We had the good fortune of connecting with Joseph Bricker and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Joseph, we’d love to start by asking you about lessons learned. Is there a lesson you can share with us?
Truthfully, the most important lesson I’ve learned from working as an artist is that having money to start out with gives you a huge advantage. A lot of the opportunities creatives are given to break into whatever they’re wanting to do are pay-to-play in disguise. Participate in a festival? Drop a $500 participation fee. Print your comic? Pay for printing and shipping. Get seen by a casting director or agent? Hand over a “workshop/showcase” fee. Self-tapes? Don’t forget to buy a backdrop and a good light and a tripod and editing software. I’m not saying you don’t need to have talent, but money opens a lot of doors. Even being able to afford training in whatever art you practice is a privilege.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My passion has always been connecting with people and sharing experiences. As an actor, there’s nothing I love more than live performance. There’s something incredibly special about sharing space with others and watching, feeling, breathing as a group.

When I create pieces, my goal is to both subvert and honor traditional storytelling practices, our understanding of what acting “should” be, in order get at something deeper and more honest. My 2019 show, “The Self-Portrait Project,” was all about that — stripping away all of our notions of what theatre is supposed to be, what WE are supposed to be, and seeing what remains when all of that is gone. Who are we when someone isn’t looking at us? If we are watching ourselves, is there EVER a time when someone isn’t looking at us? What is the story we tell ourselves about ourselves?

It gets heady, which is not really a space I thought I’d be occupying. But performing “Self-Portrait” Off-Broadway as part of the United Solo festival is probably one of my proudest moments. It was the first time that I got to do something really cool without riding somebody else’s coattails. I’ve had some awesome opportunities, but they usually been because I had a friend or someone who brought me along or opened a door. Doing the Solo fest was a blind submission, and they liked what I had to offer enough to include me.

When it comes to my writing, my goals are similar — taking the familiar and putting it on its head. My brother, John, has similar sensibilities, I think. That’s what makes our partnership on our comic, “Bobo & J-5: Journey to the Planet Pie,” so successful. We both have a twisted sense of humor, and we like dissonance. That’s why the characters are so cartoony, but the environment is bleak and uncaring.

At the end of the day, what I’m trying to get across is that life can be very hard, and the world can be unforgiving. And, ultimately, we are all alone. But, truly, I don’t think I’m a pessimist. I think there is reason for hope and love and kindness. But to really get there, we need to be honest. Honest about struggle, honest about insecurity, honest about money. Because even if we’re all alone, we’re alone together.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live in Westchester, so you’ve just GOTTA stop by and hear the planes flying overhead. Often, when I have friends visit, I’ll take them to a local bookstore. I have connections to The Book Jewel in Westchester, but there’s also a new bookstore opening up, The Salt Eaters in Inglewood, that I’m very excited about. Then maybe we’ll go to the beach, and chill out at The Prince O’ Whales in Playa del Ray.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Huge shoutout to all of my teachers (OTMS, CCS, MTKC, BVN, UMN/Guthrie, Antaeus — give it up!), thank you to my family for supporting and inspiring me. Especially my brother John, whose partnership and creativity has taken our projects to places I could never have imagined.

Website: www.JosephBricker.com

Instagram: @joseph.bricker

Image Credits
PH Studios, John Charles Bricker, Chance Theater, Shark Balloon Productions

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