Actor Interview – Parker Heyford

Actor Interview – Parker Heyford

Back during “My Brother’s Gift,” GCT began the Actor Interview series with each actor in the show. That series now returns with our cast of “Baby with the Bathwater,” a comedy being staged in Goochland County for the first time!

This is Parker’s second show with Goochland Community Theatre, having previously appeared as “Sam” in the World Premier of Portrait , which was written by the Director and Stage Manager duo of this very show.

Parker Heyford as Daisy

What sort of person is going to love this show?

People with a sense of humor who have also experienced hardship. (So, everyone?)

What’s challenging about bringing this script to life?

One of my first challenges in the role was rehearsing a scene that takes place in the family living room. I was so in my head about my own family experience and memories that day, that I shut down. I was FEELING my own anger in my body, and I remember my lip was even quivering. Even though I wasn’t in character, I assumed that my anger would read onstage. However, after that first run, Sydney lovingly told me that being frozen and looking bored wasn’t working, which was kind of an aha moment. In my mind, I looked furious, but that wasn’t visible to others. Pretty cool to notice.

Why did you want to be involved in this production?

I was magnetized to Daisy’s character and immediately knew that was the role I wanted. As a queer person, I was particularly interested in portraying a character with a complicated relationship to gender, especially in the context of the ‘80s. This production has been a cool way to connect with my own life experience, and also to explore what it might have been like to grow up in a different moment of history. 

Who should not come see this show?

Young children, and people who might be triggered by abusive parenting and mentions of suicidal ideation.

How is this production bringing something new to this story?

Sydney’s direction is so thoughtful and creative. I really admire her approach to honoring the intentions of Christopher Durang, while also bringing her own interpretation into the production. 

What’s going to surprise people about this show?

The absurdity of it all. The screaming. 

Call someone out by name: who must come see this production?

My restaurant friends! People from my home yoga studio! Drag performers! Trans/queer/gender nonconfirming people! Bestie squad! Sweet baby angels!

What is your favorite line in the show?

One of my favorite lines to perform is honestly when Daisy yells, “F*** YOU.” I have never in my life said that to someone and meant it, so it’s quite cathartic to practice expressing anger in a way that is very different from my life experience. 

Who in the show is most like their character?

I relate to Daisy quite a bit. I think he is very similar to a past version of myself. I’ve been in a lot of therapy, I was misgendered for much of my life, and I have a challenging relationship with my family of origin. On a lighter note, holding a baby (stage prop or real) is also very grounding to both me and my character. Life is quite beautiful sometimes. 

Who is the least?

While Payton is absolutely hilarious in real life, she is one of the least toxic people I know. So she is unlike Helen in that way. 

What sort of person is going to love this character?

I think Daisy will be relatable to anyone who has experienced chaotic family dynamics. Or really, anyone who has any kind of relationship with family. Also: existential writers, students, English majors, queer and trans folk, people who have been in therapy in any capacity, and new parents. 

How is this character like you? How is this character different from you?

Similarities: I was an English major. I have challenging family relations. I have been in therapy. I have worn skirts. I also spent my 30th birthday with my parents. Wild. Differences: I have had less name changes than Daisy. I don’t express anger in the same way. I started therapy at age 28, not 17. 

Is it easier to play this character or to be yourself on stage?

Interesting question! In my experience, acting is a fusion of being myself and being someone else. When I’m fully in character, I am free from self-judgment and unconcerned with how I’m being perceived by others. At the same time, the personal work I’ve done to practice embodiment and to unmask my neurodivergence offstage has been crucial to my ability to find freedom onstage. So I think practicing authenticity in real life makes it possible for me to tap into Daisy’s experience and depart from my own memories and fears. That said, one of the most challenging moments is when I say “Good-bye” to Helen. It’s hard for me not to think about my own mother sometimes. 

What do you love about your character?

I love that Daisy is reflective, honest, and in process. I love that he is doing his best.

What do you hate about your character?

I worry that people will judge Daisy for his experience of depression. I feel defensive about his dynamic with his therapist. Daisy can be pouty and petulant, AND I find that to be an authentic part of his process as he navigates trauma. There is no wrong way to heal, in my opinion. I truly believe Daisy is doing his best and trying to make it work. I really respect the boundaries he sets and his attempts to find reconciliation. In summary, I don’t hate anything about Daisy. I adore him.

What’s the biggest challenge about taking on this role?

Performing arts and creative expression move in tandem with my mental health journey. Some of the things I have in common with Daisy can be triggering to me and bring up some really painful memories. On the way to my first rehearsal, after reading Daisy’s monologues, I called a mentor to process some of this on my drive. I find it challenging in a productive way, and I value every opportunity I have to broaden my perspective and acknowledge my own past. Especially when I get to do something with it! The challenge to express anger, on and off stage, is definitely helping me grow. 

Besides yourself, what celebrity would you like to see tackle this character?

Brian Michael Smith.

Without giving anything away, what’s your favorite line of dialogue?

Besides the aforementioned “F*** YOU” moment, I also enjoy when Daisy sings.

Besides yourself, which actor in this production is going to blow people away?

Has to be Payton. Her comedic timing in the role of Helen is impeccable, and she manipulates her voice in such a skillful way. She’s so fun to watch, even when there are no lines. When Payton’s onstage, I can’t take my eyes off her! I think it’s because she gives it her all, every time, in every rehearsal, even when she has a migraine (a hero). All that said, I’ve really enjoyed working with the entire cast. Everyone brings such beautiful, unique energy to this project. Britt, Mattdaddy, Morghan, I love u all.

If you could play any other character in this show, who would it be?


What will the audience be thinking about in the car as they drive home after this show?

Gender, family, the human experience.

Why should audiences be excited for this show? 

Laughter is healing.