BWW Interview: Meet THE ROADS TO HOME's Brilliant Couple of Hallie Foote and Devon Abner
THE ROADS TO HOME is the first production in Primary Stages' 2016-17 season. In this collection of one-act plays, Horton Foote illustrates the lives of three Texan women in the 1920s as they struggle to understand what the concept of home means for each of them. THE ROADS TO HOME offers a rare chance to experience a Foote gem not seen on the New York stage in over 25 years and is directed by Foote's longtime collaborator, Michael Wilson.
Two of the show's stars, HAllie Foote and Devon Abner have an extensive history in working with Foote pieces and Hallie is even considered to be the foremost interpreter of her father's work. On top of that, this married couple will be returning to THE ROADS TO HOME for the second time and both will be playing new parts.
BroadwayWorld had a chance to talk to the couple about what it's like working together and what it's like to perform Haillie's father's work.
Check out the interview, below!
What is it like working together as a couple? Do you like to separate work life from home life, or does it all seem to blend together?
Devon Abner: It completely blends together. For longer than we've been married. And we have fun working together. Always have. Her dad lived with us for many years and he loved talking about theatre. And he directed us in some plays and was always with the shows during rehearsals and during the runs of the shows, even when he wasn't directing. So we were often talking about the productions. And if he got stuck with something, he would always go to Hallie. He totally trusted her opinion about his work. And how to best realize it on stage and on film.
HAllie Foote: I love working with Devon. We never separate work life from home life....they kind of blend together when we are working on a play. Rehearsals are stimulating and we often talk to each other about the parts we are working on. If I am worried, or feeling insecure, he calms me down.
What is it like doing THE ROADS TO HOME for a second time?
D: When we did the 1992 production I was the youngest man and Hallie was the youngest woman. We now are the oldest characters. Flying right by. The more I hear and watch, the more I'm impressed by what Horton did. And even many years ago I thought it was one of his best.
H: Different. In a wonderful way. It is like being in a new play. Collaborating with Michael Wilson is always such a joy. We have this fantastic new cast. I've always wanted to work with Harriet Harris. I am such a fan of hers. I am discovering three people whose work is new to me, Matt Sullivan, Dan Bittner and Rebecca Brooksher. I love all of them. And, of course, Devon! We play husband and wife in the second scene, which is a lot of fun.
Primary Stages (@primarystages) August 16, 2016
You are both playing different parts than you originally did the first time you performed this production. What about the show made you want to perform in it for a second time?
D: I'll do a Horton play with a great director any time. Any part they'll give me. He's my favorite writer and there's always so much you keep discovering with his roles. Even in extended runs.
H: I liked what Devon said about that. I agree with him...
What is it like to see the show from a new perspective? Is it like you're seeing the show for the first time all over again or is it more familiar?
D: It's still too early to get an idea how it will look on a stage. But I know it will be a beautiful production. I'm so glad Primary Stages stepped up to celebrate Horton's centenary with this play. And as Hallie has said many times, her dad would be so happy to be around this production. And it's not so much like visiting the play for the first time or that it is more familiar. It's just intriguing to watch all the pieces coming together. I think all the actors are having fun with their parts. And that's a great thing to be around.
H: It is both familiar and not familiar. Keep in mind, the last time we did the show was 24 years ago.
Do you have a favorite character between the one you played before and the one you will perform as next month?
D: My favorite part is Jack in the second act. Cecil in the third act is growing on me, though. As an actor I prefer both of these roles to Dave, who doesn't speak (from the '92 production). But Dave ramped up my concentration like no other part.
H: No. I love both characters for different reasons.
Hallie, what is it like to perform your father's work?
H: It always makes me happy to work on his plays. I do miss his not being around, because he was such a fan of the whole process. Michael was always so generous about keeping him in the rehearsal room at all times. I don't think there was any other place he would rather be.
THE ROADS TO HOME begins performances Wednesday, September 14, 2016, officially opens Wednesday, October 5, 2016 and runs through Sunday, November 6, 2016, at the Cherry Lane Theatre (38 Commerce St, New York, NY, 10014).
Single tickets for THE ROADS TO HOME are priced at $70 and available at PrimaryStages.org or by calling OvationTix at 212-352-3101. Group tickets are available for $45 per ticket ($35 for student groups) by contacting 212-840-9705. Subscriptions for the Primary Stages 2016/17 Season are on sale now for $135. Subscriptions include tickets to all three mainstage productions. All subscription packages can be purchased by visiting PrimaryStages.org or by calling OvationTix at 212-352-3101.