Written by Christina Quintana
Directed by David Mendizábal
Produced by Astoria Performing Arts Center
Nominations: MarieLouise Guinier for Outstanding Actress in a Featrued Role & Arlene Chico-Lugo for Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role
About the Company: APAC’s mission is to bring high quality theater to Astoria, Queens, and greater NYC, and to support local youth and senior citizens.
About the Production: This was the world premiere for Christina Quintana’s play Evensong. Teofilo “Teo” Aguilar is a young Mexican-American gay man and member of New York City’s working homeless population. A Texas transplant with big dreams, Teo works as a bank teller, goes on mediocre online dates, and searches for stability and human connection while navigating the tangled shelter system. Using structural elements of choral music and conventions of theatrical magic, Evensong is a tale of survival, growth, and faith in moments of loneliness and solitude.
What attracted you to this project?
Dev: I was drawn to programming Evensong because of its intimate look at the life of NYC's working homeless and the idea of the need for connection among busy and lonely city dwellers that it illuminates. The beautiful writing and the characters drew me in immediately.
MarieLouise: When I was called by the casting agent Robin Carus, I was immediately interested as I have a great deal of respect for her work and the projects she works on.
Arlene: To be honest, what really attracted me to the show was getting the sides and realizing that I would get to work with a box for the audition. I love object work, something to hold on to. The character receives a box in the mail that ends up playing a major part in her life. I felt Rosa's words were a world I could easily slip into. It's a beautiful story and play.
What was your favorite part of working on this production?
Dev: Getting to watch a wonderful director/playwright collaboration and to learn more about the relevant topics in the play.
MarieLouise: It's hard to choose one favorite part of working on this production. The actors, director, author ~ all extremely talented which made the process and the outcome something I could be proud of.
What was the most challenging part of working on this production?
Dev: Our middle weekend of shows was right after the election and so it was challenging to keep going. But the actors came in and delivered and the audiences were so happy to be with us sharing in this particular story at a time when we needed to be reminder about compassion and caring for one another most.
What insight did you gain while working on this production?
Dev: That everyone deserves a second look - from the guy on the subway, to the woman on the sidewalk. We don't know anyone's "story" until we get to know them. Evensong challenges viewers to take a look at preconceived notions about the people we meet.
Arlene: I guess the biggest takeaway for me came from playing the character. Sometimes, as hard as it may be, you have to fight for hope. And it was heartbreaking learning about the homeless rate and shelter system in New York City. In place where so much new development is happening, it feels pretty inexcusable that so many people are without a home.
What made Arlene and MarieLouise's work standout?
Dev: Arlene Chico-Lugo and MarieLouise Guinier brought such truth and strength to their performances. Their work was incredible!
What was it like working with APAC?
MarieLouise: Acting in the theater often makes me think of an exciting basketball game. All players need to be present and on their game, in the zone, throwing, receiving, making those amazing dunks, 3 pointers or scoring at the buzzer, no matter the refs, the crowd etc. But when someone is having an off night, other players pick up the slack. This is what working with this company was like.
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