In Part 4 of a series of interviews with the cast of Boeing, Boeing at Montgomery Playhouse, meet Christina Fox.
Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you in the past year on local stages?
Bonjour mes amis! Je m’appelle Christina Fox, and I wish I actually spoke French well enough to write this entire interview en Francais. Unfortunately, other than studying French in high school, my primary foreign language is Arabic. I just graduated a year ago from Middlebury College in Vermont, where I was an Arabic minor and a Theatre major. After taking a year-long hiatus from acting, this is my premiere performance as a post-grad, meaning you haven’t seen me anywhere on local stages in the past year!
Why did you want to be part of Montgomery Playhouse’s production of Boeing, Boeing?
Other than a handful of cattle calls, this was my first post-grad audition for an actual play. The majority of my collegiate acting credits consisted of unsettling dramas by obscure British dramatists popular in the 1980s. I hadn’t ever been in such a classic farce, and I couldn’t imagine a more fun way to reignite my acting career.
What did you perform at your audition and where were you when you got the call that you had the role?
For the audition, we actually jumped straight into cold reads. I read for Jacqueline twice, and they stopped me about 10 seconds into my reading for Judith (probably because my sorry attempt at a German accent made me sound like Arnold Schwarzenegger). When I got the call I had the role, I was over at my friend’s house, relaxing after a particularly trying day at the coffee shop I was working at. I froze up and couldn’t even answer the phone, so I waited for the director, Lisa, to leave a message, so I could confirm that this was, indeed, a call to offer me the part. Then I called my mom and dad. I mean, who else?
Who do you play in the show and how do you relate to your character?
I have the immense pleasure of playing Jacqueline, the French flight attendant. We are both very social, playful, and emotionally-driven creatures. Unfortunately, hand-in-hand with being emotionally-driven come Jacqueline’s Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde mood swings. I can’t take credit for the coining of this phrase–that goes straight to our perceptive director, Lisa. She came up with this in a relatively early rehearsal, and it really helped me navigate Jacqueline’s occasionally erratic behavior, and also helped me find different colors and variety in my scenes. My parents will attest that I have experienced my fair share of mood swings in my life, usually when I’m hungry, so I’ve enjoyed learning and practicing with Jacqueline how to let go of distress and make amends.
What advice and suggestions did Director Lisa Holland give you that helped you prepare for your role? Have you worked with Lisa before? And how would you describe her style of directing?
Lisa’s suggestion of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde as an essential part of Jacqueline’s character was among many helpful suggestions that Lisa gave over the course of the process. After working primarily with the same directors in college, it has been a breath of fresh air to work with Lisa, who gives so much freedom and artistic license to her actors. The only thing she told me NOT to do was to speak too incoherently in my French accent or to speak in too high of a register when I’m upset (you can thank Lisa after the show for preventing me from making your eardrums bleed with my keening screeches).
Have you appeared in or seen other productions of Boeing Boeing before and who did you play and how is this production different and unique?
Indeed I have not, on either account.
What is your favorite scene in the show that you are not in and what is your favorite scene that you are in?
My favorite scene that I’m not in is the scene where Judith and Robert meet. It makes me raucously giggle every time I see it. The favorite scene that I’m in is the scene with Robert and Bernard just before I go into the shower. Jacqueline really runs the full gamut of her emotions–from righteous indignation, to mounting anger, to immediate forgiveness, and then launches into an impressive attempt to get Bernard to actually marry her.
Which character in the show is most like you and why?
I’d have to say Judith. She’s all about true, deep emotions. She feels things totally authentically and isn’t afraid to be vulnerable and express how she feels. I’d at least like to think I’m like that.
What do you admire most about your fellow castmates’ performances?
Honestly, I admire the fact that we all have different accents than our natural General American ones–even Bernard, Robert, and Bertha who all speak with British accents, they all speak with varying degrees from Cockney to Received British. It gives everyone such a unique and musical sound, it’s incredibly fun to just listen to the scenes.
How did you prepare for your role and what were the biggest challenges you faced and how did you resolve them?
I was, frankly, the most nervous about my French accent. Luckily, I have the Paul Meier Accent Bible (it’s not actually a religious text, unless you really love accents that much, which I happen to). So I have spent hours listening and practicing saying phrases such as, “Zose ozzer seex schildrehn shood be een school, reading ze Bibel,” or, “Henri’s Flaugnarde waz ze triumph of ze deener party.” Another problem I have is that I’m really clumsy. But there’s not much I can do to help that. So if you see me lose my balance on my heels or knock something over on stage, my apologies, that was a challenge I failed to resolve. (If you know of any ways to resolve clumsiness on stage, please see me after the show).
Why should audience goers bring their families to see Boeing Boeing?
This show would be great for a date night. Next to Bernard, who’s having a relationship with three different women, I think most people will feel better about their own relationships. It may be a little risqué for families with young children.
Boeing Boeing plays from February 13-March 1, 2015 at The Montgomery Playhouse performing at The Gaithersburg Arts Barn-311 Kent Square Road, in Gaithersburg, MD. For tickets,call (301) 258-6394, or purchase them online.
Meet the Cast of ‘Boeing, Boeing’ at Montgomery Playhouse: Part 1: Renetta Morelli.
Meet the Cast of ‘Boeing, Boeing’ at Montgomery Playhouse: Part 2: Jim Breen.
Meet the Cast of ‘Boeing, Boeing’ at Montgomery Playhouse: Part 3: Anne Vandercook.