It’s Friday the 13th and we have a special interview for you. We had a conversation with actor, Tommy Bo, about his ghost-hunting role in the fright-inducing show, The Brothers Paranormal.
Tommy Bo is a Brooklyn-based actor with professional credits including Netflix and Amazon for TV/film, Off-Broadway, and regional theatre. He enjoys traveling, is big into food and fitness, and is currently starring in The Brothers Paranormal. Read more about our conversation below.
What are your biggest influences as an artist and as a person?
TOMMY: I love being in a room full of ambitious creators and collaborators who have a strong vision. When each and every person at that table brings 110%, the work becomes electric and contagious—this feeling makes me excited to come into the room again and again, all the way up until we are in front of our first audience who get to witness this collaboration. Now for the people who I absolutely admire, I’d have to say I love funny people—Bill Hader, Atsuko Okatsuka, Ali Wong, Kristen Wiig, Henry Shields, coffee shop baristas, apartment building management companies, my dad. The list goes on.
You play the character, Max, in The Brothers Paranormal at Olney Theatre. What similarities have you uncovered between you and the character Max?
TOMMY: Max has some questionable tactics that I personally don’t relate to, but then again, Max has been through so much, even before the start of the play where we first see him. I empathize with him—the feeling that you have to do whatever you have to do in order to survive. I’ve been there, and it’s distant, and delusional, and heartbreaking, but it’s also a part of life.
What are your thoughts on paranormal activity, the ~other side~? Has stepping into this role of Max, a ghost-hunter, changed your views in any way?
TOMMY: Max doesn’t believe, until he has to believe, but for me, I’ve always believed in ghosts.
How has this show made you reflect on family/relationships and culture?
TOMMY: Throughout this process, I thought about my parents—their journey to the states, their trauma, their challenges, their successes, and how they tried so hard to find closure with the past version of their lives. Growing up as a first generation American to Lao parents, I never really thought about my parents’ struggle of living here—to fit in, to be American. But as we all grew into ourselves, my parents stopped trying to “fit in”, and they were okay with just existing in America. They ultimately found community with others who felt the same, and now I’m on my journey of reconnecting with that community and figuring out that part of me that I’ve neglected for so long.
What do you want the audience to take away from this show?
TOMMY: The ghosts that haunt us in our lives aren’t necessarily there as a foreboding warning of wrongdoing or negligence, but rather as a reminder that it is okay to move on. “Sometimes, the dead stay around because it is the living that need the time.”
Is there anything else you’d like to add or share?
TOMMY: If you’re a young person who is reading this article, specifically a young Asian American person who wants to pursue acting professionally, do it with your full heart. You don’t have to go to a fancy school and be hundreds and thousands of dollars in debt, but you do have to be diligent and tough, but more importantly, you have to know yourself and love that person. Love that person so much that it hurts.
Want to see Tommy Bo in person? Click here for more information about The Brothers Paranormal. The Brothers Paranormal runs from October 1st - October 29th.