by John Stoehr
I'm good with names and good with faces, but rarely both. It takes me a couple of tries before connecting the two. Such was the case when I saw Brian DeCosta in Sheep's Clothing. I knew his face from Theatre 99 and his performances with Neckprov (pictured left). But I didn't put two and two together until after I saw PURE Theatre's original production.
So — now that I have things straightened out, I can say this: Brian DeCosta is a hidden talent. Well, not so hidden anymore now that Sharon Graci, who directed Sheep's Clothing, has revealed the actor within him.
I'm so pleased to see him branching out into straight theater. And I'm pleased that he did it well and did it by portraying Steven, a character who's not easy to like, even though at one point we feel deep empathy for him in the play. In other words, DeCosta had figured out how to express the complications of a complex man despite his relative inexperience.
DeCosta felt out of his element when rehearsals for Sheep's Clothing began. He says he feared being the weakest link. "But Sharon and Rodney [Lee Rogers, PURE co-founder] made me feel really comfortable."
Preparing the play was a crash course of dramaturgy. He learned fast and he kept pace with Graci's demands, but he also had a good time. He says Paul Whitty, Nat Jones, Josh Wilhoit, and Pam Nichols were all cut ups on and off the stage.
"Some nights, I literally had to pull my mouth down to keep from smiling at some tweak they added to their lines," DeCosta says. "I really hope to stay with PURE and keep learning."
We do, too.