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June and Nancy

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Gabrielle Maisels
July 17, 2012

What is your job on this show?
actor.

What was the last show you saw that really excited you, and why?
"February House" at The Public, with Julian Fleisher and a bunch of other wonderful actors and brilliant music and lyrics by Gabriel Kahane, whose work I really don't know but was wildly impressed by in "February House". I pretty much loved every minute of the show, which is somewhat unusual for me. Especially because the acting was quite stylized and full-frontal -- a choice that can easily feel unbearable, but was SO DELICIOUS in this show. The performers were having SUCH a good time, it was contagious. And I was just fascinated to watch these legendary figures as characters -- W.H. Auden, Carson McCullers, Benjamin Britten. I loved it.

Have you been part of FringeNYC in the past? If so, how did you particpate? (Be specific! Name shows, etc.)
Yes. I LOVE FringeNYC. It's special. I've done both my solo shows in FringeNYC -- "Two Girls" in 2010 and "Bongani" in 2011 and had wonderful audiences, amazing reviews, just all-around fabulous experiences. Thank you Elena, Brit, Taty and everyone else at FringeNYC. (And thank you, nytheatre.com, for your support every year!)

How did you meet your fellow artists/collaborators on this show?
I like this question 'cause I'm so thrilled to be working with this crew. I and the entire cast and director and playwright are all students of Carol Fox Prescott and have studied together for years. We work from a technique based in breathing, awareness and joy and it's incredibly satisfying and rich. I feel like we're lucky. I teach Carol's technique in my acting class now and the whole cast has worked on the play in class, too, so it's been a hugely satisfying development experience.

Groucho, Chico, Harpo, or Zeppo?
Harpo. (Wouldn't you just like to BE Harpo sometimes, and be relieved of the responsibility of talking?)

Can theatre bring about societal change? Why or why not?
Of course. If an experience is deeply affecting, it has the power to change individuals, and that changes society. When we take "June and Nancy" to venues outside New York, for instance, audiences will get to fall in love with the two women, root for them to beat the odds, get swept up in their personal struggles -- and for SOMEONE in that audience, that is going to be the first time that he/she strongly identified with a gay character, or was moved to tears by love between two women. That's societal change.