Kay Bourne Arts Report – Issue #84

August 26th, 2010  |  Published in Kay Bourne Arts Report

IDRIS ELBA ON “TAKERS”
HAIRSPRAY’s PERRY
A GREAT SUMMER READ
EKUA’S EVENING ART WALK
UP YOU MIGHTY RACE PRESENTS A STAGED READING
UP-COMING EVENTS & COMMUNITY INFO


IDRIS ELBA ON “TAKERS” 718 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #84 (pictured: Idris Elba)
Boston, August 9, 2010. KBAR had the opportunity to sit down with IDRIS ELBA on a recent Monday morning to talk about his new film, his music, and his passion for supporting independent film.

As heist movies go, “TAKERS” falls on the heals of some of the best, “Ocean’s Eleven”, the “Bank Job” and dozens more that are filled with testosterone, explosions, and great costume design (there is nothing like a European tailor). With a cast as hot as this one, PAUL WALKER, IDRIS ELBA, HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN, MICHAEL EALY, CHRIS BROWN and T.I., this movie can’t possibly fail, and it doesn’t.

As Elba says “we all had great fun together,” and “I love heist films and I wanted to be a part of one.”
Entertaining to the final moment, the film has strong writing from PETER ALLEN and GABRIEL CASSEUS (both whom have been to Boston with TCOF/RIFF events), and believable acting by the “takers” and the detectives (MATT DILLON and JAY HERNANDEZ) who are trying to catch them. To add a deeper richness to the film, MARIANNE JEAN-BAPTISTE (“Secret and Lies” and “Without A Trace”) plays Idris’ drug addicted sister and allows us to see the depth of his character and the humanity that exists under his staid exterior. A storyline he says “that was an anchor for my character.”
Out of a love for independent films, (readers may remember Elba as the “bad guy” in the film “One Love” with KYMANI MARLEY that TCOF screened a few years ago) Elba has created his own production company in London that will work with young writers who have great material and the vision to make it work.
His newest film “Legacy” is his first acting/producing project because as he put it, “some of the roles I am getting are not challenging enough so I am looking more towards producing.”

With roles coming at him and his popularity on the rise, Elba gets scripts more readily these days but he says “It’s a matter of saying no rather than saying yes. I wouldn’t have the range as an actor if I didn’t stick to my guns. I’m not famous and that is one thing about being a character actor, that you can’t always recognize who I am, and I like that.”
As Elba’s star begins to rise it will be more and more difficult for him to seek refuge in the character parts that he plays. He tries to keep his two worlds separate, that of father and everyday guy with being a growing star and he feels the difficulty of balancing the two and creating a “clear separation” he says.

“My daughter doesn’t actually like when we are out and people are asking to take pictures. It is tough because part of your success is having notoriety and being larger than life and my fans are very important but you have to balance the two lives. I shake hands, I take a picture but when I am not in the mood, I’m not in the mood and I don’t pretend.”
Well from what we saw, Idris Elba that problem doesn’t often arise. He is gracious and charming and even if you came across him and he wasn’t in the mood, you would never know you were being pushed off. He takes his work very seriously and his command and respect for the craft is not only comforting, but very apparent. “Takers” is a great addition to the summer line up. It is sure to keep your attention in more ways than one.

By Lisa Simmons
TAKERS official website


HAIRSPRAY’s PERRY 722 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #84
Tiny WESTON, VERMONT — population 600 and shrinking —is as far from Broadway as a svelte actress is from playing “HAIRSPRAY”‘s chunky heroine. Right?
Wait a minute! Meet MARISSA PERRY! and welcome to the venerable WESTON PLAYHOUSE, founded in 1937, Vermont’s oldest professional theater, and continuing to attract audiences from upper New York state along with vacationers and year-rounders in the Green Mountain State. (The playhouse’s inaugural production was Noel Coward’s “Hay Fever” starring a young actor by the name of Lloyd Bridges).
Perry was spotted playing Tracy Turnblad at the regional theater by none other than MARC SHAIMAN and SCOTT WITTMAN, the partners for life who provided the music and lyrics for the multiple Tony winning musical. The duo asked Perry: How did you fall through the cracks in the original auditions? The answer Perry believes is “that I wasn’t ready back then.” (The R&B musical “Hairspray,” based on John Walters‘ 1988 movie, opened August 15, 2002, on Broadway, and closed in January 2009 after 2,500 performances).
Perry recently reprised Tracy Turnblad at the REAGLE MUSIC THEATRE OF GREATER BOSTON in a production directed and choreographed by TODD MICHAEL SMITH and JUDINE SOMERVILLE, both six year veterans of the Broadway “Hairspray” cast. The story of integrating a local TV dance program where high schoolers try out the latest steps, Reagle’s Hairspray got eight performances through August 22 at the Waltham High School’s Robinson Auditorium.
From the unfettered peppiness of her early morning strut to high school (“Good Morning Baltimore”) to the “downtown” R&B dance steps she exhibits at the try-out for the Corny Collins Show, the chubby Tracy Turnblad is on the go.
That said, Perry moved on to understudy and then star in the New York show as Turnblad for the final months of its run, even as she was losing weight from her off hours pumping iron and running on the treadmill.
Turnblad, now 25, who tried out and got many call backs the first time around for Tracy, comments, “I was very young and found it hard to connect with the 15 year old in me at 18 because it seemed like yesterday. I needed to age a bit.” She finally made it as Tracy at age 22, her Broadway debut.
At Vermont’s Weston Playhouse, where the effervescent Marissa Perry whirled through Hairspray as the irrepressible teenager, the actor noticed, “I was having trouble breathing through the show.”
She asked herself, “How am I going to get through it every night?”
Across the street from the boarding house where she was staying is a cemetery. “I started running in the old graveyard. I’d run in circles and sing the songs. I realized I had to multi-task to build the stamina I needed. You have to sustain your energy to pull this role off.
“Now I’m a gym rat,” says Perry who works out every day, “mostly cardio and sometimes running on the treadmill.” She also lifts weights.
A side effect has been that she’s lost 40 pounds. “A plus,” she says, adding that if she gets too thin to play the plumb Turnblad, “there’s always a fat suit.
“There’s more to Tracy than a fat girl,” says Perry, “and playing her well relies more on capturing who she is than on the size she is.”
But wherever Perry is playing Tracy and however big or small the actress is at the time, “I give a Broadway performance.”
Her theater ethic requires that “I walk off the stage being proud of the performance I gave. I’m always after giving the greatest performance of my life; I’m going to shine.”
Visit the website for upcoming productions at The Reagle Music Theatre.

