Amanda Bruton is an actor living in New York.
Amanda is waaaaaaaaaaaaay more talented than you and waaaaaaaaay too expensive to work with me.
Lucky for me, Amanda’s wife and my wife have known each other for a long time, so Amanda is forced to interact with me on occasion. A few years ago over dinner in philly, I asked Amanda a bunch of junior varsity questions about acting and her process (hooray action verbs for actors!), which I recorded on soundcloud but then lost.
Amanda is starring in her own own one animal show, UnCastable next week in New York at the Duplex Theatre, which is located at 71 Christopher Street. Amanda was gracious enough to answer a few more questions, this time about her upcoming show and what not to do in an audition.
After the interview is a short monologue I wrote with Amanda in mind.
can i ask you a few questions about your show?!!?
Yes. You can ask questions. I just might not answer them.
who are you?
My name is Amanda Elizabeth Bruton. I’ve spent half my life in New Jersey and half my life in NYC which means I suffer from road, pedestrian, and subway rage.
how did the idea of UnCastable come about?
I couldn’t book a job to save my life so I wrote my own goddamned show. I’ve been doing this a long time so I’ve got stories that’ll make you laugh, cry, and put hair on your chest. As soon as I began writing the show I started to book work. Sticking it to the MAN.
what was it like writing uncastable? how did it take shape and form? were there some drag performers who asked you if you had a solo show?
It all started a couple years ago when I was working up at Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine. I became friends with a couple of fabulous drag queens named ChiChi and Jo Anna who told me in no uncertain terms that I was an idiot for not having my own cabaret show. A few other folks said the same thing and once I realized the universe was banging me over the head with the idea I decided to take action. I enlisted the help of my dear friend and incredible vocal coach, Michael Pesce, who offered to help conceptualize and direct my show. He instructed me to make a list of every song I’d ever want to sing, no matter how silly or wrong it may seem. If a song spoke to me, I was to put it on the list. I was also to start making note of all the stories I find myself telling over and over again: about acting, family, relationships, waiting tables, travel, etc. Then we had a series of jam sessions in which Michael would ask me to start telling a few of my favorite stories and then he’d look at the list and find a song to make a connection. Slowly, the show started to take shape and a through line appeared. It’s been an absolute blast. Michael and I have very similar senses of humor so building jokes into my stories seemed to happen pretty organically.
did you watch the love boat?
No I get seasick.
how many auditions have you been to?
if you weren’t castable, wouldn’t you have booked someone else for this show?
There’s a rumor I might be replaced before next week.
how has UnCastable changed from when you were talking about it when you were in California?
We’ve added way more props. And also a potential surprise encore. That is if the people actually want to hear more and aren’t running for the door.
what should I not do when I go to an audition?
Don’t fart. And keep your clothes on.
what would you cast Kristen as?
A BOSS. One with feelings and who is also really good at math. And damn sexy.
have there been shows you have booked that you wish you didnt book?
I’ve done a couple terrible shows. But I have no regrets because I was usually working with amazing people which made it worthwhile. Nothing bonds you like being in the trenches of a shitshow. And everything is a learning experience.
do you use action verbs when you are performing in uncastable?
Do you mean curse words? The answer is yes.
how did you meet Henry Koperski?
Through my brilliant director, vocal coach and friend, Michael Pesce. And it couldn’t have been a better fit. Henry has worked all over the city with some incredible names. He’s also worked in musical improv and with a bunch of comedians. His musical and comedic instincts are on point. He also might be the kindest person I have ever met.
do you get nervous before performing?
I take three shits, vomit occasionally and pee a little. Could be nerves or it could be a GI issue.
i love i cant tell if you are serious about adding more props to the show. what props have you added to the show?
There are wigs, nails, and a troll doll.
where can people see you if the uncastable sells out but want to see you perform?
My living room. I also have some upcoming appearances on Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, HBO’s High Maintenance, and Showtime’s Billions. Which they can watch from their living room.
(a rich white woman sitting on your couch)
It is fine. Who knows what we snorted, tastes like my pool. Thank you. I like your place. It is I lived somewhere like here when I was your age. It is when I first met him. (to her husband) We are talking about you. Go get us some cigarettes. Live a little. (no answer) He is fine. It renders him speechless.
It’s not fucking lasagna. I said lasagna? Do you know what word I am talking about? Whatever it is is what it is with them with the yeah. Insert fucking word here. That is it. So many of them with the lasagna (laughs) And no, it is the right word because they got so much in common with fucking Garfield it is atrocious. And they all are as fat as the old garfield. Tell me you know who Garfield is. I don’t mean this Garfield now because I think it is his son and it lost it’s edge. Garfield had an edge. He used to be fat. He used to have books.
