BWW Interview: Amanda Sox of THE CAKE at The Warehouse Theatre
Actress, Amanda Sox has performed and lived all over the country. This fall she is stepping into the shoes of Jen in The Warehouse Theatre's production of the popular 'The Cake' by female playwright Bekah Brunstetter. I was lucky enough to sit down with Sox to discuss her perspective on the process and thoughts on the piece as a whole.
Why don't you tell us a little bit about where you're from and where you went to school.
I am originally from South Carolina. I was born in Georgetown and my family moved to Greenville when I was seven, so I've claimed Greenville as my hometown. I went to school at Elon University and got a BFA in Acting there. It's kinda funny how I just keep moving back to Greenville after going other places. I did a year in Norfolk, Virginia, a year in Los Angeles, a year in Louisville, Kentucky, two years in Seattle, and a couple months in New York...Now I am back in Greenville with my three, almost four-year-old daughter and husband. This area has always been a nice spot to come back to, especially because childcare is affordable [Laughs]. There's also a fulfilling theatre community here as well.
You've been in other shows at The Warehouse...
Yeah, I did some stuff in high school, there was an apprenticeship program, so I did backstage work and took classes from their resident company. Since coming back I was Lady Anne in Richard III, a grown-up Cindy Lou Who in Christmas On The Rocks, and I also did 'In The Next Room or the Vibrator Play' that was a lovely experience all around. This year I participated in their education program's touring Shakespeare show: we visited different performing arts venues in South Carolina and we conducted workshops with the students who saw the show. I played Desdemona in their production of Othello, which was really fun.
For those who don't know the story of 'The Cake' what is the plot?
It centers around a woman named Della, she owns a bakery in Winston Salem, North Carolina and she is a pretty traditional, southern, Christian woman. It begins in Della's bakery and another woman is in the store, Della is trying to figure out why she's there but goes along with it. It so happens that Della and this woman kinda get into a little tiff about religion and push each other's buttons a bit. Della's best friend- who is dead- has a daughter, practically family to her, and that's the character that I play: Jen. Jen shows up and it turns out that the other woman in the bakery is Jen's fiancé. So Della is in this awkward position- where this girl that is practically her daughter is getting married to a woman. She's not sure how to handle the situation especially when she originally offered to make Jen's wedding cake. Her feelings have changed when she finds out that Jen is engaged to this other woman. The play really revolves around Della questioning her own faith, and why she believes what she believes, especially the whole idea of what makes a marriage. We even get to see a little insight into her own marriage. While Della is discovering her own self and sexuality: questioning her beliefs, Jen is doing the same thing: she's confronting her own identity. The cool thing about the play is that it's not preachy and there's no winner or victor. Everybody has to face some kind of hard truth and struggle. There's no clear winner at the end of the story, it's quite lovely.
There are a lot of Theaters doing this show, what sets your production at The Warehouse apart from the others going on around the country?
Our Producing Artistic Director, Mike Sablone has a very close relationship with the playwright, Bekah Brunstetter, and when he first read this play he immediately wanted to produce it. Mind you, this is before he had the job of a Producing Artistic Director [Laughs] He already had the director, Kerrie Seymour, in mind and he knew that her voice would be complementary to Bekah's work. It was just happy circumstance that when he came to Greenville and to this job that he was programming this 2017/2018 season. The playwright's goal was to allow any theatre that wanted to do it because the story is so important and relevant and meaningful. Knowing that we have this guiding hand from Mike who is so close to Bekah, we felt pretty secure that we are not straying too far from her original vision. Our space is also very intimate, which allows these relationships to shine. Bekah also writes in a lot of silent communication- in beats and body language. There are these beautiful, descriptive stage directions that are loaded with meaning and character. I feel like those moments are accented in this smaller space, it's almost cinematic in its' writing, so our venue allows us to breathe and live in that style.
Because there's such a bond between the artistic team and your collaborators, what's been your favorite part putting this play together?
When I was prepping for the show- reading the play over and over again- I could not get through it without crying. [Laughs] The story goes to your deepest place of pain or hurt so easily, and also has loving moments. Getting into the rehearsal room with everyone was a little scary, cause I was like 'How am I gonna do this thing?! If I can't get through it by myself!' But as we rehearsed I relaxed because I trusted the art of the play. I think my favorite part of the process was finding the humor and jokes. It's the moments in between lines, that on the page seem very simple, but when done out loud really transcends the page and makes us laugh. During our first previews it was then we began to discover 'Oh! This is funny like we thought it was.' It's a wonderful play, and has been a great process!
"The Cake" by Bekah Brunstetter, Directed by Kerrie Seymour runs through Dec. 17 at Warehouse Theatre. Tickets are $35, general admission, and are limited for the remainder of the run. For more info, go to www.warehousetheatre.com.
Photos Credit: Andrea Johnson