Before Adam Driver was Star Wars’ Kylo Ren, before he made his Broadway debut in Mrs. Warren’s Profession, he was in the U.S. Marine Corps.
When he returned stateside, he enrolled at The Juilliard School in New York and studied acting. “I found myself being more articulate about feelings and emotions and just theatre in general,” Driver told Late Night host Seth Meyers. “I noticed myself being less aggressive and finally being able to articulate feelings.”
Driver became involved with the organization Arts in the Armed Forces to bring theatre performances to the military.
“I wanted to bring plays, because I did all these great plays like Shepard and Mamet, and all these great playwrights who somehow were articulating my experiences in the military—even though the plays had nothing to do with the military,” Driver explained. “I wanted to bring that to a military audience, but all these organizations kept telling me that theatre didn’t fit into a military demographic—that they’d rather see cheerleaders and basketball games. And, I remember those events all well-intended, but [I] felt that because of our jobs we were capable of something more thought-provoking.”
Through Arts in the Armed Forces, Driver has successfully helped expose men and women in the military to the art of drama. More than just bringing the arts to them as a passive experience, Driver feels theatre can help the military cope with the challenges of the work.
After making his Broadway debut in 2010, Driver appeared in Signature Theatre Company’s 2010 revival of Angels in America. He came back to Broadway in 2011 for Man and Boy opposite Frank Langella, and later returned to Roundabout Theatre Company Off-Broadway for Look Back in Anger in 2012. Since then, The Girls star has appeared in movies, including his upcoming Lucky Logan.
“Theatre can be a weapon, it can be something that can arm someone,” he said. “Something about watching someone live experiencing something maybe resonates with what you're going through—there's power in that.”
For more information about Arts in the Armed Forces, visit AITAF.org.