HOLLYWOOD—HELLO AMERICA! I spent a wonderful afternoon with Australian-American writer, director, actor BARRY CREYTON. He reminisced about his life in his native land but was ecstatic about his artistic rebirth in America.
Q: Was coming to America something that you had always wanted to do?
A: Oh, I think that any young would-be artist dreams of coming to this country. Especially if you have a passion for film-making. However, I realized quite early that it was necessary to learn my craft before taking a giant leap into Hollywood. So that’s what I did. I appeared in numerous plays, wrote many theatrical works and even did a stint on radio. All of it taught me about discipline, control, and yes, the basic craft which is vital for anyone going into films or the theatre.
Q: What is the great difference between American humor or comedy than that of your country and Europe?
A: Well American humor as far as sitcoms or general plays are concern is very fast and slam-bam. European humor deals more with double meaning and more subtlety. Frankly, I enjoy writing for an American audience. They insist that you get on with it and make them laugh. I enjoy hearing one-liners or tags that make you feel you can’t wait for the next scene or bit of dialog. Case in point is the comedy writing of Mae West or the wonderfully funny Lucille Ball. The world fell in love with the characters they created.
Q: When I look at you, Barry, I see the Shakespearian character of Iago in Othello. You look like the typical “bad guy” in a play or film.
A: That’s what a lot of people say but I enjoy comedy! I like acting in comedies as well as writing humorous pieces. And that’s what I did for many years –writing funny lines for television comedy shows. My play “Valentine’s Day” is a comedy and it is still being performed all over the globe. People love it and that makes me very happy.
Q: So America has made quite a difference to you as a growing experimental artist?
A: Yes, I believe so. I think that coming to America allowed me to grow and discover new sides of my craft as writer and actor. I find it very liberating which always presents constant challenges. When you hear the world laughing then you realize you’ve done something right.
Q: Whenever when we get an opportunity to speak with each other, you are totally overwhelmed with projects. And yet you seem to manage everything. How do you do it?
A: Hell! You just do it. When I think how devastating it would be to have nothing going in the arts, I’m terrified. So even if I complain for having so much to do, I’m really grateful and also realize how lucky I am to still be wanted as a writer, actor or even in the producing area.
Q: After so many applauded creative accomplishments, who is Barry Creyton today?
A: Oh, he’s simply a guy who is looking for another creative, challenging or magical film or play to deal with. Hey I love film and the theatre – I’m an actor! Excuse me was that my phone ringing?!