In Part 1 of a series of interviews with the writer, producer, and director and the cast of Girl with Two Belly Buttons, meet Jeryl Parade.
In Girl with Two Belly Buttons, Izzy, at age 60, is sick and alone. She has had so many relationships. Why did they all fail? Then Izzy meets Izabela, her 30-year-old self, and the two explore what went wrong (or right) with their once and future boyfriends.
Today we interview Jeryl Parade, the writer, producer, and director of the show.
Please introduce yourself. Tell us about your background.
I’ve had a career in advertising for most of my adult life. Prior to that I went to film school (University of Southern California) where I had the privilege of making short dramatic films. The friendships I cultivated there and beginning to discover who I am as an artist made this a defining time. I have always written: screenplays, songs, novels, and now, this play.
What inspired you to write Girl with Two Belly Buttons?
I knew I wanted to write a comedic play based on four to eight of my former boyfriends. I also knew I wanted each boyfriend to be an archetype found in romance fiction. That’s all I had and my online playwriting teacher let me know (more than once) this may be the basis of a self help book, but not a play.
At the time I enrolled in that class I became quite sick with a disorder that weakened my muscles, including those involved in swallowing. When I was in the hospital all I wanted to do – besides spend time with my visitors – was work on the play. I started with a monologue. But then the question was raised: Who is she speaking to? A nurse? That felt depressing. Seemingly from out of nowhere, I thought, she can be talking to her younger self. And that is how the Izzy-Izabela dichotomy was born.
Girl with Two Belly Buttons is a crazy title. What does it mean?
My swallowing muscles were so weak I could no longer eat and needed a feeding tube. After it was surgically placed in my stomach, I was lying in the hospital bed and thought, now I am the Girl with Two Belly Buttons. Somehow that made me feel better about the ordeal.
People have suggested: Two belly buttons equal the two selves of Izzy and Izabela and the second belly button is Izzy’s second chance for love and a new life. I agree.
What excites you about participating in the 2015 Capital Fringe Festival?
First off – the cast! Each and every actor in this show is perfect for the role. Whenever I think about my talented, committed cast, I start to cry. But as Izzy says in the play, “These are tears of joy. Really.” As we rehearse and the actors develop their characters and scenes, my esteem for them exponentially grows.
I look forward to working with my strong tech team. The production is challenging in that the play spans four decades and six major locales. Twelve or more scenes in seventy minutes.
Also I love writing. It is for me what reading is to others: An escape. But it can be isolating and I also love to socialize. Directing is giving me the opportunity to be collaboratively creative. Doing Fringe is fun!
Atlas Performing Arts Center’s Sprenger –1333 H Street, NE, in Washington, DC 20002
Saturday 7/11 at 8:45 PM
Sunday 7/12 at 9:00 PM
Sunday 7/19 at 10:15 PM
Sunday 7/26 at 4:45 PM
FOR TICKETS, CALL (866) 811-4111, OR PURCHASE THEM ONLINE.
2015 Capital Fringe Preview #7: Interviews with the Writer/Director/Producer and Cast of ‘Girl with Two Belly Buttons’: Part 1: Jeryl Parade.
2015 Capital Fringe Preview #7: Interviews with the Writer/Director/Producer and Cast of ‘Girl with Two Belly Buttons’: Part 2: Kathryn Martin.
2015 Capital Fringe Preview #7: Interviews with the Writer/Director/Producer and Cast of ‘Girl with Two Belly Buttons’: Part 3: Matthew Sutphin.
Interviews with the Writer/Director/Producer and Cast of ‘Girl with Two Belly Buttons’: Part 4: Scott Duvall.
2015 Capital Fringe Preview #7: Interviews with the Writer/Director/Producer and Cast of ‘Girl with Two Belly Buttons’: Part 5: Peter Markey.
For more info about the show, please visit: jerylparade.com.