In Part 4 of a series of interviews with the director and cast members of Damascus Theatre Company’s My Fair Lady, meet William T. Fleming.
Joel: Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you perform or direct on our local stages?
William: I’m William T. Fleming I’ve directed and done fight choreography at Silver Spring Stage, and acted in a One-Act Festival there. I’ve also performed and directed at Montgomery Playhouse. The last musical I was in was A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum with Silhouette Stage.
Have you appeared in a production of My Fair Lady and who did you play?
I’ve played Doolittle twice before and approximate at twenty year intervals.
Who do you play in the show and how do you relate to him?
My traditional character, Alfred P. Doolittle. Like Mr. Doolittle, I too consider myself a great philosophical genius and enjoy a beer now and then. Growlers in Gaithersburg knows me by name.
What is it about your character that audiences will like about your character and what may they not like. What do you enjoy most about your character and what do you not like about him?
There is nothing not to like about a bon-viv-ant who is kind to strangers and willing to give his child the freedom of the city. I like everything about Doolittle who is man who lives without pretense.
What are your solos or big numbers in the show and what do we learn about your character during these songs?
The first solo is “Little Bit of Luck,” in which we learn that Doolittle gets by on simply trusting to fate, avoiding work and social responsibility. My big solo in the 2nd act is “Get Me to the Church on Time.” There you learn that Doolittle intends to get every drop of enjoyment out of life before he gets married.
What have been some of the challenges learning and preparing for your role and how did your director help you to solve these challenges?
The biggest challenge I had was remembering every last word in every one of my very wordy scenes. Luckily, the director was ready to correct me whenever I went awry. My challenge with the dances was not to trample my fellow actors.
Which song that you don’t sing is your favorite?
I like Eliza’s “Show Me.” It perfectly expresses the frustrations of her character.
How would you describe the score of My Fair Lady?
It’s clean, catchy, and without the annoying repetition of the works of Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Why do you think My Fair Lady has to say to the new generation of young theatregoers?
Stop taking yourself so seriously and have some fun.
What have you learned about yourself as an actor/singer during this experience?
I learned that I won’t be acting or singing again for another 20 year so get it while you can.
What other shows would you like to direct in the future and why do you like these shows?
I’m glad you asked about directing. There are many shows I’d like to direct. I would love to direct Studs Turkel’s Working, the musical Gold Dust (a country western version of Moliere’s The Miser), and of course Shakespeare…because of all the dirty jokes. As for performing, I prefer to do unscripted one man performances of storytelling and singing. So if you’re up for the drive, I’ll see you at the Virginia Renaissance Faire next summer. Just ask for Rory the Dog.
Why should theatregoers come to see this production, and what makes it so unique and special?
They should come see this production because it’s a good show. Not because of any deep meaning, but because this show is entertaining and theatre first and foremost is entertainment.
My Fair Lady plays from November 14-23, 2014 at Damascus Theatre Company performing at The Historic Stage at Olney Theatre Center-2001 Olney-
Meet the Cast of ‘My Fair Lady’ at Damascus Theatre Company–Part 1: Brian Lyons-Burke.
Meet the Cast of ‘My Fair Lady’ at Damascus Theatre Company–Part 2: Director Stephanie Bonte-Lebair.
Meet the Cast of ‘My Fair Lady’ at Damascus Theatre Company–Part 3: Cara Bachman.