by Victoria Herrera (Published May 2012 in STATUS Magazine)
At an age where most kids are still playing imaginary games, Tara Lynne Barr was already acting on stage. Seven years later, she finally considered moving this hobby to a real career.
Tara Lynne Barr has played everything from Annie to an alien, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. “When I was much younger, an episode of Crossing Jordan, a TV show in NBC. I had to play a dead person. And the audition for that was really weird. They basically had me lay on the floor and the casting director stood over me while I play dead to see how convincingly I could play dead. I guess I could do it pretty convincingly coz I got the part.”
From dead to lead roles in stage productions of Little Women and The Diary of Anne Frank, to several TV roles on The Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, Tara most recently made a big splash on the movie screens as Roxy in the dark comedy God Bless America. She plays a teenage accomplice to Frank (Joel Murray) who decides to get rid of all of society’s most annoying and rude people- starting with reality TV stars. “When you’re my age, you’re auditioning for roles like hot cheerleaders or bitchy, popular girls. They’re all kind of stereotypes. I think Roxy’s very real. She’s very layered and complex,” Tara begins. “I honestly didn’t really do much preparation, simply because I kind of already felt what Roxy was feeling. [laughs] Well, I’m not gonna go out and kill a bunch of people and shoot em, but she does have this anger about the pop culture,” she concludes.
What’s the best part about your job? What’s the most difficult?
I just like the ability to kind of—I hope this doesn’t sound cliche or pretentious but—I love the ability to kind of inhabit another person and be another person. I think it’s really special that actors get to do that and get paid for it. Because it can be really fun, it can be really rewarding and enriching. That being said, the most difficult part is probably the same thing. [laughs]
Speaking of acting, have you ever been tempted to cut the acting line and jump to reality TV fame?
Oh no. I’m good. I like being an actor. As an actor, reality TV is taking jobs away from actors so I would hate to be in that. They’re getting paid for what they do, and more power to them that they’re basically being paid to just live and exist and have people videotape it. If they can get away with that, fine, but that is certainly not something I would enjoy doing for my life.
The Stage vs. The Screen: if you had to pick one place to live out your acting life, which would it be?
I think, stage. Filmmaking is an incredible art form, but stage, as an actor, I find it’s more rewarding. When you’re onstage there’s this connection. It’s kind of something that can’t be described. There’s this connection that you feel with the audience and with the other actors onstage.
What was the best acting advice you ever got?
There’s a really great acting guru who’s no longer with us. Her name’s Uta Hagen. She quoted this in a book: “Don’t show your point of view. Have one.” So as an actor you’re constantly making choices based on evidence from the text about what your character would do or how they would feel but you don’t show it…You are it. I have a tendency to think [about what my objectives are] while I’m acting, but really, you just have to be that person for the time that you’re onstage and onscreen, and that will create a really, really powerful, real performance.