Meet the Cast – Bill Mullen

What’s your name? 

Bill Mullen.

Who are you playing? 

Beverly Weston. 

What town are you from?

Originally East Hartford, but I presently live in New Hartford. 

Is this your first time at Hole in the Wall Theater? 

I did a 24 hour play contest here years ago.

How did you get into theater, and what is your background in theater? 

I’ve been doing theater basically all my life. I got into theater through Youth Theater in East Hartford, Connecticut. Did it all throughout school. Ended up going to the University of Connecticut and got a degree in acting from UConn. 

Describe your character. 

Well, I’m the reason for the play. I’m the patriarch of the family. I come out in the beginning of the play and I’m interviewing a woman that I’m hoping to hire to take care of my house, watch after my wife who has cancer, and basically take over my responsibilities. Then, I disappear. So I come out for the first fifteen minutes of the show, do a drunken sort of poetic ramble and then I leave. The whole play is about why I left, where I’ve gone, and what has happened to me.

If you could give your character advice, what would it be? 

Get divorced from Violet at age 40. Should have done it 20 years ago.

Why do you think this show got a Pulitzer Prize for Drama? 

Because it is just an unbelievably well written play. This is the second time I’ve done it. Both times I got to play Beverly. It’s the most amazing role that I’ve ever seen that’s only in one scene, you know? I mean, he comes out, he’s in one scene, but it’s the greatest one scene I’ve ever, as an actor, ever had. It’s an unbelievably well written play. It’s an amazing play for female characters, which is an unusual thing. It’s very dense. It’s tragic. It’s funny. It’s just a great play.

You played the same character in a different production of the same show? 

Yes. Windsor Jesters, seven or eight years ago.

Between the two times, anything you’ve done differently with the character?

Yeah, a little bit. He’s, you know, fairly depressed, frustrated with his life. I think I’ve found a couple of different levels this time that are a little bit different. When I was first asked to play the role, I turned it down. I told the director, I said, “yeah, I can’t do it.” He said, “well, why couldn’t you do it?” And I said, “because I don’t understand it.” Because it’s four pages of a monologue. It rambles, and I didn’t understand it. So the director invited me over to his house. He said, “come on over.” I picked up a twelve pack and went over to his house. I sat at his dining room table for about three hours reading the play and talking and drinking beer. After about two and a half hours, I looked at him and I said, “well, you know what? I get it. I understand it. I understand the character. I understand the play. I can do it.” And yeah, it’s the greatest role.

Do you have a favorite book?

Transcription issues.

Do you have a favorite poem?

I love the poem that ends with, “By night within the ancient house, immense black damned, anonymous.” The Curse by John Berryman, I believe it’s called.

Do you have a favorite drink, alcoholic or otherwise? 

Oh, yeah, whiskey. Bourbon actually. I’m a brown liquor man.  

What’s a fun fact about yourself?

I build for a living – very large buildings. Right now I’m finishing up a project that we’re doing down at Electric Boat.

Appended: “The Curse” by John Berryman

Cedars and the westward sun.

The darkening sky. A man alone

Watches beside the fallen wall

The evening multitudes of sin

Crowd in upon us all.

For when the light fails they begin

Nocturnal sabotage among

The outcast and the loose of tongue,

The lax in walk, the murderers:

Our twilight universal curse.

Children are faultless in the wood,

Untouched. If they are later made

Scandal and index to their time,

It is that twilight brings for bread

The faculty of crime.

Only the idiot and the dead

Stand by, while who were young before

Wage insolent and guilty war

By night within that ancient house,

Immense, black, damned, anonymous.