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BWW Interview: Dale Dickey Keeps Coming Back to Del Shores & CRAZY

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BWW Interview: Dale Dickey Keeps Coming Back to Del Shores & CRAZY

The Los Angeles Premiere of prolific playwright Del Shore's latest THIS SIDE OF CRAZY begins January 30, 2020 at the Zephyr Theatre. Del's latest in his entertaining and relatable dysfunctional family tales centers on renown Gospel singer Ditty Blaylock as she's about to be honored by the Gospel Music Network. Unbeknownst to her adoring public, the promised reunion of her three singing daughters, estranged for twenty-five-plus years, may be the death of Ditty yet. I had the chance to ask a few questions of Del Shores regular Dale Dickey, who plays Abigail Blaylock, the crazy, angry daughter.

Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Dale!

I have seen you in many a Del Shores play. Do you remember the very first time you met Del?

I first met Del the year I relocated to L.A. from N.Y. in 1996. My first play in LaLaLand was a production of Horton Foote's LAURA DENNIS at, ironically, the Zephyr Theatre! My dear friend since high school, Cam Watson, had gotten me involved in the show, and Del came to see it because of him. Cam introduced us afterwards, and Del told me how much he loves real southern actors. He asked me to audition for his revival of DADDY'S DYIN' and the rest is sordid history!

Have you lost count of how many Del Shores productions you've been involved in?

I almost lost count, but Del confirmed for me, over the past 23 years, I've played seven different roles in various productions and incarnations of five of his plays. THIS SIDE OF CRAZY is our 17th collaboration together. Ironic, since in TRAILER TRASH HOUSEWIFE, the role I played, Rayleen, was referred to by her trailer number - #17!

It was just meant to be, you working with Del, wasn't it? Can you name your favorite of Del's work?

I cannot name a favorite. They are all full of gems faceted with hilarity and tragedy, but I suppose the impact SOUTHERN BAPTIST SISSIES had on so many audiences made it an extra special experience and honor to help bring Del's important story to life. And, it doesn't get much better than sitting on a bar stool opposite the brilliant Leslie Jordan and simply trying to stay afloat. The icing on the cake was the pleasure of having Tony Award winner Levi Kreis' transformative live performance of "Stained Glass Window" every night of our six-month run! I was a part of four different casts/productions. I witnessed all of those various actors playing the four boys, bravely telling the naked truth every night, and it was thrilling and an education to observe them ALL over the different productions. A special nod to the amazing Ann Walker, who I first understudied and then followed in the footsteps of, for her original incarnation of Odette Annette Barnett.

How would you describe THIS SIDE OF CRAZY in a three-line pitch?

Oh, three lines is difficult for me! So are pitches, but, I will try.

Meet the Blaylocks - a talented, funny, fucking dysfunctional family. Three sisters hilariously and tragically unravel truths about their naive, crazy, love/hate, manipulated formative years to ultimately find a way to honor their truly iconic mother Ditty Blaylock. All while seeking to find peace and forgiveness in the wreckage, and joy, of their past.

I read in an old interview you gave that you originally wanted to sing and dance on the theatrical boards. Think Zephyr audiences might get the chance to experience your vocals and fancy footings in THIS SIDE OF CRAZY?

Singing... maybe. No fancy footwork, but possibly some fun three-part harmony because the Blaylock Sisters were a singing group when they were kids.

If you were writing a job reference for Abigail Blaylock, what qualities of her would you emphasize?

She can sing, she's loyal, she would be a hard worker, but after 25 years in an institution, I don't know that she's qualified for that much.

Besides her current stay in an institution, what flaws of hers would you gloss over?

Well, she has anger issues, a lot of them!

Who of the cast or creatives in THIS SIDE OF CRAZY have you worked with before?

I've worked on Del's projects with everyone in this cast! Rachel was in Blues For Willadean, Sharon was in A Very Sordid Wedding and Bobbie was in SOUTHERN BAPTIST SISSIES. Emerson produced Sordid Lives: The Series and Blues For Willadean, and produced while acting in SOUTHERN BAPTIST SISSIES.

What changes or improvements have you noticed in the Los Angeles theatre community over the years?

There has always been a lot of good theatre in L.A. The new rules have made things challenging for producers, but I think ultimately for the best. One thing I love about theatre in L.A. is that no one is doing it for the money, so you get to work with artists that are passionate about the work.

Any particular line from one of Del's plays you've done that you latched on to and use in your own conversations? Or did Del pick up on one of your expressions and write it into his play?

Oh, so many. I regularly drop his lines in conversations and people have no idea what I'm talking about, but for better or worse, the one I use most is "F*ck me running" that I said in TRAILER TRASH HOUSEWIFE.

What's in the near future for Dale Dickey?

I did three films last year that will be out this year, and I'm shooting a pilot I'm excited about. Basically auditioning and looking for more work!

What's the most unexpected audience reaction you've ever experienced doing one of Del's shows?

When we did TRAILER TRASH HOUSEWIFE and J.D. finally dies, the audiences applauded. It was very surprising when it first happened.

What feels would you like the Zephyr audiences to leave with after THIS SIDE OF CRAZY's curtain call?

The possibility of healing and forgiveness for past family problems!

Thank you again, Dale! I look forward to meeting Abigail and rest of her crazy family? Or should I say - meeting crazy Abigail and the rest of her family?

For ticket availability and show schedule thru March 8, 2020; log onto www.delshores.com


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From This Author Gil Kaan