Friday, September 27, 2013

Interview with actress Patti-Anne Ali re "The Perfect Place"

(Photo of Patti-Anne Ali by Elspeth Duncan)

Interview with Patti-Anne Ali, who plays Margot in the play "The Perfect Place" - written by Elspeth Duncan, directed by Timmia Hearn Feldman. Now showing at Trinidad Theatre Workshop, Belmont.

Q. Who is Margot?
A. A rare pearl trying to find her way out of an oyster

Q. What have you learned (for your own life) from playing Margot? Has playing this role transformed 'Patti' the person in any way?
A. The actress has learned more about the intricacies of the craft and the woman has learned more about the complexities of being

Q. As a professional actress who has been acting for the past 20 years, what are the challenges of this role?
A. I've never played a character like this before - I've played a wide range of women struggling to find and/or free themselves in all manner of situations, but never one in this particular set of circumstances, and with this unique personality

Q. How have you experienced the evolution of the play since opening night?
A. It's interesting... the Director commented that this is the kind of play that actually gets harder as opposed to easier each time it is done. She's right. Most plays have a rhythm that you can settle into, once the run has begun, and you keep working to make it better, but there is an established rhythmic infrastructure that you can sense, even as the work continues. This play however, is so filled with subtle nuances and complexities, that each night, it feels different. It requires a full commitment to honesty from the two actors, to themselves, to the piece, the the moment - and that means, it takes a different shape each night. It is quite a challenge.

Q. How does the character Annabelle impact upon your portrayal of Margot—and does this impact change nightly?
A. The character Annabelle appears to be the polar opposite of Margot - young, adventurous, in charge of her life, but as the story progresses, we realise that Annabelle too, is trapped in her own oyster. Her impact on Margot is huge, as is hopefully, Margot's impact on Annabelle. They remind each other of what they have each lost and what it might be possible to regain. The young actress - Genie Lemo - portraying the role of Annabelle, does a great job of staying honest to Annabelle's complexities, to staying present to the moment and to her interactions with Margot.
For a young actress, she has displayed significant focus and considerable talent.

Q. What, in your opinion, is the overriding message of the play?
A. Carpe Diem.

Q. Any last words?
A. This has been a seminal piece for me as an actress. As an older actress with twenty years behind me, I am not interested in moving backwards. I want to keep challenging myself and this is exactly the kind of role that an older actress would welcome with open arms. Thank you Elspeth for writing such a thoughtful, moving piece and for not being afraid to step out of the box to do so.

This has also been my first time working with Timmia Hearn Feldman and it has been wonderful working with a Director who has the creative intelligence and depth of vision to make the most of a script and the sensitivity to still allow the piece to breathe.
When. Where. What time. Booking Tickets.
The plays run for the next two weekends: Th, F, Sat at 8:00pm and Sun at 6:00pm at Trinidad Theatre Workshop in Belmont. Call 6248502 or email to reserve tickets.  

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