Monday, September 1, 2014

Spotlight On...Ian Antal

Name: Ian Antal

Hometown: Berlin, Germany

Education: BFA from UNC School of the Arts

Select Credits: Associate Artist with New York Classical Theatre; Orlando in As You Like It; Treplev in The Seagull; Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night

Why theater?: It's the only place I get rewarded for breaking rules and social norms.

Who do you play in Flamingo?: I am playing the role of Finn, Caroline's goofy lab partner, best friend, confidant.

Tell us about Flamingo: The script is what hooked me. Reading is not an  activity that comes naturally or easily to me. It's work. All those  clichés about not being able to put a book down never really made much  sense to my rather visual and kinesthetic disposition. But then I read this beautifully constructed story about a smart, young woman wrestling with the dichotomy between what feels right in her heart, brain, and  gut, as an intense passion is sparked by someone who deeply challenges her beliefs. The dialogue was just so engaging on the page alone, and felt so immediate and accessible that, for once in my life, there wasn't a single fiber of my being that wanted to lay the script aside until the arc of the story had been completed. The writing is honest. The relationships are intriguing. And the development of the story is very smooth.

What is it like being a part of Flamingo?: For one, it is a treat and a  trap to be sharing the stage with the playwright. Alex is so tremendously gifted both on the page and in person that the tone of the play becomes very approachable in the rehearsal room. Yet there is always the lurking temptation to tweak the script here and there when something isn't quite sitting right with me, and one has to stay very judicious and honest with oneself: "Do I want that change because it's a real problem in the storytelling, or do I want it because I am a victim of my own laziness?" So far it's always been the latter for me. ;) It's quite a privilege to look at every face at rehearsals and realize that absolutely everyone is on top of their game. Jillian is terribly clever and insightful, and she approaches the process with a very compassionate directing style that creates the safe space for us to confidently explore difficult questions. The designers have each brought so much vision and personality to the show that a chain reaction of creativity becomes apparent. And what is most comforting of all is that there is no ego in the room. Dylan and Alex are such humble and energetic artists, and the entire production team is so very down to earth that there just isn't any room for the self-indulgent freakouts one sometimes observes in other creative circumstances.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I am a total sucker for Shakespeare. Experiencing the electricity in the air when contemporary audiences connect with the emotional journey within such heightened text is a deeply humbling experience. The fact that one can read, work on, or attend the very same play numerous times and still find numerous surprises in the text upon each encounter speaks worlds about the magnitude of Master Will's body of work. Bill Murray is the most interesting man in the world.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: Luke Skywalker in the Shakespearean adaptation of Star Wars (oh believe me, it's real. Look it up!)

What’s your favorite showtune?: My fiancée is not a singer, but she brings each and every song from "Mulan" to life in a hilarious way that makes me pity the rest of the world for never getting to experience it.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Kenneth freakin' Branagh

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Curious George would play me in a movie called "The Fool on the Hill"

What show have you recommended to your friends?: If we're talking live shows: My lady's upcoming dance performance with mishiDance. If we're talking tv: I was destitute when I ran out of "House of Cards" episodes.

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: "Booty Swing" by Parov Stelar. This gentleman's work introduced me to the delightful world of Electro Swing. Who knew??

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Polishing off an entire pack of double-stuff Oreos in one sitting (with Cool Whip, of course)

What’s up next?: The Simpletons, a silent red-nose clown collective I founded over a year ago, has a bunch of ridiculously fun projects and collaborations in the pipe-line. We shoot short films around the streets of New York City to give a wondrous twist to ordinary, everyday occurrences. I'll also be starring in a production of A Christmas Carol at the World Financial Center with New York Classical Theatre in December as well. What I'm really most excited about right now is getting cracking on a project that involves visiting cancer patients in hospitals and reading Winnie the Pooh stories to them while they receive treatment.

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