Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: The play, Saving Cain, will soon be appearing as part of 2019 The Hollywood Fringe Festival. For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about its premise?
Leah Verrill: This is the world premier of Saving Cain written by Fringe veteran and off-Broadway dramatist Aaron Kozak. It’s a full-length drama dealing with religion, faith, politics, love, drug addiction, and family. The story revolves about Lauralai Benson, a Pentecostal Message believer struggling to keep her unruly son Levi on a path of righteousness.
BD: As a Fringe veteran, what attracted you to this project?
LV: I love drama, especially drama that revolves around the family unit. This piece is a window into the lives of these two very unique people. We really get a clear look at their politics, their faith, and their education as they struggle with their ideals and hopes. The characters are sometimes so different from me that it has been a wonderful challenge to embody and embrace without judgement or comment. Whether they be parallel to my personal life, I’ve found so much of it hits home in many ways. I think it’s so important to see it live on stage. After reading Saving Cain, it made me feel and think differently about the world. It was exciting. I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
BD: You have a fantastic cast and crew involved with the project, including award-winning playwright Aaron Kozak. What can you share with us about the creative process?
LV: What has been so fun about this process is the pages have been so new and fresh we’ve really had a chance to discuss and analyze the work almost immediately after it has been written. It’s been such a gift to have a voice in not only acting choices but at times the text and structure, as well. Anytime I’ve gotten to work closely with the writer, it’s been amazing. I also so enjoy the way David Chrzanowski gives the actors a lot of freedom to make choices, as well as provides research and facts to the given circumstances. His insight is invaluable. He’s a passionate, intelligent director with a sure passion of theatre.
BD: What do you think audiences will take away from the show?
LV: My hope is people will come away feeling a little different about religion. Whether or not you have a strong faith, it’s important to see how religion has a tremendous impact on society and life choices. I hope people will see and feel the bond between mother and son; that love and relationship is so powerful. As a mother of two young boys, it’s always so amazing for me to be able to show that bond on stage.
BD: What makes the Hollywood Fringe Festival an ideal venue for Saving Cain?
LV: The Fringe is such a supportive place to bring a new work. It’s all about being creative and seeing what people can do. It’s nice to get a chance to think outside of the commercial part of this industry and solely focus on creativity. I think this show will really stand out and shine at the Fringe.
BD: The show will be appearing at The Hudson Guild from June 11-30, 2019. Are there any future plans to perform the show at another venues?
LV: Yes. I think that’s always been the plan. Just as with some of Kozak’s other plays, we all hope to continue the show at possibly a bigger venue with a full on run. Or I think getting a long extension working with The Hudson as part of their regular staged productions/season would be a thrill as well.. That’s one of the great things about Fringe; it’s a great testing ground for new works, where we can workshop and see how things fit and work and then bring the show on to a larger crowd.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects that you would like to share with out readers?
LV: Not currently. All of our focus as been on Saving Cain.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell our readers who want to learn more about and purchase tickets for Saving Cain?
LV: You can purchase tickets at The Hollywood Fringe Festival site or at savingcain.com. Tickets are $15 for general admission and PWYC for all Fringe participants.
Show times are:
June 11th at 8:30pm (Preview)
Saturday, June 15, at 2 p.m.
Sunday, June 16, at 4 p.m.
Saturday, June 22, at 4 p.m.
Sunday, June 23, at 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 29, at 4 p.m.
Sunday, June 30, at 3 p.m.
All performances will be at The Hudson Guild Theatre at 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90038. The running time is 95 minutes.