WRITTEN BY SUZANNE BOWNESS
Following up on our first post about The Heidi Chronicles, here is a second Q&A with our other leading man, Eitan Shalmon , https://www.alumnaetheatre.com/bios-the-heidi-chronicles.html who plays Heidi’s close friend Peter Patrone. Read on for his thoughts on his character, the play’s message, and the rewards of working with Alumnae Theatre Company. Thanks to everyone who attended our live Q&A at the post-show Talkback this past weekend!
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THE PLAY AND WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT IT?
I love that we get to see the growth of the play’s four main characters throughout the span of almost 25 years: how their aspirations have changed, what becomes more and less important to them as they get older, and how the changing social and political climate has affected their lives. At the end of the day, all Heidi and the rest of the characters want is to be happy, and I think everyone can relate to that. I also think it’s a really funny, sensitive and insightful play with a complex and intelligent character like Heidi steering the ship.
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO PLAY THESE DIFFERENT DECADES FROM TODAY’S VANTAGE?
It puts into perspective how far we’ve come when it comes to the rights of women and the LGBT community. However, there are still those resonant moments in every scene that feel too familiar to the present time, and you realize that women are still fighting for equality and respect. It’s a look into how far we’ve come, but how these problems are still present today.
THE SHOW COVERS A LOT OF DECADES. IF YOU COULD BEAM YOURSELF BACK TO ONE, WHICH WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND WHY?
To be honest, I’d probably stick to the present day! The 60s, 70s and 80s all had great music, fashion and movies, but with all the advances we’ve made in technology, medicine and the rights of marginalized people, I don’t think I’d want to go back in time! Maybe I’d go back to the 80s for a cool track suit.
WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR FAVOURITE THEMES IN THE PLAY AND WHY?
Probably the pursuit of happiness, and how identity and career play into that. Once you have your dream job, are you happy? Does your job make you who you are? Heidi articulates it in the play better than I can: “Do you ever think what makes you a person is also what keeps you from being a person?” It took me a while to understand that, but in essence I think we’re all just looking for happiness and a sense of identity.
THERE ARE LOTS OF COSTUME CHANGES IN THIS PLAY, WHAT’S THIS LIKE AS AN ACTOR?
Fortunately, I’ve only got one intense quick change that I’ve rehearsed down to a science! It’s pretty exhilarating, actually. I have about 20 seconds to completely change, head to toe, from one outfit to another, and enter the next scene cool as a cucumber.
I have 2 cast members help me into my suit and cram my feet in a new pair of shoes while I wildly fling off my old costume. It’s pretty wild, but not nearly as insane as what Breanna [Dillon, who plays Heidi] has to go through for almost every scene! I don’t know how she does it.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ASPECT OF THIS PRODUCTION?
There have been so many rewarding and incredible moments throughout this production. Working with Ilana has been such a great learning experience, and the entire cast and crew have been so dedicated and passionate. I’ve learned a lot from my fellow cast members, and we’ve become quite close!
Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles runs to October 5. Click here for tickets: