Playbill recently interviewed Waterwell co-founder Arian Moayed about his role as Richard Saad in The Humans, and working on Broadway as an Iranian-American actor.
While Arian Moayed read for Richard in the initial reading of The Humans, later workshops and productions cast Caucasian actors in the role, and race was not an issue when casting the role. But when it came time for the playwright, Stephen Karam to choose a last name for the role for the Playbill, Moayed suggested something more specific. “‘I said, “It should be like yours, Stephen,”‘ says Moayed. ‘He’s second- or third-generation Lebanese. I didn’t have too much investment in ethnicity. What’s of interest is “Who is this person?”‘”
Moayed goes on to discuss on how the subtle choice in the character’s ethnicity informs the role: “’In the context of the play, Richard is an outsider on two counts. He looks like no one else onstage.'” At the same time, the choice is merely one of many when determining how to craft and perform the character.
“‘For me, knowing the family dynamics that I’m dealing with, I’m trying to do everything positive, ease everyone’s tensions. None of that is Middle Eastern. It’s not Asian. It’s not black. It’s human. It’s a guy who’s seen it all and come around…I gotta say that it’s nice—with the way that I look and the name that I have—that Richard represents love in this play. In a world where politicians want to put everyone in a box of hate and “don’t come here”—all that Trump nonsense—I am happy and proud to put this kind of message out there.'”