WorkShop Company Artists Ben Sumrall, known for his performance in the Drama Desk-nominated Ryan Case 1873, also does improv with Chicago City Limits. Tony Travostino recently appeared Delio in The Duchess of Malfi. In BELIEVERS they’re playing the same character… twenty years apart.
WHAT’S THAT LIKE? FIND OUT HERE:
Q. So the two of you are playing the same character at two different stages of their life, with approximately a 20-year span. How’d you feel first day of rehearsal to come in and see your older or younger “self?”
T: I think it wasn’t so much like I was looking at my younger self as opposed to looking at someone with whom I had to share a character. Right away I noticed physical similarities and differences. But the most interesting thing was that both Ben and I grew up within 20 miles of each other in small towns near Kansas City, Missouri. That was a bizarre coincidence – ask Kierkegard about that one!
B: I was happy to see it’s another guy with curly hair! But yeah, the fact that we’re both from KC stood out to me the strongest.
Q. Ben, you’re playing character when he is younger. How does it feel to see the changes of your “older” self?
B: It reminds me to be mindful of life’s junctures, big and small. Choices that my version makes set him on unforeseen trajectories, and it’s interesting to ponder how the many little ‘road forks’ can have a much bigger impact on our futures than we often realize.
Q. Tony, you’re playing the character when he is older. What affects you most about seeing the younger version?
T: As the character – what really hits me is his commitment to his art at the time and then where all that commitment ends up in my version. What I end up doing with it in the intervening years. A not uncommon story for many.
Q. How did you work together in the rehearsal process? Did you get together to figure out similar mannerisms or speech patterns?
T: Hmmmm…. maybe we have the same accent growing up where we did but otherwise – I think who you were 20 years ago is not necessarily who you are now. I know I don’t have many of the same mannerisms now that I did then. And while I confess I thought about it, I also worried that it might be a bit over the top also.
B: A lot of the similarities really result from Ken’s writing, as he’s developed consist patterns for both characters as they navigate life’s shifting currents. Finding the truth in those has seemed to be the most effective way.
Q. How does the play make you feel about marriage and relationships?
T: I think the play despite many of the events, is about love. We all define it differently but at it’s core it’s about love and the direction it can takes us. For each person that would be different but Ken Jaworowski has take this couple in a particular direction (or two directions depending on where they are in their life) which I think is valid and I would kill to be at everyone’s bar after the show to hear the conversation!
B: So that I don’t get in trouble, I’m gonna punt on this one!
Q. What made you want to do BELIEVERS?
T: Are you kidding? Have you read the script? It’s fantastic!