We had the good fortune of connecting with Richard Baird and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Richard, what’s the most important lesson your business/career has taught you?
Be kind. At the end of the day, you’ll feel better. And so will others. Our business is difficult enough as it is without artists being at each others throats. And for those who prefer a more mercenary point of view- you never know who is talking about you. And wouldn’t you prefer if it were positive?
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about.
Let’s be clear at the commencement: it’s still not easy. You’d be hard pressed to find an artist who says it is. But. I. Love. The. Theatre. Monastically. If that isn’t a dirty word in the theatre. It’s true what John Steinbeck says “The theater is the only institution in the world which has been dying for four thousand years and has never succumbed. It requires tough and devoted people to keep it alive.” And during the current outbreak- it’s requiring all artists to be tougher than ever. As to what I’m most proud of? I don’t really pick favorites- I worry my roles will show up for revenge upon one another. I wouldn’t want them to get jealous.
I will be performing Lisa Peterson’s and Denis O’Hares adaptation of Robert Fagles “An Iliad” for the streaming theatre series at North Coast Repertory Theatre which will be airing this winter directed by David Ellenstein. It’s a one actor telling of Homers “Iliad” performed with one actor (me) and a cellist (Amanda Schaar).
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?
Oh there are many. I had wonderful teachers like Blair Hambuechen who threw coals on my fire in high school. Jerry Hager taught me how to move. Martin Katz helped inspire my direction. Jonathan McMurtry taught me humor. My Poor Players family. The San Diego Theatre Community. All the great Shakespearean performances I have seen. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Harold Pinter. Samuel Beckett. Anton Chekhov’s complete works. My cats that jump on my back and run into my shins. My dog Monty reminds me to live in the moment. All of my friends different passions. My folks for always seeing my shows. And when I can’t quite seem to get a moment right- my partner Amanda Schaar points me in the right direction.
1.) Richard Baird Headshot Photographer Daren Scott. 2.) Selfie of Richard Baird as Cyrano de Bergerac Backstage 3.) The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter (left to right Richard Baird, Amanda Schaar and Dana Hooley) at New Fortune Theatre Company photographer Daren Scott 4.) Richard Baird as Hamlet for Poor Players Theatre photographer Gedimin A. Bulat 5.) Richard Baird as Aikins Way Downriver at North Coast Repertory Theatre Photographer Aaron Rumley 6.) Richard Baird as Lenny and Tony Amendola as Max in The Homecoming (Closed before it opened due to Covid 19) at North Coast Repertory Theatre Photographer Aaron Rumley 7.) Monty at Balboa Park. Photographer Tiffani Zalinski 8.) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck directed by Richard Baird at North Coast Repertory Theatre (from left to right: Laurence Brown, John Greenleaf, Jacob Sidney, Sierra Jolene and Nicholas Mongiardo-Cooper). Photographer Aaron Rumley