In Part 2 of a series of interviews with the cast of WSC Avant Bard’s production of Friendship Betrayed—a classic comedy by Spanish playwright María de Zayas y Sotomayor—meet Daven Ralston.
Joel: Where have local audiences seen you perform recently on stage?
Daven: I was last seen here at Avant Bard in The Madwoman of Chaillot playing Irma the Dishwasher.
Why did you want to be part of the cast of Friendship Betrayed at Avant Bard?
I loved working with Avant Bard and had a great experience in Madwoman so I was very excited to be invited back for their next show. The energy of the cast and creative team is awesome and fun-loving, the story is hilarious, and Kari [Ginsburg] is so specific and intelligent with her direction that I knew this show would be special. Plus, a 90-minute long show is the dream!
Who do you play in the show? How do you relate to her?
I play Laura. She is very expressive and passionate. On the first night of rehearsal, Kari described Laura as having “no bottom to the depth of her emotions.” She is ruled by, consumed by, and often overwhelmed by her feelings. All the feels. She’s probably what most ladies would tactfully describe as “a little much.” Oh I love it. I relate to her in that, as I often think that I feel things very strongly and I’m sometimes surprised by how much different situations can move me. Also Laura really loves and values friendship, and who doesn’t?
What’s the show about from the point of view of your character?
For Laura, the show is about getting your lover to see the error in his ways, gaining well-deserved respect and admiration from him, and making some wonderful friends along the way. It’s also about relying on the strength and power of good friendships to see you through even the most trying situations.
Kari Ginsburg, the director, has set Friendship Betrayed in the 1920s. How are you creating a classical character with Roaring Twenties appeal?
Laura is on one hand your classic damsel in distress, but she seems to have been perfectly written with a nice 20s twist to her in that she is propelled and motivated by the same newly gained freedoms that all women are just starting to enjoy in this time period. She is bold at the same time that she is delicate. She take matters into her own hands, speaks her mind, feels things fully and loudly, and explores and enjoys her sexual freedom. Liseo (James Finley) may be a total d-bag sometimes, but he’s her d-bag, and through ownership of that fact she is empowered.
What is your favorite scene that you are not in, and why?
My favorite scene that I’m not in is probably the scene when Gerardo (Brendan Edward Kennedy) rejects Fenisa’s (Melissa Marie Hmelnicky) advances, or when he and Marcia (Megan Dominy) finally come together after her snubbing him for so long. Any scene with Gerardo. He is the ideal gentleman lover. I’m so touched by his loyalty to Marcia and his passion for her. I (Daven) secretly think Laura and Gerardo should have ended up together. They both experience unrequited love and remain loyal and passionate to their beloveds throughout the play.
What is your favorite line or lines that your character says, and what is your favorite line that someone else says in the show?
My favorite lines of Laura’s right now are, “Oh. I am so unfortunate; I am so sad!” I also like when Fenisa says, “And if you do not believe me, look how jealous I am!”
The characters in this play were written with so many direct statements about how they feel or what is happening currently in the scene, like, “I am so sad,” or “You are making me really mad,” “look how jealous I am!” I’m not sure if it is a translation thing from Spanish or just María’s (the playwright) distinct style. At first glance they seem difficult to deliver and a bit awkward; but wonderfully, I think, we as a cast have found that those lines offer up so much humor. So those have become my favorite lines in the play.
Oh! I should also mention that Laura gets the honor of a play title reference with her line, “You could call this story Friendship Betrayed.” It’s really quite wonderfully silly.
What are you doing next on the stage?
Next on stage for me is Snow Day with Arts on the Horizon, a nonverbal show for kids up to six years old. I’ll be playing the Musician, so I’m excited to get to play music again in a show. And kids are the best audience—and the best critics—so I’m looking forward to their enthusiasm.
What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing Friendship Betrayed?
I just want them to have fun and be tickled with these characters as much as we have been while creating this show. Cherish your friendships! Also, don’t date a Liseo. Get yourself a Gerardo.
Friendship Betrayed plays from September 10 to October 11, 2015 at WSC Avant Bard performing at Gunston Arts Center, Theatre Two – 2700 South Lang Street, in Arlington, VA. For tickets, call the box office at (703) 418-4808, or purchase them online.
Meet the Cast of Avant Bard’s ‘Friendship Betrayed’: Part 1: Alani Kravitz.
Meet the Cast of Avant Bard’s ‘Friendship Betrayed’: Part 2: Daven Ralston.
Meet the Cast of Avant Bard’s ‘Friendship Betrayed’: Part 3: James Finley.
Meet the Cast of Avant Bard’s ‘Friendship Betrayed’: Part 4: Melissa Marie Hmelnicky.
Meet the Cast of Avant Bard’s ‘Friendship Betrayed’: Part 5: Zach Roberts.