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June and Nancy

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Michelle Ramoni
July 18, 2012

What is your job on this show?
playwright, actor.

When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
I was about 10 years old at this point and I had done a few plays in elementary school. But it was this particular play at the Summer Rec Center which gave me that "hook". I cannot even remember the name of the play but it was about a lonely boy who was in need of friends, therefore his toys came to life. I didn't even get cast right away, but I came to the the rehearsals every day, until someone dropped out. Ha! I was determined..Anyway, I was asked to play the evil jack-in-the-box...I couldn't have been happier. I would go home every day after rehearsals and re create this world. I don't think I really understood the term "playwright" at the time, but I would become this character and create different scenarios. I would act out all the different characters as well. That is when I began writing plays. I would even write the music by spelling out the sounds. The world of pretend was so magical to me, and as many of us theater folks may identify with, it was a chance for me to feel a part of.

Why did you want to be part of FringeNYC?
To have a show that I have written as a part of FringeNYC has been a dream of mine for a number of years since moving here to New York! I actually had written a show a few years ago that didn't get accepted, and in hind sight, I am extremely grateful for that. I think the festival does many things for us as artists. First of all, having the goal to apply for FringeNYC gave me a timeline to complete June and Nancy. It is an amazing opportunity to have your work seen by a cross range of folks that I would not have necessarily been able to reach out to if I were producing this on my own. And lastly, FringeNYC has that reputation of selecting theater pieces that challenge us socially, politically, and even spiritually. I have been so fortunate enough in the past few years to really understand what belonging to a community of artists means, and that is why I am so grateful that FringeNYC didn't come any sooner to me than I was ready for. I feel like I have such a solid team at this point, and that the timing of June and Nancy being a part of the FringeNYC could not have been better!

In your own words, what do you think this show is about? What will audiences take away with them after seeing it?
June and Nancy takes place in 1958, and although we have come along way with the feminist movement and gay rights, I believe that people will not only see how far we have come, but also how very much the same things still are. We see a married couple that is really trying to make things work, but they are two very different people. We see a woman so afraid of being her true self, then Nancy comes along and turns her world upside down. She is a trailblazer, a feminist before the word even exits in most circles, and she challenges what is happening during that time. The question then for June becomes, and I think for the audience as well, does my family obligation really stand in the way of pursuing love and truth? Are we bound by the limitations of society, family, our job, or truly our own self imposed limitations? What happens if we follow our truth? What happens if we allow our fears to direct us? These are just some of the questions that I hope the audience will walk away thinking about.

Which cartoon character would you identify your show with: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Mickey Mouse, Marge Simpson?
Marge Simpson... definitely the hair..ha! What I love most about Marge is that she really surprises us in alot of ways. She's strong; she definitely runs that family. She is sharp too, and funny, and doesn't miss a beat. I think both June and Nancy have those qualities, and they do surprise us in many ways.

Can theatre bring about societal change? Why or why not?
Absolutely! That is why live theater is so very important. I think change comes from first, awareness, then acceptance. Once people are aware and then accept what is happening in the world around them, then action(change) can occur. How do people become aware? We often cannot see what is truly happening in our immediate lives because we are too close to it. When I see theatre that is challenging let's say, social injustice, there is a parallel between my life and what is happening on stage which creates that perfect balance of intimacy and separation which then can allow me to then be empathic. Once we become empathic towards a social injustice, then we are motivated to begin to make changes in our own lives that will affect the world around us.