BWW Interviews: The Women of Falsettos
Falsettos is a Tony Award winning musical which explores complicated issues surrounding family and love amidst the backdrop of the emergence of the HIV/AIDS crisis in New York City.
It is the latest offering in Acting Up Stage's exciting season, and opens tonight at the newly revamped Regent Park Arts Centre (now known as Daniel's Spectrum).
BWW sat down and spoke with the three ladies of the production, Sara-Jeanne Hosie, Glynis Ranney and Sarah Gibbons about what the experience has been like so far, and about how relevant they feel the material is today:
Congratulations on Falsettos. How is the rehearsal process going so far?
SJH: Rehearsal is going very well. The team is amazing! Robert McQueen is a gift.
GR: It's going extremely well. It's a process that I am so grateful for. It's my first time working with Robert McQueen as a director and he is phenomenal. He is a brilliant, kind and wise man and it's such a gift to get to work with him as well as our musical director Reza Jacobs our choreographer Tim French. They're just a phenomenal creative team, the cast is amazing and it's just a joy for me to get to work on this show.
SG: Thanks for asking. For me personally I have learnt so much from this rehearsal process. The team are really a wealth of knowledge and since this is my first show I'm absorbing information like a sponge. The entire team is experienced, patient and generous which has made it such an amazing And calm process. Robert Tim and Reza really allow us (the actors) to create our characters organically which is a blessing. Not to mention how awesome everyone is from the actors to behind the scenes. It's a great team.
This show deals with some very heavy issues - most notably the early emergence of the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 80s. Do you think the material is as relevant today as it was when it was then?
SJH: When this show opened much of the audience back then were dealing with the devastation of watching their dearest friends and loved ones suffer from this horrible disease. It was fresh. Yes, today we are more educated about AIDS, however the impact of William Finn's material has not changed. It's a story of love, family, religion, sex and loss. All of these topics are relevant every day of every year.
SG: I think this material is just or even more relevant today than it was when it was written. People today need to be educated about happened to the gay community and the world during the 1980s. Since HIV/AIDS is an epidemic that still exists in today's society, I think it is extremely important that this show is done now, in 2013. There is definitely a lack of AIDS/HIV history or education in schools today. I think its important that the upcoming generation should come see this. I think more artists and actors should create and tell stories such as this one. What is the point of theatre if it doesn't educate and make you think?
Recently Toronto had a critically acclaimed run of The Normal Heart, another show which dealt with a group of people in NYC during the Early Stages of the AIDS crisis. There was much discussion then about how the younger generation of theatre goers need to see this kind of material so that they can be familiar with what people went through and with why it's important to keep fighting HIV/AIDS. Do you agree and do you think Falsettos can help with that kind of education?
SJH: I absolutely agree! Like any piece of important history education is important. Its a major reason why I love the theatre and have chosen it as my career. It gives us an opportunity to do just that - tell important stories, through art.
GR: Absolutely, the approach the Acting Up Stage is taking with this particular production - the Choose Your Own Adventure Post Show Chats which will be doing on the issues - elaborates and helps promote education about HIV.
At its core, do you feel the show has a hopeful message?
GR: Yes I do. To me the show really is abouT Loving each other and learning how to love each other in the midst of our limitations and our weakness and fears. It's about big love and I believe a kind of transcendent love. Each of the characters is on a journey of how to love, so indeed it is a very hopeful message. Also, it is hopeful in the sense that joy and sadness can be one, and often in life it is the case that we can experience both things because life is complicated and hard, but also beautiful.
SG: Yes. "This is where we take a stand" (quoting the show). I think the show brings hope especially for marriage equality and in support of AIDS/HIVS. The show is full of hope and the fight for love.
What would be the number one reason to encourage a younger audience to come and see the show (HIV/AIDS education notwithstanding)?
SJH: Haha! Education is never the word to encourage young people to rush to watch something. I would say, if you're a fan of the theatre, don't miss this piece. It is moving, innovative, important and produced by Acting Up Stage, an inspiring company who have a vision, and deserve the support from their community. Also, one of our leads is 11 years old! What a role model for the youth of today.
GR: It's a fun show! It's funny, I think the music is beautiful and it's very entertaining as well as moving. Just to see the artistry of how this director has put it together would be really interesting for anyone.
SG: I encourage a younger audience, especially emerging artists, to come see the show because its honest, funny and has heart. Not to mention, Acting Up Stage has produced some of the best shows I've ever seen as an audience member. Period. Get your tickets now and come to the talk backs!
When and Where?
On now until May 12th 2013
Daniel's Spectrum (formerly Regent Park Arts & Cultural Spectrum)
Tickets can be purchased in person at the box office, by phone at 1-800-838-3006 or online
On April 26th there will be a special talkback Q&A featuring William Finn. Toronto Star Theatre Critic Richard Ouzounian will conduct an on-stage interview with the legendary composer. Open to anyone who sees the evening performance.