Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Theatre Unleashed recently kicked off its 2017 season with a production of Steph DeFerie’s female-driven futuristic drama, Cannibals Alone. For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the premise of the show?
Julia Plostnieks: This has been a difficult question to answer through the entire course of working on the show! But, in the smallest nutshell that is still functional, it is a look into a dystopian, not-so-distant future, where two women expose and fight the repercussions of a government that thrives on breeding paranoia, while wrestling with their own friendship and creeping madness. I think that's close.
BD: As the director, what piqued your interest in the show and encouraged you to get involved?
JP: When Jenn Crafts, the Artistic Director of Theatre Unleashed, approached me with this piece, I basically saw it as too big a challenge to NOT take on. The subject matter is apropos to our current political climate; it definitely seemed like a good time to explore it. And the level of physicality in the show really intrigued me.
BD: Dystopian stories have become more popular in today’s genre landscape, with properties like The Hunger Games coming to the forefront and portraying themes that are alarmingly accurate in today’s political landscape. How do you feel that Cannibals Alone makes use of its dystopian roots to connect with today’s audiences?
JP: It's interesting that you use the term "dystopian roots," because Cannibals Alone does have roots that differ from its current incarnation. Originally, the play made allusions to HIV as a tool for a fear-mongering government. Ms. DeFerie updated the script to be more ambiguous, which exposes that the real threat is how the government can spin anything to sway a society in one direction or another. And this idea hits very close to home with today's audiences.
BD: What can you share with us about the talented cast and crew behind Cannibals Alone, and how would you describe your collective creative process in preparing for the production?
JP: The cast is so insanely talented it hurts. And THEY hurt... literally... going home after every rehearsal and performance with new scrapes and bruises, of which they are very proud. Hashtag we do our own stunts. And my directing process is very much actor-driven; I ask what is probably way too many questions, and the actors create their characters through their answers. And, considering that the alternate actors were part of the whole rehearsal process, watching a character grow in two different directions, being played by two different actors with different answers and intentions, was beyond fascinating. These women put insane amounts of physical and mental energy into this production, and it shows.
BD: Why do you feel that Theatre Unleashed is the perfect home for the production?
JP: I have been with Theatre Unleashed since the beginning, and we've never shied away from productions that bust through edges and boundaries! TU focuses on artistic integrity and is unafraid of shows that are new and potentially a little scary for everyone involved, as long as the ideas and art within them are worthy.
BD: Are there any other upcoming shows or projects that you would care to share with our readers?
JP: After Cannibals Alone, Theatre Unleashed will be putting up the Steinbeck classic, Of Mice and Men, and will then be bringing The Spidey Project to the Hollywood Fringe Festival, a super fun and spunky musical that follows Spiderman's origin story, done in bare-bones comic book style. It's ABSOLUTELY one to see.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Cannibals Alone and purchase tickets?
JP: Further information and tickets can be found at www.theatreunleashed.org ... we run through March 4th in North Hollywood!