Austin Peck doesn’t have many nights free these days — he’s hitting the boards eight times a week in a play called The Irish Curse, which opened to rave reviews in April.
“I play a character named Stephen. He’s kind of like the brother you never wanted. He’s a cop and he’s got a very tiny problem,” Peck begins. “The play is about a support group for men who are under-endowed [laughs]. It’s a comedy, thank goodness. Martin Casella is the director and the writer and he’s written a very savvy play. What it’s really about is human inadequacy, written through the topic of men who aren’t blessed down below the belt. And what that means. People across the board are really provoked by it. One woman said she cried during it, then after it, she told the writer Marty that we all have tiny d***s, in one way or another. And that’s true. Everyone suffers from inadequacy.”
Stephen is a far cry from Peck’s soap alters. “He’s kind of shockingly and overwhelmingly different from Austin Reed and very different from Brad Snyder,” he reports. But the comedy element puts him more in his comfort zone. “I’m more attuned to comedy than drama, believe it or not. It’s my sensibility. I’m more goofy and silly and self-effacing. I loved playing Brad because I got to do a lot of comedy as Brad. I loved playing Austin, but they didn’t write for me at all. They wrote for someone different and that was the tough part. The writers never said, ‘Hey, we get this guy; let’s write more to who he is.’ I don’t think they ever got me and that was frustrating. At ATWT, they quickly got me and they wrote a great character right off the bat.”
This is Peck’s first foray into the New York theater scene. “Theater in New York is entirely different than theater in L.A.,” he observes. “People actually go to theater in New York, people who aren’t related to people in the production of the play. In L.A., you’re always calling people and saying, ‘Come do me a solid and come see me in this play.’ People respect it, but it’s not thought of much, whereas people think about it a lot and spread the word in New York. People will go see it like they would a movie. They’ll go watch it because they’ve heard about it.”
The play is expected to run through May 31, so if you’re in New York, check it out. But, Peck warns, “My character is very graphic. Be prepared.”
The Irish Curse is playing at the SoHo Playhouse, 15 Vandam Street in New York City; (212) 691-1555, theirishcurse.com.