Thursday, February 4, 2010

Interview - Alex Bond of LATE NIGHTS WITH THE BOYS

By Byrne Harrison
Photos provided by Kampfire Films PR
Leather bar chanteuse photo by John Walker

Alex Bond is an actress, writer, and comedienne whose favorite roles include - Off-Broadway: Clara, Chi Chi & Marie in Flamingo Court (Off-Broadway); Regional: Betty in The Foreigner (a role originated by her aunt, Sudie Bond), Kate in Sylvia, and Amanda in Private Lives. She adds that national commercials have been a nice source of income from time to time.

Cabaret work in Dallas, TX in the late 70’s was the inspiration for her novel “LATE NIGHTS WITH THE BOYS: confessions of a leather bar chanteuse." The book honors those days and the marvelous men who became her “Dallas family of friends.”

Ms. Bond had her essay about surviving two skull fractures published in the Nov/Dec 2006 issue of the "Hastings Center Report." It is entitled "Where No One Can Lead You." Ms. Bond is proud to be a TBI survivor.

Ms. Bond is a member of AEA, SAG, AFTRA, IATSE 764 and the Dramatists Guild.

She resides in New Jersey with her husband.

You have a fascinating resume, including stand-up, cabaret, film, TV and theatre. When did you first get involved in the performing arts and what was your first love?

The good thing about pushing sixty is that you have been around long enough, and perhaps lucky enough, to try out most areas of Show Biz. My journey began in Louisville, KY when I was three years old. I would sit in front of the TV set (a fairly new invention) and watch a pas-de-deux on the Bell Telephone Hour and say “I’m gonna be a ballerina” with my decidedly Southern accent. Music always has inspired me to move or sing or write. So dance was my first love. I was fortunate to have a mother who treated me to piano lessons and ballet class. When I was twelve years old I worked on losing that accent, and I did my first school play. I played Howay in Mrs. McThing, a Mary Chase play. I was the male lead (I went to an all-girls school). As I exited after my first scene, I got exit applause. I was shocked and thrilled, and I got teary-eyed as I grabbed onto the newel post at the top of the stairs to the back stage area. The prompter asked if I was okay, and I replied, “I’ve never been better!” and I walked back out on stage for my next scene. The acting bug bit me at that very moment, and its venom has been coursing through my veins ever since. As I have aged, and some areas of the biz have become less penetrable, I have found other fascinating areas in which I can create. I have been blessed with a loving husband (coming up on our 25th anniversary) who has encouraged me to try “everything”: writing, singing, acting, stand-up. I’m one lucky Ole Broad!

What is your professional background?

From the time I graduated college I considered acting to be my profession. There are so many wonderful teachers, mentors, colleagues, friends who have added to my professional and personal life. I studied acting with Michael Howard, to whom I am extremely grateful. I am still finding “aha” moments from his tutelage. He taught me to observe, to be still and watch and listen. It is still a favorite exercise.

Tell me something about your play "LOPSIDED," about 8 breast cancer survivors. What inspired you to write it?

I wrote “LOPSIDED” in 2001, shortly after 9-11. As all of us were, I was shaken by the event and moved by the strength New Yorkers showed in its wake. It was also a time when breast cancer awareness was more in national focus. I was inspired by the power of support groups which give us strength when life seems so dark. A friend asked me to create a fund-raiser event for Hackensack University Medical Center Breast Cancer Awareness, and I wrote a series of monologues for various characters. I placed those characters in a former firehouse basement in NYC and “LOPSIDED” emerged. I collaborated with Steven Yuhasz, the marvelous director, and produced the play at ATA on 54th Street. The play is dedicated to my Aunt Sudie who was a breast cancer survivor.

David Carson and you will be doing readings from your book, "LATE NIGHTS WITH THE BOYS: confessions of a leather bar chanteuse," at this year's FRIGID New York Festival. Tell me a little something about the book and the show.

Imagine Armistead Maupin and Fannie Flagg swapping stories ala Gurney’s Love Letters with a bit of Spalding Gray thrown in.

But to be clear, we are not a show. We are a book reading. And I might add, that can be an art form in and of itself. David brings his wonderful presence to my tales of Dallas, 1977 as we transport our listeners to a wild and magical time before AIDS, but not before ignorance and prejudice.

LATE NIGHTS WITH THE BOYS was a Selection at the 2009 Fresh Fruit Festival, Winner 2008 Best Literary Staging Award (San Francisco Fringe Festival), and Winner 2007 Producer’s Pick Award (DFW Fringe Festival).

Do you have any words of advice for students who are planning a career in theatre?

Honor your friendships; think balance; work hard; take care of your instrument; be generous on stage and off.

Be respectful of everyone on a show: actors, writers, directors, producers, designers, stagehands, wardrobe, ushers, musicians, doormen/women, box office, custodial staff, vendors; they are all part of the team that makes theatre magic. (I know this because I have worn most of those hats during my life in the theatre.)

What else do you have planned for 2010?

After the book readings for the FRIGID I will be portraying the role of Susie in the world premiere of a new play by David Stallings entitled BARRIER ISLAND from April 30-May 22, 2010 at Center Stage on 21st Street. The play will be directed by Cristina Alicea and produced by MTWorks. And as a bonus for me, David Carson will be playing my husband, the character of Nate, in that production. After May 2010, only the theatre gods know!

To find out more about Alex and LATE NIGHTS WITH THE BOYS: confessions of a leather bar chanteuse, visit her website or the LATE NIGHTS WITH THE BOYS site.

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