For this artist spotlight, FJORD is featuring an actor, Brandon K., a grade 12 student at WCI. In the past twelve months, Brandon has auditioned for four different plays and gotten a leading role in all of them. He played Emerson in Night of One Acts last year, Jack in an independent production, Aaron Blond in Concept this year, and he will be playing Moustapha Akkad in WCI’s show for the Sears Drama Festival in February, 2016.
Brandon knew from a young age that he wanted to go into film. His dad was always into film, and when Brandon was 11 years old, his dad started writing his own scripts. “I started from a young age,” he explained. “I was watching many of the great classic films, and I saw that and it drew on me, [how] they brought [these] characters [to life].”
Brandon only started trying out for school productions in grade 11. “I guess you could say I was shy [in] grade 9 and 10,” he explained. “[In] Grade 11, I realized that these are some really great things that our school has to offer, so I might as well go and try out.” He did very well for himself, too; after his first audition for Night of One Acts, he was cast in the lead role of Emerson, a serial killer. The role provided a challenge, but Brandon jumped at the opportunity: “I had to do a lot of research on how to get that emotion, how to feel that certain way of […] having joy in all his previous murders.”
This year, he auditioned for two more productions. The first was Concept 2015, where he got the role of Aaron Blond, the de facto main character. Brandon said that the main difficulty of playing the character was “finding him”; although the original script did have a rather set personality in mind for Aaron, Brandon and the show’s directors found as rehearsals went on that the original personality didn’t work. Instead, Brandon reimagined the character based on the lines that he had been given. “You have to have that feeling of who the character is so you have more of an emotional connection with them,” he said. “It’s just about bringing them and essentially trying to make them [so that they] could exist in real life.”
Currently, he is also participating in the school’s show for the Sears Drama Festival, where he is once again playing a lead character. The play, The Last Fifteen Seconds, was written by a local theatre company and is based on the true story of Syrian-American filmmaker Moustapha Akkad and his death in a terrorist bombing of a hotel in Jordan. Brandon playsMoustapha in the play, and he says that it’s his biggest role yet. “I have to step up my game for Sears,” he told me. “It’s a lot more intense [than previous shows].”
When asked what he saw himself doing in ten years, he said that he would like to get more experience through “some of the local theatres […], schooling, [and] post-secondary,” but he also dropped a little hint about something greater: “Hopefully [I’ll be] reaching the goal that I have of getting somewhere close to many of the great actors nowadays.”
It’s a tough road ahead, becoming a professional actor, especially on the big stage that Brandon hopes to reach. If anyone I’ve ever met could do it, though, it would be Brandon.
Article: Sheffi Ben-David
Photography: Kate Schneider