, they know each other so well that they risk creative stagnation -- and that's one of the few risks they refuse to entertain. So to combat any chance of stagnation, they embark on projects with other organizations that will push them in new directions. Captured in Film, Buntport's most recent collaboration with Augustana Arts, Musica Sacra Chamber Orchestra and CU Denver Film, premieres this weekend; in advance of this musical, theatrical, cinematic extravaganza, Westword spoke with Colonna about his role in the project.
Courtesy of David Liban/Tinyfist Films Buntport contributes vaudeville performances to Captured in Film.
Westword: Talk about Captured in Film.
Musica Sacra Chamber Orchestra asked us to come up with live entertainment between the showings of silent films as well as to create a silent film that shows at the end of the evening. It's one that was made by us, and I'm acting in that, as well as providing live entertainment between the classic films.
Talk about the production.
It's been fun. What is different about it from our other pieces is that we're building the live entertainment so that it fits in with the film at the end. That's something we haven't done before. The characters you see in the film are the same characters you see live.
This is your first collaboration with the chamber orchestra. How is it?
It's been amazing. It's not every day that you get to have a full orchestra underscore you. You're singing with a full orchestra. It's pretty incredible as a performer.
Talk about what's come up in the collaboration? What have been some of the high points?
I think that the rehearsal we had last week, where we got to play with the orchestra, was great because we added some moments of interacting with them. A lot of it is conceptual. We talk about the ideas, but then when we're actually rehearsing with the musicians, new stuff comes up. There are moments where my character interacts with the orchestra, and Hannah, who plays my wife, interacts with the orchestra. Her shtick is that she's unhappy that this orchestra is here, ostensibly in her living room, making all this noise. We had a good time playing with them.
Talk about your own relationship as an actor to silent film.
It's the first time we've ever tried to film a silent film. That was a challenge in and of itself. I'd say our ensemble has been pretty influenced by the performance style in silent film, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and the Marx Brothers. They're not quite silent film, but that era of vaudeville performance and then into silent film. It's a cornerstone of ours. Of course, there are lots of influences. I know for all of us -- and we've been working together for thirteen years -- our favorites in that category are Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. I think the reason is that they are pure physical performers. In theater, you talk about that. You talk about getting things across with your body and being physical and inhabiting a role, and those guys were some of the best ever at that kind of thing. It's a good challenge when you go into working on a silent film to figure out how to tell a story without dialogue and just with facial expressions. It's a good challenge as an actor.
Read on for more from Brian Colonna.