Seven questions with Roxanne Fay

We can't call her the grand dame of Tampa Bay theater, but only because she isn't old or haughty enough for that. She reflects on her upcoming role in HIR — and on acting in and around the Tampa Bay area.

HIR

Jobsite at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts' Shimberg Playhouse, 1010 N. WC MacInnes Place, Tampa.

Mar. 7-8, previews — $15.

Mar. 9-Apr. 1 — Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.

$29.50

813-229-STAR. Get tickets here

click to enlarge Pictured with her mom. She's the lady on the left. - via Roxanne Gay
via Roxanne Gay
Pictured with her mom. She's the lady on the left.


Roxanne Fay is as multi-faceted as they come, and this week she's bringing her facets (and talent) to Jobsite's production of Taylor Mac's HIR, a play her acting compatriot Ned Averill-Snell called "You Can't Take it With You for the new millennium." In anticipation of this weekend's opening — Mar. 9 — we asked her a few questions about work, life and acting in Florida. 

You’re the matriarch in a family that calls to mind Tolstoy’s quote from Anna Karenina: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” The family unit also reminds me a bit of the line from Philip Larkin’s “This Be the Verse”: “They fuck you up your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do.” What would Paige say to that?

Paige would say the old guard family is dead:  "We are not about shoring up this. We are on a perpetual trip to bolster the new".

You aren’t afraid to break out of traditional theater and do some really fascinating stuff, like the play about Elsa Schiaparelli at The Dalí this past fall. You also write plays, and your play, Dream Child, went from Tampa Bay to New York. Unlike, say, marketing jobs or banking, acting comes with no guarantees or steady paychecks. When did you understand you’d carved out a satisfying career?

When I realized that I have such satisfying artistic relationships — good relationships with good people in good companies (like the Dali, Jobsite, freeFall, Bridge Street Theatre in New York and Disney) — and recognized that working together was something we look forward to doing season to season. 

What is your favorite moment in the play?

I don't have a bookmarked favorite moment, but there is a wonderful conversation between Isaac and Max at the end of Act One. I like listening to it from backstage. On stage, I am enjoying the challenge of the physical work. Paige is id and energy personified.

As a local professional actor, what do you find the biggest challenge?

Working steadily without becoming ubiquitous.

What’s your dream role?

My dream is to perform as many Shakespearean roles (traditional and gender-bent) as I can before I die.

What’s next for you? Where can audiences see you perform?

I am headed to New York for April/May for Bridge Street Theatre's production of Leni, a play based on the documentary film maker, Leni Riefenstahl. Come on up to the Hudson Valley and say hello. It's a beautiful place.

Every year at EPCOT, you play LaBefana. Tell us a little bit about that.

It has been a joy to spend the past 10 years as part of EPCOT's holiday celebration. The story of LaBefana is an old Italian folk tale  — one told for hundreds of years— that traces the origin of the Epiphany story and the story of the Magi. It's a lovely time to tell a beautiful story and a thrill to have so many thousands of guests come to see LaBefana year after year as part of their own tradition. 

Read Ned Averill-Snell's interview here

Cathy Salustri is the arts + entertainment editor for Creative Loafing Tampa. Contact her here

About The Author

Cathy Salustri

Cathy's portfolio includes pieces for Visit Florida, USA Today and regional and local press. In 2016, UPF published Backroads of Paradise, her travel narrative about retracing the WPA-era Florida driving tours that was featured in The New York Times. Cathy speaks about Florida history for the Osher Lifelong Learning...
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