In Part 3 of our series with the director and cast of Spooky Action Theater’s The Wedding Dress, meet Dane Edidi.
Why did you want to become a member of the cast of The Wedding Dress?
How could I not? It gave me a chance to work with Rebeccca Holderness and Kristy Simmons; both of which I have become great friends of mine and were the director and AD of Kafka. Rebecca is amazing at translating the grounding of movement in emotional life. I was thrilled. Later when I learned I would be playing opposite Mundy Spears and the cast incorporates some of my favorite actors, it added icing to the cake.
Who do you play in the show and how do you relate to her?
I play Madame Clessi: cabaret singer by night; Madame… by night, and I guess the day too. I am like Madame Clessi in the fact that she is passionate about living, love, and entertainment. All things sensual are her province and she navigates them without hesitation, this too makes me like her.
What is the play about from the point of view of Madame Clessi?
From moment to moment what the play is about for Clessi changes; sometimes it is about her using the memories of Alaide (the main character) to live again, sometimes it is about controlling the story, and other times there is a genuine desire to discover what is going on.
I admire the thing that makes her most like me: Passionate feeling married to compassionate heart.
What did you learn about the Playwright Nelson Rodrigues after you were cast in the show that you didn’t know before you were cast?
I learned he was called ‘Brazil’s Pornographic Angel’ for all the sensuality and overt sexuality in his works. What I find so amazing is how the times have changed and much of Rodrigues works wouldn’t be categorized as such. Perhaps psychological comedic/dramas but not pornographic.
What advice and suggestions did Director Rebecca Holderness give you that helped you prepare for your role?
Rebecca is always pushing us to go deeper emotionally. One of her most amazing gifts is an allowance for the actor to find their own voice and bringing that voice into the life of the play. She is like a fabulous conductor blending the sounds of several different instruments.
What have been some of the challenges you have faced in rehearsals and/or preparing for your role?
Just trying to stay present; both my character and Aliade are often in places of being in the moment or existing in places of memory and the present. So when Clessi is attempting to remember; I have to really choose an action that is still directed towards my scene partner.
What character is so much like you and why?
After a lot of work and discussion on each character, Clessi is probably the most like me. She is passionate, fun, the life of the party but there is a lot of depth and compassion to her. She is very intelligent and a great reader of people. On the surface she appears as one thing but she holds a lot of pain, and love. When you learn her story she has a Romanticized idea of love that despite her profession and history never goes away. Ultimately, she believes in the good of people.
What line that someone else says is your favorite?
I love Clessi’s line “I hate Hypocrites.” This is my favorite because it simplest clearest and most true about how I feel. It comes at a time when someone, who is causing great pain to someone Clessi loves, reprimands her about her profession. On a personal level, I often find those who hate Trans people are hypocrites and the same laws and rules they attempt to keep us from our very own rights to be alive are the same laws they break for their own happiness to exist.
What themes and issues does the play address that current audiences will be able to relate to?
Deceit, love, passion, sexuality (repressed and not), infidelity, and madness: Rodrigues uses themes that are universal and have been a part of the human psychological lexicon for ages.
What are you doing next on the stage after The Wedding Dress closes?
I wrote a book called Yemaya’s Daughters, so I will be on a lot of stages in the coming months and years discussing themes there. I am doing a fundraiser for Force Collision in Feb, organizing and performing on Trans Night at La Ti Do in March (the first ever- please come and support it) and my own cabaret Love Goddess Rebellion in April.
What do you want audiences to take with them after watching The Wedding Dress?
To be who you are. Repression is an illusion that eventually leads to so many years of unhappiness and sometimes an early death. You are beautifully worthy of love, sensuality, joy, money, and the reality of your dreams coming true. Don’t hide who you are; be who you are. Look at me! My authenticity landed me a job working at a fabulous theatre, and with an amazing artistic crew. Learn to Love you.
Meet The Cast and Director of Spooky Action Theater’s ‘The Wedding Dress’: Part 1: Meet Playwright Nelson Rodrigues by Luís Artur Nunes.