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An Interview With The Stars of Tour de Farce

By Gary Wien

originally published: 02/01/2006
Each of you handles five characters in this play - a monstrous challenge in itself. Was that your biggest challenge? If not, what was?
PRENTICE -- I think for me it was probably differentiating the off-stage voices because we're also changing clothes in a huge hurry. So, to take the time to differentiate it was probably the biggest challenge. The women who are backstage changing us literally have to tell us where to go and what costume to put on because we're so involved. They're like air traffic controllers - this way... that way.

AMES -- Yeah, that would be the hardest challenge because I may be putting on Mrs. Ryan and speaking as Gunnar or Herb. Just keeping that straight in your mind is sort of like driving. It's like by the end of this we can shift, pressthe clutch and gas then release and look out all the windows and mirrors. But right now we're sort of like student drivers guiding through this.

How exhausted do you get after doing this show?
PRENTICE -- I'm exhausted! Right now we just did one show and I don't know how on Thursday and Friday we did two because I feel so tired right now! We had an hour rest and that seemed to rejuvenate me. It's like training for a marathon. Your body's muscle memory begins to kick in and your endurance goes up little by little.

AMES -- Thankfully there's some respite. I can go backstage and breathe for just a moment while Prentice is speaking or vice versa. This show is just so physically demanding because you do so much running. I've already lost two inches on my waist!

Which is your favorite character to portray?
PRENTICE -- Gwenda is probably the closest to me. She's right under the surface for sure and Rebecca too. Those are right under there for me.

AMES -- I think Herb is a chance to be a relatively normal person, which is nice, but Gunnar is a lot of fun. People respond to him. He's an interesting character.

Even though there are multiple characters and a zillion character changes and exits, this is probably the most mainstream play you've done at NJ Rep.
AMES -- Oh yeah, it really is. This is very mainstream but I think there's nothing wrong with that. It's a very interesting choice. I thought it was cute but I'm honestly used to doing either Shakespeare or doing weird, weird stuff. I was like this is cute, but it didn't bowl me over. And the more I read it the more I got into it and thought this could be quite amazing.

PRENTICE -- I think it's the type of show where afterwards you come out maybe just a little bit happier than when you stepped into the theatre. And I think that's a very valuable thing. I think that's actually worth a lot to come out of an hour and 45 minute experience a little bit happier for an afternoon or evening.

Gary Wien has been covering the arts since 2001 and has had work published with Jersey Arts, Elmore Magazine, Princeton Magazine, Backstreets and other publications. He is a three-time winner of the Asbury Music Award for Top Music Journalist and the author of Beyond the Palace (the first book on the history of rock and roll in Asbury Park) and Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. In addition, he runs New Jersey Stage and the online radio station The Penguin Rocks. He can be contacted at gary@newjerseystage.com.

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