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Working on a Special Day

nytheatre.com q&a preview by ANA GRAHAM
January 4, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Co-translator, co-director, actor, costume designer.

What is your show about?
Inspired in the Oscar nominated film A Special Day by Ettore Scola, two actors (Ana Graham and Antonio Vega) explore the life-changing encounter between Antonietta and Gabriele, on the day of Hitler’s 1938 visit to Mussolini’s Italy.

When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
My mother took me to a children’s play for the first time when I was around four years old. I do not remember what the play was about, but I do remember thinking I wanted to be up on the stage doing what the actors where doing. After that first time, going to the theatre became my favorite thing and my mother took me nearly every weekend. I could see a play over and over again. At home I began to write, direct, act and produce plays with my neighborhood friends. I used to charge for the tickets too.

Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
I do theatre because I cannot live with out doing it. It is the space where I can explore and express thoughts, behaviors, and social issues that are relevant and urgent to me. As an actor, theatre is the only place where you can create a character and really dig deep into it, because the character is limited to an specific extraordinary situation that you get to revise over and over again, not only during rehearsals but through the whole season. As opposed to film or TV, this repetition allows the actor a profound understanding of the human nature of his/her creation. Besides that, I am the artistic producer of my plays so I have the privilege to choose the material that I want to work on.

Why did you want to write/direct/produce/act in/work on this show?
I fell in love with Working on a Special Day because it is a theatrical exercise that recovers the value of tolerance by pointing out the sterility of authoritarian discourses and their castration ability. I think it is important to talk about this.

Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
SURPRISING

Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
I believe that theatre, as any other form of art, aims to ask those questions that can change the way we look at ourselves or at a specific situation. Those questions and finding their answers are the first step towards a better life. Although this is an individual process, social change can be the result of it. Working on a Special Day is not a political play; it is a play about confronting individual beliefs, where hope for social change resides in the possibility of personal change.