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March 10, 2011

The Art of Living – Kevin Bundy

A regular on the Soulpepper stage, Kevin Bundy has appeared in many productions, including Glengarry Glen Ross, Jitters, A Christmas Carol, King Lear, and Fool for Love. Kevin is a veteran of the Stratford and Shaw festivals, and a graduate of the National Theatre School. Kevin reprises his role as Tom in The Time of Your Life.

I first came across The Time of Your Life when I was enrolled in the Drama program at the Banff School of Fine Arts way back in the summer of 1983. We worked on scenes from the play (I was Dudley R. Bostwick back then) and I remember falling in love with it. Someone else fell in love with the play that summer too and his name was Albert Schultz.

In 2007 Albert programmed the play in the Soulpepper season and now here we are in 2011 getting a chance to work on it again. There are several things I love about this chance. One is obvious I guess – the words of the play itself and some of the great things that get said by the many colourful characters that wander through “Nicks Pacific Street Restaurant, Saloon, and Entertainment Palace.” I love sitting back in rehearsal and listening to lines like, “Living is an art. It’s not bookkeeping. It takes a lot of rehearsing for a man to get to be himself.”

Or when young Harry comes into the bar full of hope and promise and says, “Some things count more than some other things… Talent, for instance, counts more than money.” Or when the character of Joe tries to reveal a little of himself to Tom and philosophizes – “The world’s trying to get some sort of a social conscience, but it’s having a devil of a time trying to do that…. Money is the guiltiest thing in the world.” I love the words of this play and it’s a treat to be able to revisit them again.

The Time of Your Life

Stuart Hughes, Kevin Bundy & Joseph Ziegler in The Time of Your Life. Photo: Sandy Nicholson.

The other thing I love about coming back to this play and this character is getting a chance to be onstage with some of my favourite actors, namely, Joe Ziegler. Many of the Soulpepper audience members don’t know what a thrill it is to be in a rehearsal hall with Joe. One minute he’ll be making you laugh with some goofy gag with his hat and the next he’ll be fervently discussing a poignant moment in the play and weeping. His passion, fun and love for the work is infectious and everyone walks out of that rehearsal hall at the end of the call knowing their day was a little more enriched.

I’m so lucky to get the chance to work with Joe, on this play, with the deft touch of Albert at the helm. So thank you Albert for remembering this play from that summer so many years ago!

Kevin Bundy photo by Sandy Nicholson.