This week Vancouver’s indie theatre company Hardline Productions delivers its 2011 season finale with Cativo, an original play created by the company’s resident artists. We caught up with co-writer and one of the stars of the show, local gay actor Gui Fontanezzi, in a q&a to find out more.
Tell us about Cativo – what can audiences expect?
I think they can expect a show that will leave them on the edge of their seats, and expect to experience some conflict as to which character’s side they are on.
What drew you to the project?
I loved the characters as soon as I read the first draft and it is a challenging piece of theater for the actors. The pay off so far has been great, which assures me that being a part of this project has been a valuable contribution to my growth as an artist.
You are also a credited writer of the script. What’s it like as an actor to take your own words and become them in the play?
The duality between what looks good on paper and what looks good on the stage is very interesting, and often surprising. You would think that it would be easier to convey your own words but that isn’t always the case, and even some lines that we questioned on paper end up coming to life onstage, which is great.
Why write an original piece?
I don’t think you could find something like “Cativo” already written out there … well maybe, but it would take a lot of looking, and if we can write our own … then why bother looking?
I understand the story idea came from Raes Calvert – can you tell us where the idea originated?
I think that Raes was very fascinated with the relationship between a captor and his/her captive. On the surface it seems as though the captor holds the majority of the power in the relationship, but that isn’t necessarily always the case. I think Raes wanted to create a situation where the power dynamic between these two people could easily shift from one person to another.
Tell us about the writing process as you are one of four writers – what is that process like? How do you find a common voice?
We had a great first draft written by Raes Calvert. That was our starting point, then we all got together for re-writing sessions, Genevieve Fleming, Raes, Sean Oliver and I. We had several sessions where we would read, re-write, cut, paste, fight, debate, agree, disagree … for me the great advantage of having so many different writers is that it became a lesser challenge to find the different “languages” for the characters.
Tell us about the character you play – Rodrigo. I am going to assume you’ve never been a cab driver and never been tortured. Where do you find your Rodrigo?
An actor cannot afford to act only what he has experienced first hand in his personal life. Even the well seasoned will eventually come across situations that he has either not experienced before or are simply larger than life. I like to draw upon my imagination and use it to get me to those places, the ones I haven’t been to yet, I think that is where most of the fun is in acting anyway.
Hardline has delivered some pretty hard-hitting shows in the past – was there pressure to continue that tradition with this original piece?
No, we had and continue to have fun with what the piece and what it has become. It’s been great.
Hardline Studios, Gastown
18 – 27 August 2011
Jason Weights is an ex-staff sergeant now making his living as an architect in the city. Rodrigo Silveira is a cab driver who immigrated from Brazil after being held and tortured by the U.S. military. Be it providence, fate, or unfortunate coincidence, Jason takes a cab today. Rodrigo’s cab. Visit http://www.hardlineproductions.ca for more information.