Sandra Battaglini, stand-up comic, actor, clown, and hilarious lady extraordinairre, answered some questions for me about her current role as Director of the Toronto Fringe show So I Married a Muslim.
Q: Tell me about the show. How did you get involved?
A: So I Married a Muslim is a cross-cultural comedy of reconciliation and love. It's really a love story. Sandra Pascuzzi wrote the story in part to combat the Islamophobia that has emerged in the public discourse and in the media. Rather than taking a political approach, she chose to tell a love story, her love story, with Islam being an incidental detail.
Sandra asked me to direct her show because we both have bouffon/clown backgrounds. Also, coincidentally her mother and my father come from the same town in Italy. That's not why she asked me to direct but her but it is a weird side note.
Q: Why this show for the Fringe? How is it suited for a Fringe festival environment?
A: First off, it's Sandra's first solo show. She has done a lot of ensemble work but this is her first foray into the solo show format. It's probably the scariest of all... being by yourself on stage.
Q: I've only ever seen you (hilariously) on stage; how often have you directed? How is the creative outlet different for you when you're directing as opposed to performing on stage?
A: This is my second official directing experience. I really enjoy it because it gives me the opportunity to be a part of the creative experience without the nerves of having to go up on stage. It's really a gift to share in someone else's story and to help them mould and shape that story for an audience and for themselves.
Q: What is special/unique about having a show in the Toronto Fringe?
A: It's one of the largest Fringe festivals in Canada and because it's my hometown, there is a large support network of peers and friends.
Q: Why do you continue to do live theatre? What's important about it?
A: There is nothing like getting up on stage in front of a live audience and not knowing what's going to happen. It's a thrill every time. Live theatre is very important, especially in an age that is so saturated with media. It's so easy to be a voyeur and never leave your computer screen. Live theatre allows you to create an experience with other people that is always unique and special.
Q: If you could offer words of advice/encouragement to a newbie audience member to the Fringe scene, what would it be?
A: Have an open mind and heart.
So I Married a Muslim is on at the Theatre Passe Muraille backspace (16 Ryerson Ave.) at the at these times: Mon, July 11 @ 4pm; Tues, July 12 @ 5pm; Thurs, July 14 @2:45pm; Sat. July 16 @6:15pm; Sun, July 17 @5:45pm
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