Tuesday, February 18, 2014

FRIGID New York Interview - Nicole Lee Aiossa of "I Shall Forget You Presently"

By Byrne Harrison

Show:  I Shall Forget You Presently
Photo credit: Theresa Unfried

Nicole Lee Aiossa has been singing, teaching, dancing, song writing, acting, choreographing and directing in New York City for the past 15 years. Nicole is Dysfunctional’s resident opera singer, having performed in such productions as La Boheme (Musetta), Falstaff (Alice), Il Segretto di Susanna (Susanna), Dido & Aeneas (1st Witch), The Impresario (Goldentrill), La Traviata (Violetta), Carmen (Frasquita), Orpheus in the Underworld (Eurydice), Don Pasquale (Norina), and numerous others.  Dysfunctional Theatre credits include, Final Defenders (Queen Bowsera/Co-Director) Unlicensed (Jodi), Brew of the Dead II: Oktoberflesh (Julie), Porcelain and Pink (Julie), Fancy Eating You Here (Monique), and various other nuns and zombies. Nicole is currently a member of an operatic duo called ‘Park Avenue’, and a lounge act called ‘The Bobby Oahu Big Band’.  For more info please visit  www.wix.com/NicoleAiossa/soprano

Tell me a little about your show.

Using original poetry, music of the era, quotes and dialogue, writers Eric Chase and Amy Overman have constructed a patchwork of the remarkable life and work of Edna St. Vincent Millay.  The ensemble cast moves, acts and sings it's way around the poet and into her life, loves and passions.  More than just a poet, we show you a woman who captured love, defined feminism and shaped the 20th century.   We hope that we have captured her life as well as any person can.  I myself, am part of the cast, but am primarily the 'Lead Singer,' commenting on the action thru song.  There is a house band, The Wobblin' Wobblies, that does an amazing job setting the mood for the piece and breaking up the action. All of the music chosen is appropriate to the time, written and performed from that era, with the exception of course, of the one piece i wrote myself, set to Millay's poetry.

How did the show come about?

Dysfunctional had been asked to be a part of The Brick's Tiny Theater program, which consisted of doing a show in a 6x6x6 cube.  The show could also only be ten minutes long.  The director, Eric Chase, and producer/co-writer, Amy Overman, had long been fans of Edna St. Vincent Millay and thought this would be a good chance to work on something new.  The ten minute play went so well, we decided to work on a longer, more involved show.

How did you become involved with it?

As a member of the Dysfunctional Theatre Company, I was asked if I would like to be involved from the beginning.  I was also asked if I could write an original song to one of Edna's poems, which I did.  This then evolved into me becoming the musical director, and researching more music of the time, and incorporating that in to the full length show.

Who else is helping you bring the show to FRIGID?

The cast of I Shall Forget You Presently, Dysfunctional Theatre, whiskey, and my love of Benedict Cumberbatch.

Who would be your dream audience for this show?

Dysfunctional Theatre Company is an all inclusive theater group, and we love for everyone to be able to enjoy our productions, even if it doesn't seem like their 'cup of tea'.  That being said, literary types, fans of poetry and especially fans of Edna St. Vincent Millay, should really like what we have been able to accomplish.  We would love for members of The Edna St. Vincent Millay Society to come and see the work, and get their feedback as well.  Also, Benedict Cumberbatch, because he is dreamy.  

As a theatre artist, who are your biggest influences?

First off, all of my fellow members of Dysfunctional.  I have been very blessed and thankful to be able to work, create, laugh, drink, and evolve with all of them.  I came into the company as an opera singer, with not much theater background (other than musical theater), so to be able to watch what other actors do, without music, has truly been a privilege. Secondly, since like I said, I am classically trained, my biggest influences have been Natalie Dessay,  Kiri Te Kanawa, Teressa Stratas, and my mentor- Mark Rucker. 

What other shows are you planning to see at FRIGID?

For sure, Boogie of the Apes, because ummm, yes and Drag Queen Stole My Dress, because that has happened more than once to me.

What's else does 2014 hold for you?

Immediately after I Shall Forget You closes, I go into work on a new production of Mozart's The Impresario, which I am a co-writer and singer in.  It will be performed in English, at the Laurie
Beechman Theater.  For more information on that you can visit:  http://www.wendytaucherdanceoperatheater.com/home.html.  I also plan on stalking Benedict Cumberbatch, through many multi-media venues...

Lightning round

Favorite playwright? I don't really have one, but my favorite composer is Giuseppe Verdi.

Show you would love to be involved with? Any production at the Met, or on Broadway, or Off-Broadway… seriously any production. umm hire me?

Favorite venue? Under St. Marks.

Favorite actor? Benedict Cumberbatch.

Best theatre experience? Singing my all time favorite role, Violetta in La Traviata for Martina Arroyo.

Worst theatre experience? Performing a show for an audience smaller than your cast...*sigh*.

Person you’d most like to thank? Rob Brown, my fiance, for getting me involved with Dysfunctional Theatre, and Benedict Cumberbatch, for being perfect in every way.

For more information about I Shall Forget You Presently, visit the FRIGID New York website.

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