Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: The play, Face Divided, will soon be appearing as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about its premise?
Michael Antosy: Face Divided is a working-class drama piece that’s rife with visceral feeling and raw emotion. The play opens in the emergency room of a Providence, Rhode Island, hospital. Debbie waits for her husband Freddie and any news on the condition of their daughter who has fallen down the basement steps; however, upon Freddie's arrival, the circumstances surrounding their daughter's accident become murky when Debbie and Freddie struggle over blame and potential negligence.
As the night wears on, the couple's relationship unravels to reveal a broken home filled with doubt, fear, and a desperate search for identity, forcing Debbie and Freddie to face the most important--and divisive--decision of their lives.
BD: As one of the producers, what attracted you to the project?
MA: I’ve always been gravitated toward stories that really make you look at the unpleasant parts of the human condition - theatre allows us a safe space to explore these ideas so that we can bridge the gap of our own understanding as people.
BD: You have a fantastic cast and crew involved with the project! What can you share with us about the creative process of working with the team and bringing the show to life?
MA: Our show is backboned by a wonderful actor named Lauren Myers. Both Lauren and I studied with Risa Bramon Garcia earlier this year, who is a well-known casting director in Los Angeles, and also originally directed Face Divided in New York. It was this play that drew me to Risa, and through the class, met Lauren. As an actor, Lauren is so honest and open and lets herself receive and be vulnerable to the work. It’s impossible not to be affected by her presence and energy when you watch her, let alone perform alongside her. If her talent wasn’t enough, she is an actor that approaches the work from a place of “how can I serve this story” which is indelible.
A funny story about Lauren and this project - after watching Lauren’s work in class, I kept on thinking that she would be perfect for the role of Debbie if I decided to produce this play at Fringe. I asked Lauren about doing the role, and she said yes. A week after Lauren agreed to do the role, we were in class and were given an assignment to cast our fellow classmates in roles which we felt would be appropriate for them, and they were to do a scene from that role. Another gal from our class was assigned to Lauren, and out of all of the TV scripts, movies, and plays that exist, Lauren was given a scene from Face Divided. I was floored at the synchronicity, and also grateful for the message - apparently this was the right place, the right time for this play to happen.
Also bookending this play is Shelley Robertson who brings such a sweet mothering (yet tough-love) quality to the role of Nurse Wilcox. Shelley’s work speaks for itself, and she is an incredibly gifted and real actor. If you look at her resume on IMDb, you will see why she is in such high demand. Shelley is actually so great that we had to stop rehearsal one day because halfway through the rehearsal, her agent called and she had an offer to work on a show that was filming in two hours!
Alex-Elliott Funk is also our director. You would never know that this is his first time directing a play. Alex is a real actor's director. He works with us in such a way that opens up the mining to Baker’s writing style. He poses the right questions for us to consider, and we are incredibly lucky to have him because he understands the actor’s language.
As far as myself, as the producer and actor, I only hope to keep up the great contributions like my fellow collaborators have given to this project.
BD: What do you hope that audiences will take away from the show?
MA: Face Divided challenges the audience, as well as our actors, to empathize with the motivations of characters which we would typically define as “bad people.” Even the most despicable of persons see their actions as having some type of affirmative quality to why they do what they do, and given that I am an actor, as well, I try to find stories that will stretch me, and this play is a great challenge piece.
BD: What makes the Hollywood Fringe Festival an ideal venue for Face Divided?
MA: Hollywood Fringe is awesome because there are over 200+ performances of different artists happening in different theatre spaces in Hollywood during this time, so people can come catch one of our performances and stay at the same space for the next upcoming show. Our performance clocks around 35 minutes, so it’s not entirely too long and audiences can absorb a lot of theatrical diversity all within one evening.
BD: The show will be appearing at the Broadwater / Black Box Stage from June 10-20, 2018. Are there any future plans to perform the show at other venues?
MA: Fringe is giving us the opportunity to workshop this play for future consideration at other venues - stay tuned!
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell readers who want to learn more about and purchase tickets for Face Divided?
MA: We would love your support! Tickets can be purchased here, and Fanbase Press readers can use the discount code "fanbase" for $5 off!