JEFFREY BRIAN ADAMS
In Conversation with Iride Aparicio
Photos courtesy: NINICO Communications
San José, CA.— JEFFREY BRIAN ADAMS, who was born and raised in San José, describes himself as somebody who tries to perform genuinely and share honest work and honest human emotions with the audience. During his many years on the stage, he has performed in a variety of works, but he is drawn to the dramatic parts because he feels that these parts carry a lot of emotional challenges for him as an actor. “I tend to enjoy dramatic work the most.” He tell us.
Back in San José, where he is now playing the role of “Happy” the younger son of Willy Loman in ARTHUR MILLER’s Pulitzer award-winning play “DEATH OF A SALESMAN” playing at San José Stage, CULTURAL WORLD BILINGUAL had a chance to talk with him about his professional experiences.
C.W.B. What attracted you to theatre?
J.B.A. “ I started out acting when I was an eight years old kid, and I thought that acting was something that was fun. I got to sing and to meet friends; it quickly became a passion for me. I also found out that playing other characters was an interesting way for me to learn more about myself as a human being, and when I learned how to look at the world through the eyes of other people, it was fascinating. Ultimately, I decided to become an actor for that reason, so that I could continue to ask questions, and search myself, and learn more about myself and the world around me, and share that with other people.
C.W.B. How did you start acting?
J.B.A: “I grew up going around a lot of theatre. My parents encouraged my brother and I to be involved in the arts, and when we came to San José, where I grew up, we will go to San Francisco and see shows there too. So I was kind of exposed to the arts. Then, when I was eight, I stumble upon this Childrens’ Theatre company in Milpitas, and my brother and I we both auditioned. You had to sing a song and read a script, and we did it and we both got cast in their first show which was “The Music Man,” That’s where it all began.
C.W.B. When did you decide to make acting your career?
J.B.A.: “ I always have been interested in theatre and it had developed into a passion and career path. When I went to college, they had a great Arts program in Bellarmine College Preparatory in San José, so by the time I went to the University I had a Theatre Arts Major. I acted quite a bit when I was in Santa Clara University that has a wonderful faculty and plenty of opportunities. So, to answer your question, I knew in college what I wanted. I wanted to become an actor and really pursue it as a career path.”
Jeffrey pauses for a few seconds, and then continues:
“A year after I graduated, I applied for a Broadway program because I wanted to pursue my education and eventually got my Master Degree in acting in New York. I was there for three years. Now I returned to the Bay Area to pursue my career here.”
C.W.B. In all the roles you have played professionally, what role are you closer to?
“ That is really an interesting question. I think that there is a little piece of all of those characters in me, somewhere, but I don’t know. Nobody has ever asked me that question before because it is very tough, but I really think that there is a part of me in every part I played.”
C.W.B. Let’s talk now about “Happy” the character you are playing. How do you describe him?
J.B.A: “Happy” is the youngest son of Willy Loman (the Salesman) and I think that he is very much a Willy Junior. He is sort of exactly like his father. It is very clearly in this play that “Happy” has this idea of success that his father pushed on him as a kid. The weaknesses that Willy has shown are in “Happy” too. He is a womanizer, a very surface level human being. If he is upset about something, he gets over it very quickly. He is also sort of the peace-maker in the family and wants to be sure that everybody is happy. He plays himself the salesman in all of them.”
C.W.B. How do you see Happy’s relation to his father?
J.B.A: “In the play, Happy wants very much to make his father proud of him. He wants to show his father that he is everything Willy wanted him to be and more, and that he listened to everything he taught him as a child. But Willy doesn’t pay attention to him, so Happy is sort of living in the shadow of his older brother. So, he has a very distanced relationship with his father because so much of what Happy is reminds Willy so much of what he (Willy) does not like about himself.”
C.W.B. In your opinion, how does Happy relates to today’s young people?
J.B.A.: “I think we could relate him to this boy who went to Business School and has this idea of what he wants to accomplish. He had a goal and his goal is to make money, to get his own apartment, to get his life in order and find success and happiness by having all those things.(in the play) Happy says “I have everything I want, but still, I am lonely”. I think that is an important realization for today’s young audiences.”
C.W.B. What, in your opinion, if the theme of the play?
J.B.A. “I think the over all theme is “dreams and pursuing dreams” There are the “dreams” that the father has and sort of push them on his family, and there are these “social dreams” to get by in the world of business and selling (in l949) and he is sort of hunted not knowing why his dreams did not come true the way he had hoped. It is sort of facing your dreams in the world of reality.”
C.W.B. What is your view of DEATH OF A SALESMAN?
J.B.A.” It is my favorite play. It covers important themes about family, and “the American Dream,” and ideas of success that are still very important today. The play was written in 1949, and still holds very true to a modern audience. I think it is an important story. It is beautifully written and put together. It is a mixture of realism and fantasy and dreams and poetry, and the staging at San José Stage Company (where the play is being presented) does a wonderful job.”