In Part Seven of a series of interviews with the cast of Vagabond Players’ Moon Over Buffalo, meet Richard Manichello.
Joel: Please introduce yourselves and tell me why you wanted to be in the cast of Moon Over Buffalo?
Richard: My name is Richard Manichello. I had not played very much comedy, never a Farce, so it’s a piece of theater history, a discipline of physical antic acting that I wanted to experience.
Did you bring any personal experiences to your performance? How has your performance changed since the show opened?
I’ve never really been a ‘second banana’ in relationships, however, for an actor there is a long list of great roles and notable actors: Bob Cummings, Gig Young, Jack Palance, William H. Macy, Ty Hardin, Mr. Spock of course … a long list. My scene partner, Charlotte, has made me work harder to try to steal her away from the touring theater life. Your character gets deeper, purer, richer, more saturated with nuance and detail as the run proceeds.
Who do you play in the show and how do you relate to your character? Have your feelings for the character changed since the show began?
Richard Maynard is the interloper, lawyer-manager, and hanger-on to this touring company, who’s smitten with Charlotte Hay. Unfortunately, Charlotte is married. Her midlife crisis is brief so Richard’s romantic notions fizzle. An actor must sympathize and love his character, no matter how good or bad. No, my feelings have not changed. Maynard is empty, lonely, wealthy, looking for companionship and a beautiful woman to share luxurious treats and escapades with.
What have been some of the things that have not gone as planned during the performance and how did you handle it? What have been some of the funniest moments of playing your character?
The backstage of a backstage comedy is like a camera taking a picture of a camera, taking a picture… our director has led with a steady hand. No surprises.
What has surprised you about the audience reaction to the show and your performance?
How the comedy, somewhat dated situation comedy, has lasted and entertained younger audiences. Some comedy has no shelf life. Farce, or Ludwig’s simple jokes still make people laugh. Audiences seem to like Maynard, a show-off, even though he’s a cad and wife-chaser.
Why should audiences come and see Moon Over Buffalo?
Moon is a classic Farce. It’s also true to backstage follies and foils, to the crazy passion that actors indulge in when it comes to playing roles, working with each other, or against each other, the schadenfreude that actors sometimes embrace in the scramble for roles. We all suffer a little of that at times.
Why do you think Ken Ludwig’s play is so popular?
Television sitcom, and the Brit-com, are the legitimate stepchild of Farce. Ludwig embraces Vaudville, Restoration comedy, Chaplin-esque, Buster Keaton and Marx Brothers-esque type humor, even Burlesque. All of these things are in the DNA of American situation comedy and farce. Ludwig always presents a history of these styles.
Review: ‘Moon Over Buffalo’ at Vagabond Players by Lauren Honeycutt on DCMetroTheaterArts.
Meet The Cast of ‘Moon Over Buffalo’ at Vagabond Players: Part 1: Caroline Kiebach.
Meet The Cast of ‘Moon Over Buffalo’ at Vagabond Players: Part 2: Jess Kim.
Meet The Cast of ‘Moon Over Buffalo’ at Vagabond Players: Part 3: Moon Over Buffalo Cast: Michelle Guyton.
Meet The Cast of ‘Moon Over Buffalo’ at Vagabond Players: Part 4: Carol Carol Conley Evans.
Meet The Cast of ‘Moon Over Buffalo’ at Vagabond Players: Part 5: Greg Guyton.
Meet The Cast of ‘Moon Over Buffalo’ at Vagabond Players: Part 7: Richard Manichello.