In Part 3 of a series of interviews with the cast of Breast in Show, meet Matt Dewberry
How did you get involved in the show?
Matt: I had worked with Kate Bryer previously at Imagination Stage (most recently last summer when she directed me in Peter and Wendy).I got a call from her earlier this summer asking if I might be interested in working on the show with her for Fringe. I’ve always enjoyed our collaborations and knew this one would be a lot of fun. It sounded like an exciting show about an important topic, not to mention I’d get to work with some very talented artists, so I jumped at the chance.
Why did you want to get involved in the show?
As I mentioned before, I’d worked with Kate previously and had a great time, so I was excited for the opportunity to play again. I’d also just done a show at Adventure Theatre written by Joan Cushing (Miss Nelson is Missing). Her music is so much fun to sing and I had a blast working on that production so I knew that this one wouldn’t disappoint either. Then I found out who the rest of the cast and creative team were and who could turn down the opportunity to work with such an amazingly talented group of people. All of those things, combined with the fact that the show is so incredibly beautiful and well written made it a no brainer. The topic of breast cancer is one that affects each and every one of us and to be able to discuss the subject so candidly and do it with such humor and insight was thrilling to me. I think it is an important show that people will really respond to, and I’m honored to be a part of that.
Introduce us to your character and how you relate to him.
Because of the way that the show is structured, we all play several different characters. My two main characters are Tim and Freddy, and they couldn’t be more different, which makes it a blast. Tim is Wendy’s husband. Wendy is a hot shot lawyer working endless hours to become partner at her firm and who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. This is a devastating blow to their relationship and the two spend the show finding ways to support each other and to do whatever they have to do to get their lives back to a state of normal.
Wendy has always been the strong one, so Tim has to find the strength to step up and be the husband and father that his family needs during this trying time. Freddie is the long time best friend of Desiree, the nurse at the Chemo Café. He is the flamboyant, over the top proprietor of Freddy’s Prosthesis Emporium, a specialty wig shop for patients in the middle of their battle with cancer. He has a heart as big as his wig collection and is always willing to go over and above to make sure his clients feel comfortable and at ease in their new wigs, or “cranial prosthesis” as he calls them. A one man traveling show, things are never dull when Freddy is in the room.
Why is this show so important to you? And why should local theatres come and see and support the show?
Like almost everyone, I’ve been personally touched by breast cancer. My grandmother went through two separate battles with the disease and came out victorious both times. I’ve also had an aunt, a best friend’s mother, and other close family friends who have had to go through treatment, some having more success than others. It’s a topic that we all have some connection to and that we think we know a lot about, which isn’t necessarily the case. Being able to tell the stories of these courageous people on the stage through music with such candor and humor was really exciting for me. I think it is a show that everyone should see because it brings to light the amazing stories of these breast cancer warriors, it gives us an up close look at how this disease affects each and every one of us, it educates us on the disease itself, and, most importantly, it leaves us with its incredible message of hope
What is the most moving scene for you in the show and why?
There are a many beautiful moments throughout the course of the play, but there are a couple that really stick with me after every rehearsal. The first one is a song called “Normal” in which two of the couples, Wendy/Tim and Donna/Pete, discuss how their lives have been affected by the cancer, how they’ve changed so drastically, and how all they want in the world is for the chance to get their lives back to a place where everything is normal.The song is heartbreakingly beautiful and accurately depicts that very real struggle that these couples are going through in this literal fight for their lives. The other moment in the show that gets me every time is a song called “Desiree.” It occurs late in the show during a chemo treatment with one of our main patients, Chelsea. She sings a song about Desiree, her nurse who has become one of her best friends over the years and who is always there for her, no matter what. It is a very simple song, but the moment is beautiful and haunting, and I love listening to Gracie sing it.
What are your big songs in the show and what do we learn about your character when you are singing the song/songs.
I have 3 big songs in the show. My favorite is “Freddie’s Prosthesis Emporium.” It comes later in the show when my character Freddie comes for a visit to the Chemo Café with the goal of finding a wig for Wendy. She is resistant to having to admit that she needs my help, so with a little song and dance, and some gentle urging from the other patients in the café, I convince Wendy to try on a wig and make herself feel better. The number is a lot of fun and we get to see the lighter side of these characters for a few minutes.
Another one of my songs is “Normal.” It occurs near the top of the show and gives us a look into the lives of two of the couples in the show and the strain that living with breast cancer has put on their marriage. It’s a beautiful quartet where we get to see that each of these characters is really angry and searching for answers but that we all realize that we are lucky to have our partners to lean on through the difficult times, and that our love for each other is ultimately what’s going to pull us through this.
One of my last songs is called “Blah Blah Blah.” I don’t want to give to much away, but it’s a pretty hysterical operatic patter song sung by three doctors. I have a lot of fun with that one.
What do you want theatregoers to take with them after seeing Breast in Show?
I think the biggest thing that I’d want an audience to take away with them after seeing Breast in Show is a feeling of hope. Breast cancer is a terrifying, horrible, traumatic, physically and emotionally taxing experience that no one should have to deal with. But the reality is that unfortunately, most of us will be affected by it in one way or another in our lives. Our playwright and our producer both told us that all of the people that they interviewed when they were creating Breast in Show emphasized the importance of being able to have a sense of humor and laugh, to not get too bogged down in all of the bad that you couldn’t see the good. I think that Breast in Show does a beautiful job of being truthful to the struggle that patients go through while not forgetting the hope and the humor that give them strength to wake up every day and keep fighting. I hope it is that feeling that audiences will hold on to as they leave the theatre.
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Thursday, July 17, 2014
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Capital Fringe 2014 Preview: Meet the Cast of ‘Breast in Show’: Part 1: Gracie Jones.
Capital Fringe 2014 Preview: Meet the Cast of ‘Breast in Show’: Part 2: Jennie Lutz.