By Kay Bourne
Official website of Reagle Music Theatre


A GREAT SUMMER READ
719 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #84 JUSTIN KRAMON‘s entertaining debut novel “FINNY” follows the formative years of the endearing Finny Short, a straight shooter who at 14 is at odds with her parents and they with her.
The reader quickly grasps that the teenager has more going for her than the fusty dad who handles life’s small problems by quoting from authors he regards as important thinkers and the tightly strung mom who rigidly follows her notions of etiquette and expects Finny to do likewise.
When, to their displeasur,e she links up romantically with a neighborhood boy, Finny is shipped off to boarding school. Here she encounters yet more adults who’ve adjusted to life by developing eccentricities which, if problematic for Finn,y are characteristics that are not more than she can handle and which she can see through to the person beneath the oddity. The individuals she becomes involved in, through her travels from school days to adulthood, are people she continues to know.
Written in a convincing way, the picaresque novel falls more into the genre of the whimsical “A Confederacy of Dunces” than the coming of age novels of Charles Dickens with their dark side. Unlike John Kennedy Toole‘s misfit who disdains pop culture, however, Finny enjoys the places life takes her and the people she meets. Her quest is to lead a life that brings her happiness.
Kramon writes with élan. “FINNY” is enjoyable for its flair and humor, but even so at heart it is a romantic novel that has satisfying conclusions.

By Kay Bourne
FINNY book trailer


EKUA’S EVENING ART WALK
720 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #84 Follow EKUA HOLMES, an exceptional Roxbury-based artist, on a leisurely walking tour of the visual arts on Highland Park/Fort Hill. In addition to visiting impressive pieces of public art around the neighborhood, enter the private home studios of local artists. This personalized look at Roxbury’s art community is a fantastic introduction to the variety of artists and types of art on view during ROXBURY OPEN STUDIOS, taking place October 2 and 3.

DISCOVER ROXBURY presents EKUA’s EVENING ART WALK Thursday, AUGUST 26, 6pm-8pm. Limit 20 people. Purchase tickets ($5) online at the Discover Roxbury website or call 617-427-1006 for more information. Tour departs Roxbury Crossing Station at 6pm.
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. Discovery Roxbury website


UP YOU MIGHTY RACE PRESENTS A STAGED READING
721 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #84 UP YOU MIGHTY RACE, in conjunction with the BOSTON BLACK THEATER COLLECTIVE presents a staged reading of “COUPS AND CALYPSO” by M. Nourbese Philip directed by AKIBA ABAKA on SEPTEMBER 14, at JAMAICAWAY BOOKS & GIFTS, 676 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain. Free admission, come early and enjoy some healthy soul food at the cafe. Official Website of Up You Mighty Race


UP-COMING EVENTS & COMMUNITY INFO
DON WEST photography exhibit “PARIS: light/shadow” runs until SEPTEMBER 7, 2010 at Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center. In this exhibit, photographer Don West offers a close look as Paris becomes itself again in another moment of excitement, mystery and anticipation that either warms your memory of a time past or a yearning forward. The river, the architecture, and the people are extracted to form another insight into a city, ever-changing and evolving: the light of day – the shadows of night. Click here for more information.

THE FORD HALL FORUM announces its fall series of free public discussions, and invites you to join experts and opinion leaders defining our world today. Questions from the audience are provided equal time as the speakers’ remarks. Come listen, question, and take part in this series of conversations that has been at the heart of Boston’s cultural and intellectual life for more than a century:

  • SEPTEMBER 30 – “AIDS, Social Justice and The Politics of Transformation” * What does prejudice, violence, substance abuse, and poverty have to do with stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS?
  • OCTOBER 7 – WHO IS WINNING THE CHILDHOOD OBESITY BATTLE? * Who is responsible for policing childhood obesity and what are the unintended consequences of the methods we’ve tried so far?
  • OCTOBER 28 – “AN EXTRAORDINARY UPBRINGING” * How did Condoleezza Rice’s parents shape the life of this extraordinary leader? CONDOLEEZZA RICE discusses her new memoir
  • NOVEMBER 4 – “ELECTION 2010 and COMMUNITIES OF COLOR”
  • NOVEMBER 8 – “AN ACTOR AND A GENTLEMAN” – LOUIS GOSSETT Jr. discusses his new memoir

All events are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Click here for details.

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