Since far too often we only publicly say nice things about people when they are dead I’ve decided to randomly pick a Facebook friend every day and say something nice about them.
June 27, 2019
Today’s person: Michael J. Asberry!
The first show I did at the Aurora Theatre had this great cast - almost all of whom I had not worked with before. Ayla Yarkut, Julie Oda, Darren Bridgett (with whom I’d just closed a show,) and the guy I should have already but hadn’t really worked with - Michael Asberry.
Michael has the calm, rolling assurance of who someone knows exactly what they are doing while the world around them wildly careens through an insane universe. Maybe in his daily life he is wracked with doubts and feels unsteady as a beehive on a beanpole, but onstage he is a rock in the storm.
In this show he was the neighborhood handyman who suffered the classism and internalized racism of my gentrifying dickhead. Each night I got to look into the eyes of a person and a character who knew exactly who they were, and who threw back the honest challenge of “And who are you?” There is an inevitability about a particular world view that Michael brings to his characters; he is not dictating what others should do, but bringing an almost Socratic questioning of everyone else’s inanities. Under that gaze only the naked truth feels good and clean, and the smallest self-evasion feels like a monumental lie.
While we are blown and twisted by the winds of an uncaring existence Michael’s characters always seem like the gently powerful truth teller who expects us to be honest, at least, with ourselves so that we can persevere.
And in real life he brings a constant thoughtful kindness and joy, a fun in the moment exuberance that seems opposite to but perfectly compliments his steady persona. He gets to be a grownup and a kid, a thoughtful teacher and a wide-eyed enthusiast, because he is complete as a person.
Michael is all that. And a bag of chips