And what is funny is they all used to be skinny and now are fat. And they are all married to Jon Arbuckle. it would be fine if it was the…I am just going to say lasagna. Because it is the lasagna. But it is the ownership of the lasagna. And it isn’t their whatever the word is. It is not mine. It isn’t his. The difference is I know it isn’t mine. I bum cigarettes and remember names because we have fun and do a rail and piss in my shoes.
And I am not saying they don’t have money…and I am not saying they don’t know what to do with money. It is just…it used to be find someone with I don’t know whatever it used to be with cavemen but then right my mom it was go to school land meet someone in college but now it is get the degree in physics and then the mba and then that is it and they are just with their I hate to say it because saying something validates it and makes it true and it is a lie and saying it makes it true but it is always their husbands money. And they have the mba and you end up being macbeth’s fucking wife no matter what. Pulling the strings and urging and cajoling and someone is going to outlive someone and win unless you get t-boned or die on that plane like that golfer which seems so fucking stupid. That is what you get for the personal jet. His name was dumb and he wore dumb hats. I was dating a guy at the time- don’t worry he has no money but he did go to school here. and he broke down crying when he heard he died. Well, I broke down crying when JFK jr. died and we got into a fight after that so we were even.
Did macbeth’s wife do the killing or did her husband? Or did they pay someone? I just saw it. Have you seen Macbeth? They got an opera of it. In English. My son drank water out of the fountain outside the Ahmanson and had the worst fucking stomach of his life and I said don’t drink the water out of the fountain and I said, my god. Let’s go home and he wanted to stay and…he wanted to suffer. And of course I am thinking this little fuck is just like me with the victim shit. And we are standing in the wings and they got tape all over the floors for where the stuff goes and I look down and they have tape where I am standing and I liked the feeling. This is when you are supposed to ask me what my son wants to do when he grows up.
In their largesse. And doing it makes them that. In their largesse. Do you know what largesse means, honey? Just want to make sure.
Who did the thing with Emeril Legasse? They were good. They were too good. I love Emeril. Love him love him love him. But they were too good. He is in my house making fucking bread. I walk in my kitchen and I think it is Xotchil’s husbands making a sandwich and he turns and is all, hello Allison, I am here to teach you how to make bread. Fucking Emeril. Emeril, you don’t teach me how to make bread. I teach you how to make bread, you know what I mean? He is in my house and he is a real nice guy, and he gives me this 100 year old starter for sourdough and I said what the fuck is that and he is it is 100 years old and I said the only thing in here that is 100 years old is I forget what I said but it wasn’t funny and he chortles away and he says, you have to feed it and it is 100 years old and it is priceless. I mean, he is a charmer and I ask him if I had a stroke and we are married and he says, no no no. Do you want to make bread or you want to teach me how to make bread? So he does his bread thing and makes noises and we put the bread in the oven and he is telling me about feeding the starter and I got into it and then he is all, your friends at I forget where wanted me to teach you how to make bread so you can make them some bread. With a shrug of the shoulders. And that was it. That was it.
Of course he is here for something. They listen to everything you say and put it in Salesforce and figured out the cost of getting him vs the likelihood of me coughing up money…and it hurt me, you know. It hurt me. Fucking shrug your shoulders at me. Like he is a victim,
So I said, how much do I have to pay you to never sweat on tv trying to hawk shit people don’t need. You want to own a restaurant? Let’s open a restaurant. But what the fuck are you doing? And he ho ho ho about it and says some funny shit and…It is pinocchio all grown up. Same with the spaz with the curly hair with the clothes at target and home shopping network. Another one on home shopping network. I met him. You aren’t doing what you want. You shouldn’t be here teaching me how to make bread. You should be living in an Italian village with the rest of your inbred family making handmade pasta- and I don’t mean inbred in a mean way. His collar is meant to be buttoned to the top and his hair parted and cry everyday at how beautiful the food is. You fucking over extend yourself you pick the wrong jew you fall out of love you bought a hot air balloon you killed a family and you are in my kitchen. You hawk shit to poor people and prey on their dreams selling your shit cookware which is made out of asbestos and…the man looks inbred. You have to be…and it is that point where talent comes begging to the money and the money comes begging for the talent
So he tells me his nickname in high school was rin-tin-tin. Why the fuck not. It isn’t, Emeril, They called me that in my high school yearbook. I was on the yearbook committee and I quit to try volleyball and I fucking laugh thinking of him naked and at the end of the year they listed my name as rin-tin-tin in the yearbook. So everyone thought I liked it doggy style. And i said okay, emeril. I respect that. So i say don’t be like my husband and make me put it in for you. And he is ho ho ho and he is looking at the clock so I told him he looked inbred and should live in a village and he tightened up and left and said something and that was that.
Can I give you some advice? Don’t ever say your fucking earrings are heavy. No one gives a fuck. Just say thank you. Or just don’t talk.