Saturday, July 26, 2014

Spotlight On...Gianni Onori

Name: Gianni Onori

Hometown: Bo'ness, Scotland

Education: GAMTA (The Glasgow Academy of Musical Theatre Arts -

Favorite Credits: I think the coolest thing for me so far would be having The 8th Fold put on in concert in the West End last year. That was pretty epic.

Why theater?: I'm a big dreamer, I always have been and the ability to create a two hour long reality of its own really excites me. My characters can do whatever I want them to, say whatever I think they should and sort of convey my opinions without the words coming out of my own mouth. I also find it a great way of letting go. If something is upsetting me then I can pour it into my writing and leave it there.

Tell us about The 8th Fold?: The 8th Fold is about four young men who simultaneously lose family members to America's war on terror in Afghanistan and the journey they take to recover from their grief. As morbid as it could be, it's really more so to do with personal growth and moving forward and of course the power of friendship and talking about your worries out loud. That's a huge theme, communication, not just between the boys but within themselves. As they learn to listen past the noise and really hear themselves then it's easier to solve the problems. It's funny, I actually find it really difficult to break down and I somewhat dread people asking what it's about. Considering the theme the show sits on, the events on 9/11, of course the initial assumption is that it'll be a very dark piece of theatre when really it's incredibly uplifting. I've certainly grown with these characters and I think those who've seen the piece do too.

What inspired you to write The 8th Fold?: This is another question I always dread. I honestly have no idea what drew me to the subject matter. It's seems like a lifetime ago but I remember wanting to create something current and relevant. Something that everyone could relate to. Everyone deals with loss in some form and within the show we get four different reactions and responses to that. I also love comic books and superheroes and so within the piece each boy represents a season and an element which relates to their characteristics and their journey. These themes in turn end up kind of being the power that they contribute to the group, their strengths and their weaknesses and also how they react to each other.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?:
Typically I'm drawn dark, dramatic pieces of theater. I also love a strong female lead in a show, that may be somewhat to do with my Mum who's a huge role model for me. I find inspiration within every day life. Any strong emotions or feelings that I recognise within myself almost always end up turning to music. As far as inspiring artists go, the one score I always come back to is Adam Guettel's The Light In The Piazza. There's something so beautiful and majestic about it yet for me it manages to maintain this incredible subtlety that pulls me in and makes me want to write.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: One day I would LOVE Michael Mayer to direct one of my pieces. I've worked with him as an actor before and it's an experience that's always stuck with me.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Most recently I've been telling all my friends about If/Then. When I was visiting the city earlier this year to hold auditions I was lucky enough to see it. There are so many little moments within it that I couldn't get out of my head for days. (Plus i'm a proud Idina fanboy.)

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I'd love to say somehow as gorgeous as Matt Bomer.... but maybe someone like Bette Midler in man-drag - I can be a bit of a diva when I want to be. I guess it'd be called something like 'The Life Of Gi' - get it?

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?:
Ummm... at the moment i'm going through a bit of a 'healing crystals' phase. I'd like to say i'm hippie at heart but I probably just like them because they're sparkly. (And "Sailor Moon", I love "Sailor Moon".)

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: It's not a song but the most played track on my iTunes is Rhonda Byrne's 'The Secret' audiobook. I'm totally into all that. On the music side of things I pretty much have Idina Menzel singing "Always Starting Over" from If/Then on repeat.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?:
My Latin teacher always told me i'd make a good lawyer. I always had a solid case ready for not having my homework done.

What’s up next?: There are a few things going on at the moment. I've started work on a musical adaptation of the life of Mary, Queen of Scots which stylistically veers off in a completely different direction from The 8th Fold. I've also begun writing pieces for an incredible true story that was turned into a book followed by a film with Sigourney Weaver called "Prayers For Bobby". It's about the life of Mary Griffiths, now a well known gay rights activist, and her suffering following the suicide of her gay son Bobby. If I were to get her permission I'd love to take it further.

For more information on "The 8th Fold" go to: