Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Spotlight On...Alexander Rotella and Laura Minadeo
AR: Cranston, R.I.
LM: Warwick R.I.
AR: Community College of R.I.
LM: Community College of R.I., Berklee College of Music Alumni
AR: Homer Wells, Cider House Rules Part I &II; Martin Dart, The Receptionist; Ebenezer Scrooge, A Christmas Carol
LM: Susan, Title of Show; Eve, The Creation of The World and Other Business; Mary, Cephalopod
We are both story tellers, we loving telling and being part of great stories. It doesn’t matter if it’s through our own words or through others. It’s a beautiful thing to be in front of an audience and have them invested in what you’re creating from someone’s mind or experience. It’s a rush like no other. Theater is also an art form that lives and exists only for a moment. You live in a moment with an audience and then it’s gone, it’s not like film where you can capture a moment. That is part of what makes it so alive and invigorating. The other reason is theater is the one place you can be whoever and whatever you want. There are no signs that say “This topic is not allowed” or “You’re not wanted here” It’s all encompassing.
Tell us about Pickles:
Pickles is a unique action-packed superhero tale seen through the eyes of, sassy cosmetologist, Annie as she expresses her outrageous views on her boyfriend's "night job", his sidekick dog, bodily functions, and the city's devastating lack of caffeine thanks to The Decafinator!
What inspired you to create Pickles?:
LM: Alex asked “what would you do if I was a superhero?" I’ve never been one for damsels in distress, so I decided to write a show on how a strong female would deal with the zany adventures of a superhero boyfriend. With the help of Alex’s incredible story telling talent and comic book knowledge, Pickles was born. We wanted to fill a gap in the entertainment community and create characters that we would want to play and see. It’s exasperating how woman are often portrayed in comic books. They’re either always finding themselves in danger or the strong, independent ones get shafted next to their male counter parts. We wanted to write a show were the characters are honest, strong, real, and at times vulnerable regardless of their sex, age, race or any other label.
AR: Pickles is as much a reflection of our beliefs as it is our relationship. Annie and Everyman (our two main characters) butt heads continuously, but working through things can sometimes create a stronger bond. Laura and I realized early on that we both have strong and sometimes opposing views, but just like the main characters in this silly tale we figured out that seeing two different sides to every situation means we ultimately see a wider scope when we work together. This show is for the little kid that sits inside every one of us, the one that we all lose sight of sometimes! Unlike our adult’s brains, that little kid still gets swept up easily and simply has a blast because they’re allowing themselves to have fun while whole heartedly believing that anything is possible.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?:
Theater in general speaks to us. We both can agree we love the art of store telling no matter what the medium. On Tuesday we could be enthralled in a dark, gut wrenching drama and by Wednesday we’re in the front row of a feel good musical. I think what resonates with the both of us is honest and truthful characters with a purpose.
LM: Life inspires me as an artist. There are times when I just sit and watch people and think “Wow, I wonder what there life is like when they get home” or watch something happen and think, “You know what would be really funny right about now?”
AR: For me it’s all about getting swept away by something that excites or scares me, most of the time that feeling is the exact same thing. I find inspiration in things that peak my deepest curiosities. Once I get curious about something I become obsessed until I know as much as I can about it. Finding honesty in the world and people also fascinates me. There are times when I look at something in a show and think “Wow, it’s hard to believe someone would act like that” and then I see someone in real life and think “Wow, no one would believe that on paper”. So art reflecting life and vice versa is very true.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?:
There are hundreds of talented directors and actors that we would both love to work with. I think the most important thing to us is working with people who are decent and kind. There is nothing worse than finding out someone you adore as an artist is not a great person. We cherish people who hold the same values and work ethic that we do. When we’re involved in a project, sometimes even for a friends project, there is no length we won’t go to, to ensure it is the best product possible. We can’t even express how essential it is to find people in the process who are the same.
What show have you recommended to your friends?:
LM: Well of course Pickles but I often recommend shows with strong female characters. Last week I recommended A Doll’s House to one of my employees who had never heard of it.
AR: I’ve never recommended a show more than I have Pickles! But I am in a constant back and forth with friends and fellow actors about shows that are up. I usually highly recommend a show based on who’s working on it rather than the show. Who is in the process can tell you much more about a show than the show itself sometimes.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?:
LM: I would hope it was someone fantastic like Lea Michele, Mindy Kaling, or Zooey Deschanel. Not only are they hilarious but their all so multi-talented. If I had to name it and be honest with myself it would be called “Confessions of an Awkward yet Loveable Ingénue”.
AR: Most of the actors I would immediately think of are much older than me. If I had to name actors without age as a factor it’d be actors like Tom Hanks or Robert Downey Jr. I’d name it "Alex’s Tale: The man who thought “superhero” was a career option".
If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?:
LM: Anything with Judy Garland in it. She is my spirit animal.
AR: I would have loved to see one of the first showings of Dracula on stage.
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?:
LM: Llamas and Strawberry Shortcake...but not together.
AR: Superhero’s and Action/Adventure in any form!
If you weren’t working in theater, you would be?:
Performing for our dog Pepper! A life without working in the theater is just not an option for either of us. It’s in our DNA, there’s no way around it!
What’s up next?:
Hopefully nothing but amazing things! We both have a few films lined up for the upcoming months and hopefully some more writing. Pickles is our first love though, so we plan on bringing our Superhero tale to as many people as possible.