PLAYBILL.COM'S BRIEF ENCOUNTER With Christopher Abbott on The Hill Town Plays, "Girls" and More

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07 Sep 2013

Abbott on "Girls."
Photo by Jessica Miglio

Speaking of working downtown, have you gotten to see the rest of Lucy's play cycle, which plays in the West Village?
CA: Not yet. Not all of them. The schedule is staggered so that I can see all of them, but we just kind of finished doing rehearsals during the day, so now I'll be able to see them. I've only seen Ashville so far.

I'm wondering if seeing the rest of the play cycle affects your performance at all. Since they're all tied together, do any of the other plays provide you with more substance for your role and your journey?
CA: They do. I wouldn't say that they affect the way I do my role, but it's very informative because there's little things here and there that repeat. There's some version of all the characters — in certain plays [they] are essentially younger, and then in other plays [they] have essentially gotten older. The thing is, all the plays stand alone. They're not the exact characters. They're just different versions of one another. Instead of doing your own backstory, some of the other plays could have some of your backstory for you already. Obviously, we're all doing different plays, but I think that we're taking this kind of team effort and approach to the whole thing almost as if it was one big play. To have that cohesiveness with the other casts and the other plays is really helpful. At least for me, [I] feel like I'm a part of something bigger than just being an actor in a play and [thinking], "How well am I doing in this one play?" You're a part of a bigger idea, which is humbling and beautiful.

Talk to me a little bit about your experience with "Girls." There's a lot of fans who are disappointed that Charlie isn't coming back.
CA: Yeah… That was just one of those things that… It was the right timing. I was ready for other projects, you know. There are no real hard feelings about it. Things change, and people's lives change a little bit. You've got to go with it.

Was leaving a choice you made to seek projects that would fulfill you differently? What part of your career do you want to explore next?
CA: It's not that I'm thinking that big about it. It's just… As a human, as you get older, you change as a human being… So, for me, it's hard to deny that change in me as an actor as well. It's not a thing of "bigger and better" at all. It's just "different," you know — a slightly different mindset. Working on television was also a challenge for me because I've never really done a TV show before. It's a difficult beast to tackle because you keep going back to a role or a job months and months after you did it already. It was a hard thing for me to learn how to do when I do a certain role or a job for a few months, and then I have my life for 7-8 months after it, and then I have to go back to it. In those 7-8 months, I change, and then another year goes by, and then another 7-8 months go by, and you change again. It was a challenge for me to learn how to do that. It was difficult.



Are you looking to go back into film or television again or do you want to stay in the theatre circle?
CA: I'm not sure yet. It's usually not a question of film, television or theatre. It's usually just if something is good, then it's good, and I want to do that. I think that if something really great comes along, I'd be happy to do it.

(Playbill.com staff writer Michael Gioia's work appears in the news, feature and video sections of Playbill.com as well as the pages of Playbill magazine. Follow him on Twitter at @PlaybillMichael.)

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