BWW Interview: Elliott Folds Previews Upcoming Production of BUYER AND CELLAR at Out Front Theatre

BWW Interview: Elliott Folds Previews Upcoming Production of BUYER AND CELLAR at Out Front Theatre

Elliott Folds is ready to tackle his duties as a leading man...and only man! The Atlanta actor chats with us about starring as Alex in Out Front Theatre Company's upcoming production of BUYER AND CELLAR, the one-man comedy about a struggling actor in LA who takes the odd job of working in the basement "mall" of beloved megastar Barbra Streisand.


Can you tell us how you became involved with this production? Are you excited to be working with Out Front Theatre Company?

Of course! Well, I really just received a general audition notice for it. I had never heard of the play. I really wasn't sure what I was getting myself into going into the audition...I remember, I didn't feel super good about the audition going in. They sent one standard slide, so I did that, and nobody in the room laughed at anything. So, I was like, "Well, I bombed that." So then, the stage manager was like, "they want you to read the second and third slide later." I was like, "OK, sure, great!" So I guess it wasn't terrible. I did the other two and then again, no laughs!

I ended up getting the offer and did a weekend back in September at ART Station in Stone Mountain, and that was really just thrilling. It's such a sweet, cute play, and the audiences in September really enjoyed it. I've just had the time of my life putting it together. It's been such a unique challenge.

I just love the work Out Front does, and I love what they stand for. I love that they saw a vacuum for a niche and filled it. The people that are running it are just the nicest people imaginable.

BUYER AND CELLAR seems like a fun story and a spin on the traditional one-man-show. Can you tell us a little more? How does the show incorporate the presence of additional characters (i.e. Barbra Streisand) while telling the story through the voice of one character?

One thing that I have been so surprised by in doing this show is that anytime I mention to people that I am doing a one man show, they immediately congratulate me on writing one. Which is hilarious, because I did not write this play! (Laughs). Jonathan Tolins did an excellent job writing the play. And its had a very healthy and successful life elsewhere.

I think a lot of people think of solo performances pieces like this as just an ongoing monologue from one perspective. That is certainly a popular way to do a one person show. But with this, it is my main guy Alex, and Barbra of course, but there are also four other pretty major characters throughout - Arthur Lawrence has one line, and some other vocal affectations that I put on too. I feel like I am not exactly mentally stable in rehearsals very frequently - I'm looking all over the place, talking to myself! (Laughs). Two days ago in rehearsals, I was supposed to be my base character talking to Barbra, and I was looking at the total wrong spot, and I just said loudly for the whole theater to hear, "No, you're over there!" (In Barbra's voice.) It's a mess, but it's really delightful.

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of being the sole cast member?

The rehearsal schedule has been super lax, which is nice. It's really no more than 5 people in the room at a time - me, the Director, the Assistant Director/Understudy, and our Stage Manager. We've hardly ever gone as long as we've been scheduled to. Because it's just me!

Part of the reason why I was so eager to try something like this is that there's no one else to hide behind really. Like, if it's a complete failure, I take a big part of that blame. And if it's a huge success, I can be like, "Cool, look at this difficult thing that I tried and it went on pretty well."

It gets kind of lonely though. I just show up ,and it's me and the stage manager, and I'll say, "Great to see you; guess the crowd will get here at some point!"

Hopefully there will be someone to come see it! I can see that being both a pro and a con.

Definitely. There's no one to hang out with in the dressing room other than myself!

Do you see yourself relating to the character of Alex as a fellow actor? Have you ever found yourself working some odd jobs in addition to acting?

I have done some odd jobs...I haven't done the oddest jobs, unlike some friends of mine who I know have done some pretty odd things. I did some time as a balloon animal twister in college... and that was an experience. (Laughs). One of my first jobs was working as an HVAC person. It was a miserable time - all while trying to do the acting thing. In that context I definitely relate to Alex. There's a line in the beginning of the play where he talks about working at Disneyland. Since the first run of the play in September, I've started working at the Georgia Aquarium. It's not really the same thing, but similar theme park-ish environment. It was at our first rehearsal and I said that line and I was like, "Oh wow!"

But Alex's boyfriend's character is another one I really relate to. He's described as a habitual TCM watcher, that's a fairly apt description of myself as well, so it wasn't difficult to get into that person's head. The kind of references he makes - to THE GOLDEN GIRLS, to SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, it's things that I say in everyday life. Which is also helpful!

You have a lot of experience doing more traditional musicals with singing and dancing. What's your message to folks in Atlanta who you would encourage to come see this more intimate comedy?

There's so much cool stuff that happens in Atlanta. This, and other stuff that Out Front does is such an exciting change of pace from a lot of the more traditional stuff you can see around town. There's so many cool, interesting things being made if you really look for them. And Out Front isn't exactly an unknown entity anymore...it's really rising in the ranks and awareness. I hope that seeing something like this would excite people to look into more off the beaten path stuff. It's great to see the more traditional plays and big musicals everyone's heard of. But if you get the right project and piece, you can have a great time just about anywhere.

After this project, do you have anything else in the works?

Yes, I am going from being in a one person show to being in a dance ensemble! (Laughs) For a production of DAMN YANKEES with Theater Buford, which is another up and coming company. I believe this is their first production, which is cool. I've never really done a dance ensemble before; that will be fun. And audition season is right around the corner, so hopefully I will be back to that grind very shortly.


Elliott Folds was raised in Lawrenceville, GA and is a graduate of Kennesaw State University. His previous credits include A NEW BRAIN (Aurora AppCo Alumni Series), THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY (Aurora Theater) and THREE BILLY GOATS GRUFF (Aurora Learning Library). Click here to learn more about Elliott.

"BUYER AND CELLAR" is playing March 8-25. Visit OutFrontTheatre.com for tickets and more information.

Photo Credit: Tyler Ogburn Photography

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