Appearing now in The Happiness Lecture for the Philadelphia Theatre Company
Part of our look at Philadelphia’s spring season
Interviewed by Joel Markowitz
Unhappiness can strike anywhere. Anytime. For Bill Irwin, it struck in London. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf was a hit. The cast was happy. The money was good. And Bill, playing his Tony Award winning role of George, was, as he puts it, ‘miserable.’ Until he read ‘Pursuing Happiness’, an essay by John Lanchester in The New Yorker which set him on the journey to writing the perfect antidote to misery, The Happiness Lecture, and to a return to his first love, ‘baggy pants work.’
Joel, who caught the Sunday May 25th matinee, called The Happiness Lecture “a non-stop whirlwind of hysterical vignettes, crazy puppets, kamikazes. . . and wait til you see him flip his noodle … it’s 80 minutes of sheer joy.”
Bill Irwin joined Joel after the show. In this candidly funny interview, the Master Clown talks about the show, actors like Buster Keaton who most influence his work, and what makes him happy.
And what did he think about performing Virginia Woolf at The Kennedy Center, which won him a Helen Hayes Award? “It was our first stop on our tour and it was our favorite theatre…I’d be glad to go there again.”
Bill’s advice to young actors, acrobats, jugglers and clowns on making it a full-time career? “Get ready, and don’t get ready for eating regularly.”
Should misery strike, Bill has one thought: “Frivolity is the refusal of the species to suffer.”
You won’t want to miss this one. Click here.
Just announced: The Happiness Lecture has been extended to June 22nd at the Philadelphia Theatre Company in Philadephia.