Adolyn H. Dar
Actor & Writer
Adolyn has amassed a growing body of work in major Film and television productions including Private Eyes (Global), Running with Violet (OUTtv), Superman & Lois(The CW), Good Sam (CBS), Endlings (Hulu), and Air Crash Investigation (National Geographic).
Coming up next, Adolyn can be seen in his first starring role in the new Pakistan-Canadian sci-fi drama short film Desi Standard Time Travel following the story of a new father who suddenly loses his own dad and is presented with an opportunity to travel back in time for an evening giving him a chance to end things on a better note.
Adolyn has been recognized with a 2023 ACTRA Toronto Awards nomination for Outstanding Performance for his role as Imran in the film. Desi Standard Time Travel will be making its rounds at multiple festivals this May 2023. Adolyn will also be appearing in the new feature Fat Lady Sriracha following the story of an aspiring line cook who has no interest in kids or a family but becomes a surrogate for a loan shark in order to repay her deadbeat dad’s gambling debts. The film is set to be released later in 2023.
"From Cognitive Science to the Stage and Screen"
When did you start to get interested in acting?
My passion for acting stems from my passion for stories and that started at a young age. Ever since I could read, I have always had my nose deep into a book. That’s probably why it’s kinda crooked. It wasn’t until I thought I could be part of the stories that something clicked, and I thought hey, why not try it? I auditioned for my Grade 9 play and got to play the lead.
I rehearsed with all my friends, had a great drama teacher who believed in me, and I can still remember the moment I stepped onto the stage…only to freeze and forget all my lines. It was the best most awful experience and so obviously I was hooked. Just like my nose.
If you were an advertisement, what would your slogan be?
Adolyn H. Dar – the H stands for Hooked nose and – I’m just kidding. Hmm… Adolyn H. Dar: The kind of actor who believes kindness is the only currency that makes you rich? Or how about: From cognitive science to the stage and screen: Adolyn Dar is equally comfortable making you laugh, cry, or laugh until you cry.
Which is the part you enjoy the most about acting?
I love the collaborative nature and wonder that everyone brings. It’s amazing to me that you can get a room full of creatives and work towards building a story that may resonate with someone one day. As an actor, my job is to be the vessel for the art and there’s a freedom in simply allowing yourself to be. Be here, in the now, without judgement for yourself or the character you’re playing. It’s truly a playful profession.
Most artists say that through their art they learn more about themselves, heal. In which aspects has your art helped you?
What an incredibly deep question. I want to be careful in answering this, given the mental health crisis and meaning crisis pervasive in society. I don’t believe art has to be a vector for healing, and nor do I think the best art comes from a place of tragedy or pain. However, can it help? Absolutely. But like anything out there that purports to help one heal, it needs one to be an active participant, where one engages the art with a sense of discernment and curiosity.
Acting is unique in that it asks one to simultaneously be yourself while also being someone else. It forces a reinvention of who you are in every moment you decide to ‘be’ the character. One interesting thing we learn in cognitive science is that memory is not reproductive, it’s reconstructive. I like that saying because when I practice my art, as an actor or writer, I feel as if I’m reconstructing the words before me, the character before me, the story before me. Differently every time. And that leads to insights about the words, character, and story; and invariably myself.
I have been fortunate enough to play characters very much like me and very much unlike me. I have been fortunate to tell stories deeply impacting the south Asian diaspora and that has been healing. But for me it has been healing because it’s created a sense of community, connection, and continuous dialogue about salient issues. Research shows art is one of the best ways to combat unconscious bias, and in that sense alone it has been deeply impactful in my life.
What does your art mean to you?
My art means nothing. And it means everything. It’s the dichotomous nature of the impermanence of what we do and yet how deeply meaningful it is to me that makes me think all art is so beautiful. It asks so much of you, we sacrifice so much for it, and yet in the grand scheme of things … that’s kind of a funny saying isn’t it? Grand scheme. Maybe this whole thing (life) is one grand scheme… see? This is the power of art. It means continuing to surprise oneself until you laugh at your own jokes but then secretly ponder the meaning of the world as a result. Deep.
Who are your idols?
Every person who sacrificed their lives and persevered through their inequitable situations to give me the privilege to pursue the arts. The unsung heroes that keep our world going, from their small acts of kindness to their anonymity and humility in giving back to the world. And my seven-year-old niece and Jon Stewart.
If you weren’t acting or performing, what would you be doing?
I would be polishing up my children’s book and looking for a publisher with more earnest (speaking of…)
Do you consider that nowadays there are more or less opportunities for new actors? Why?
Absolutely more in the systemic sense. Absolutely less in the competitive sense. But we are moving towards equal opportunity and ease of access and despite the elevated competition I wouldn’t have it any other way. Lots more to do but at least we’re moving.
What would your idyllic life as an artist be like?
I honestly do feel so grateful for the life I have and feel it’s so privileged and idyllic as it is, it feels odd to ask for more. But manifest and all that right? Ideally, I would be working on project after project, while being able to balance a healthy life filled with love, laughter, and great memories. Idyllically, the work I would be doing would be meaningful, jovial and a force for good.
Tell us about your upcoming projects
Desi Standard Time Travel, the short film I’ve had the pleasure of being the lead of is continuing to make its festival run this year. It’s a story that asks you “what would you say to your parents if you could go back in time and talk to them?” And then it sort of asks… if you can, what’s stopping you from doing that now? It’s a heartwarming film. I’m also working on auditioning for some highly anticipated projects, honing my craft as a writer and looking to perform in more theatre and film/TV this year.
Do you want to know more? You can find some projects below.