Vern Bevis, playing Darryl-with-a-Chip-on-his-Shoulder, discusses how his character reflects aspects of his own personal life, spirituality and conflict

Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Vern Bevis, from Vancouver, my homeland is the Okanagan Nation, Penticton and I’m an artist of sorts, trying to find my way in the world.

Do you go out for a lot of auditions?
I have been for as much as I can I guess. Actually last year when my dad died I came here, to Penticton for the funeral and I got pinned for one of the big roles in Deadpool Two, and then also I got pinned for one of the bigger roles in Hard Powder, which is the new Liam Neesom movie… I would have been one of the head gang members I guess. I’ve been trying, I do have a bit part on Altered Carbon, which is the new Netflix show, kinda new, came our a few months ago, so that kind of gave me some credibility as an actor I guess, even though it was a bit part. But it’s been fun.

How did you get cast in this show?
I know Renae from the film industry, and I’ve known Renae all of my adult life. We have a ton of mutual friends and we know most people in Vancouver I guess, and she actually just out of the blue, we’d lost touch for a while, she just emailed me and she was like “Vern, do you want to have a role in a play?” and I said, “Ok.” She said “Really?!” and I was like, “Yeah, I’ll do it.” And we did the read last year and she really liked it. And they had somebody else in mind for Darryl, and I guess I did my part and I kind of replaced the other guy. So I took it. But it wasn’t confirmed till last December I guess, is when I found out. So I’m pretty happy about that. Little bit of a trippy process being locked away with all the same people over and over again so, learning how to deal with people I guess, and trying to be diplomatic and keep my head from exploding I guess.

Yup….Three weeks! More than three weeks….

Rehearsal too… Can you tell me a bit about your role?
For some strange reason I feel like it was tailor-made for me. Some of the conversations that my character Daryl has, I’ve had with people before, about working on the pipelines. And I’m in love with my culture but I’ve never really been a part of it. But I have worked on the pipeline, and I have worked in the mines before. And I do know that the environment is an important thing, so for me it was a bit of an inner struggle but some of my very same conversations I’ve had with people about destroying the land and personal profit, I guess you could say. And I had a bit of an inner turmoil about it and in my circumstance there’s a lot worse things that I could be doing, and have done. Repeatedly. But I’ve also done things, like I’ve tree planted before. So I’ve done things that were good for the environment, and we planted back in the day, entire mountainsides. In the north, if you go further north there’s entire mountainsides that are just decimated. They just chop everything down and just leave it. Eventually it gets re-planted but it just takes a while. So I feel good about that. I’ve done some good and some bad. But the thing about the pipelines is what I’ve felt strongly about. But I’ve also had conversations similar about his feelings towards Old One.

My nemesis in the play is Old One and I feel like I have an extreme distaste about him but for some reason I feel like my character loves him. Because if he didn’t love him we wouldn’t have any of those arguments or those conversations. I also feel like, to Old One, I’m a person and I love him, but I want his approval. And he never gives it to me. So that’s why I fight with him. And I believe I made that up in my head to justify my continuous rage towards him- but I can’t let go. So my only way of getting back at him is to constantly bring up his past and all of his mistakes to try and re-anger him and bait him into a conversation to eventually try and get approval from him, but that never happens.

So I remain angry through most of the whole thing….actually through the whole thing I guess. And I hold onto it deeply, and eventually in the end, Old One is the one that changes. So Old One is the centre of the story, so it’s good that he changes, but I’m not sure if I really agree with my character not changing. Because a character arc is supposed to go from one way to the other, and I remain intensely spiteful, I guess you could say, throughout the whole thing. It would have been nice to see a reconciliation between me and Old One at some point, but we don’t have that and then we separate. And that’s for me, that’s my part, so I guess I’m the antagonist and I did everything I could to make it believable. I feel like I brought myself to a dark place to be there and I try to keep focused as much as I could. Each day I go home tired because I’m just emotionally drained and I feel like I put everything I could into it to this point.

Like you said, it’s Old One’s journey that changes, maybe he needs that to balance in the story, maybe he needs that other person to contrast – someone who’s not changing versus someone who is.
I think that’s it. And his darkness eventually reveals Old One’s light and his personal growth, enlightenment, or catharsis – because he needs it. Throughout the play, Old One, he talks about change and he says “Well I’ve done this, and I’ve done my time, I’ve changed, I’m on the red road now, and so he wants to change but it seems like it’s the world that wants to keep reminding him of all of the screw ups. So, it’s an interesting story.

And Old One is your uncle in the story.

Is that tough for you as an actor, do you have processes for yourself- like you said you go home tired- do you have things to do to take care of yourself throughout that?
With this one it usually just takes me a few hours of, I just need some peace and then eventually I can wind down, but it just takes a few hours. Sometimes faster depending on who I’m with or I’m around. But I just try to breathe and try to relax my mind and I can go back to being, I guess whoever I am at this point.

Has the journey changed for you at all being on this territory?
I think so because our first performance…. I had butterflies here because my family, cousins and relatives were here to watch. I wanted to do well not only for myself and the cast, but for my family that were coming here, and are from here.

And where are we now?
We’re in Penticton, the Okanagan Nation, and it’s my people, my land and my home. Like my dad’s buried just up the hill. I’m happy being here and I like being here, it’s home.

And I’ve been asking everybody this question…. What would reconciliation look like to you? Or what does reconciliation look like to you, if you would choose to use those words.
For the play or for my life?

For your life.
Well… much like Old One I guess, I’ve been through my fair share of shit… I’ve been thorough hell for huge parts of my life. I guess it would be auditioning for those movies. Like I’m not vain and I don’t seek fame or fortune, but I do want to succeed, and I do want to work as hard as I can to achieve it. I don’t feel like I’m doing it to have those things, I believe I’m doing it for the craft and because I love acting. I guess reconciliation would be: I’ve wiped away my past, moved on, and it would just be to be in movies, TV shows. And to try and continue to evolve spiritually I guess. I have spiritual aspects to me but I don’t know a lot about it. The time that I have spent not being in trouble has been spent learning about the craft, trying to better my craft and I believe I’ve done that to a point. It would be to just be in movies I guess.

That’s great. And you rap as well?
Yeah, I do. I actually have a bunch out on SoundCloud. I’ve actually gotten to a point where I’m about to become more serious with that as well. I’ve registered with SOCAN, I’ve been in touch with some bigger name artists that are willing to collaborate with me. I want to pursue videos at some point too and see where it goes. My next step would be to have online distribution and to continue to try and grow with that as well. My main focus is and always will be acting.

Where to find Vern



Posted by Julia Siedlanowska

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