5 Questions with George Filieau at Ghent Playhouse
George Filieau is a mainstay on area stages, performing in dozens of shows throughout the Capital Region at Curtain Call Theatre, Albany Civic Theater and Sand Lake Center for the Arts, among others. He is currently making his second appearance in less than a year at the Ghent Playhouse, where he will be playing Joe Keller in Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” opening Friday and running through Feb. 18.
Filieau worked for the Department of Motor Vehicles for 40 years and seems to be making up for lost time with the number of challenging roles he has taken on since retiring in 2014. Joe Keller is no different: He is a flawed everyman who only wants to do what’s right for his family, but by ignoring his debt to society and the greater good in general, he discovers he could not have done more harm to everyone.
QUESTION: How did you get started in acting and what attracted you to it?
ANSWER: I did a few shows in junior high and high school. During college I did no acting, but got an unexpected ovation from classmates after reciting Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” in an oral interpretation of literature class. I think that is when the bug bit, but the infection was latent: My first community theater audition was almost 40 years later when I was cast as Dr. Watson in “Hound of the Baskervilles,” and there was no going back.
Q: You’ve played Lear, Brady, the Stage Manager … is there a role left that you especially covet?
A: Currently cast as Joe Keller in “All My Sons,” my bucket list is a bit smaller. But the other Arthur Miller biggie, Willy Loman, has eluded me.
Q: Who do you play in “All My Sons,” and what happens in the play?
A: Joe Keller. Without any spoilers for those who haven’t seen the show, it deals with the lingering effects of World War II on a close-knit family that has already suffered great loss. Like “Death of a Salesman,” it is an American tragedy focusing on the ordinary working man.
Q: What do you love about the Ghent Playhouse?
A: I have been cast there several times. I fell in love with the venue the first time I saw a play there. It just has such a “theater” feel about it and I have always felt welcome there, from the first audition.
Q: What’s a play that changed your life and how?
A: I think for any actor, the first big role is a treasured milestone. So I could go back to the beginning with Dr. Watson in “Hound.” But I think I crossed the theatrical rubicon in my fourth role, Prospero in “The Tempest.” It was during that play that I realized a zillion lines were possible to learn and embrace.
“All My Sons” by Arthur Miller runs at the Ghent Playhouse, 6 Town Hall Place in Ghent, from Friday, Feb. 9 to Feb. 11 and Feb. 16 to Feb. 18. For tickets, visits ghentplayhouse.org.
Correction 2/8/24: An earlier version of this story had incorrect dates. The show runs Feb. 9 to Feb. 11 and Feb. 16 to Feb 18.