‘Barry’ Star Sarah Goldberg on Her Audition for the Show and Training in the UK

“The joy of what I do is imagination and really putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, more than tapping into some childhood pain. I think empathy is your asset.” – Sarah Goldberg

On Barry, actress Sarah Goldberg portrays Sally, the title character’s on again, off again love interest. Speaking with the Los Angeles Times, Goldberg speaks about her acting training in the UK and why she wasn’t prepared to improv with Bill Hader during her audition.

Though born in Canada, Goldberg attended London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Goldberg recalls her years in acting school fondly, remembering, “Theater school was wonderful, but really it was being there, I think, that was the education. It was going to shows three times a week and being so immersed in it. It was a truly creative time. You got to make a fool of yourself for three years and do all kinds of crazy things that you would probably never get to do professionally. I’m really grateful that I had that sort of path and I didn’t move to L.A. at 19 because I got to fail in private.”

Because of that experience, Goldberg has some strong opinions on acting training, and points out that the open nature of acting classes sometimes leads to what she calls “competitive grief” among students:

I’ve met a lot of people who use their acting class as a form of therapy, either because they don’t have health care–another reason to move home to Canada–or there’s this idea that it’s a really safe space for that kind of conversation. There is competitive grief in acting classes, where the bigger the trauma you’ve had makes you the best in the class. I’ve definitely met a lot of L.A. actors where I’m like, the class you’re describing is a therapy session with an unlicensed therapist.

I am grateful I went the British route, the Laurence Olivier School of “try acting,” because I think there have to be safe boundaries. The joy of what I do is imagination and really putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, more than tapping into some childhood pain. I think empathy is your asset.

Regarding her audition for Barry, Goldberg confesses that she was nervous when she was asked to improvise with Saturday Night Live alum Bill Hader. She explains, “I remember when I had my first round of auditions, they called me in and said, ‘Bill Hader wants to meet you. How do you feel about coming in and improvising tomorrow?’ I was like, ‘Not good!’ I don’t come from that world, and he’s the prince of comedy in this country. But I went in and we improvised for an hour as my callback. From the very beginning, there was a tone of, ‘Let’s figure this out together.’ It was certainly the most fun I’ve ever had in an audition.”

About Author

In college, overachiever Christopher McKittrick double-majored in Film and English because he loves to read, write, and watch movies. Since then Chris – who was born and raised on Long Island, New York and currently lives in Queens – has become a published author of fiction and non-fiction, a contributor to entertainment websites, and has spoken about literature, film, and comic books at various conferences across the country when he’s not getting into trouble in New York City (apparently it’s illegal to sleep on street corners...) For more information about Chris, visit his website here!

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