Dustin Pazar: “Emotional Honesty”

Dustin Pazar Interview by Jen Bush

When you entrust your stories to Dustin Pazar, he will take great care in honoring them with an authentic and impassioned performance.  “My passion is to bring others’ stories to life, whether that be through a live theatre performance, a filmed production, or anything in between. I pride myself on portraying emotional honesty within the confines of an imaginary scenario. People have always flocked to storytellers to be taken away from the present and shown something new – I am humbled to be a part of that process every time I perform.”

 At the core level, Shakespeare wrote stories and Mr. Pazar feels that any actor can navigate his plays without needing to feel too intimidated.  “It’s a common fear amongst newer actors that because the canon of plays that are attributed to Shakespeare were written over 400 years ago, and the exact dialogue isn’t the easiest to transfer into the characteristics of how English is used today, it is either too bewildering to attempt or it may not seem ‘relevant’ to a contemporary actor’s view on what they would be typed into. When stripped down to the basics of the story and the characters’ objectives though, these are classic plays that any contemporary actor can find a role for themselves in. Powerful love stories and heartbreaking tragedies weren’t new when Shakespeare wrote them in the form of his plays, and they haven’t disappeared since. Anyone seeing a well-done Shakespeare play can connect to it, even if the language isn’t always appreciated to its fullest extent. And any actor can challenge themselves to the test of being able to communicate the emotion and the stories that are there in the plays of Shakespeare.”

Shakespeare in summer is simply a tradition that likely got its start in the time of Shakespeare himself.   “I believe that because of the popularity of New York’s free productions of ‘Shakespeare in the Park’ every summer since the 1950s, other companies across the country caught on to that success and thus the popularity of Shakespeare plays being performed in the summer has become an American theatre tradition. Then again, the original Globe Theatre where Shakespeare’s works were first performed was a ceiling-less stage where the audience could be subject to the elements, so maybe seeing these plays done when the weather is nice could have been passed down through the centuries as well?”

 Mr. Pazar was drawn to this production because his Shakespeare experiences had not yet included a comedy.  “My Shakespeare repertoire has included roles in the tragedies and the histories, but I haven’t had the opportunity to do The Merry Wives of Windsor yet, and being one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies, I had to jump at the chance to take part in this production.” 

Character actors are the bedrock of the film and theater industry.  We might not know their names, but their faces are as familiar to us as old friends.  Some of them are fortunate enough to eventually become household names and those individuals are Mr. Pazar’s inspirations.  “My biggest influences as an actor are those who had been working as character actors in their early careers and were able to blur the line into lead territory by accepting challenging, non-traditional roles, such as Anthony Hopkins, Jimmy Stuart, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Harrison Ford.”

 The written word informs Mr. Pazar’s creative process.  He begins there and then expands to fully form the character.  “Because theatre comes from the language arts, not like film where visuals can carry stories more easily, I begin my process by thoroughly examining the words written for my character, then pairing the language to the emotion and objective that they would be experiencing and pursuing. The rehearsal aspect comes afterward where I can experiment with how the lines are spoken and what would feel natural for my character with my fellow castmates.”

Just as with every industry, live performances were hit hard by the pandemic.  It continues to change the ebb and flow of shows due to infections.  What should change is continuing to proceed with caution even if things seem status quo.  “With where we are in the COVID pandemic, things are looking up for theatre, but there are still cancellations and postponed productions that come from cast or crew coming into contact with the virus. What I believe is that with COVID changing and us changing with it, eventually theatre productions will go back to “normal” for the most part, even if that means that all members involved need to be a little extra cautious and take tests to ensure the safety of everyone involved.”

In addition to Merry Wives, this winter will NOT be the winter of Mr. Pazar’s discontent because he’s got an exciting stage production lined up.  He’s also hoping to go from stage to screen in the near future.  “What’s next? That’s a good question! Since the theaters were in their reopening stages in the summer of 2021 I’ve been doing multiple productions. I recently performed in ‘A Florentine Tragedy’ at The American Theater of Actors on 5/27/22 and 5/28/22, and will be performing as Johannes Rosmer in a production of Ibsen’s ‘Rosmersholm’ this winter. I hope to venture back into television and film in the meantime.”

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