Name: Joseph Alessi
Show: Brief Encounter
Q & A:
Q: Where are you from?
A: I'm from a small town in England called Accrington in the county of Lancashire, my parents are Sicilian immigrants arriving there in 1963. Why they chose a small, dark, cotton mill town in the north of England instead of say...New York! I will never know...
Q: What was your first acting gig?
A: The Cleveland Theatre Company, very small scale, Theatre in Education touring company. Early mornings, freezing, crammed in a van, arrive at a school, build the set, perform, strike the set, back in the van, next school...I did my tour of duty!
Q: What is your funniest onstage mishap?
A: Playing Hiawatha early on in my career, during a choreographed dance/fight with the 'North West Wind', the cord holding my pants up snapped and they fell to the ground, exposing my very un-Native American red and white polka-dot boxer shorts. The audience fell about laughing as did the 'North West Wind'. I was the only one not laughing. I've been in therapy ever since.
Q: What is your favorite moment in Brief Encounter?
A: Performing the seduction dance with Annette - great fun, great reactions from the audience and I get to pretend that I'm some kind of tall, sexy, matinee idol. 'Pretend' being the operative word...
Q: Do you have any theatre-related superstitions?
A: None whatsoever! Superstitions are a lot of stuff and nonsense. You'll be asking me if I believe in God next!
Q: How do American audiences differ from UK audiences, if at all?
A: Not that I've noticed. It's a very 'English' piece, of course, but the themes in the play are universal. And regarding the comedy, well - a joke's a joke, funny is always funny. If I have to pick something, I've noticed the questions we get asked in the talk backs we do here are more perceptive and interesting.
Q: Three things you can’t live without.
A: My brain, heart and lungs.
Q: Any words of wisdom to aspiring performers?
A: Don't be too fussy early on. Say 'Yes' as much as possible. Build up your resume. Work with lots of people - the more people you meet and work with, the more opportunity you have to keep working, even bad experiences are good lessons. If you're good, you'll work!
Joseph Allessi can be seen in Brief Encounter, now playing at Studio 54 through January 2.
2010-2011 Season, Brief Encounter, Star Spotlight