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Interview Series: Face to Face with Face to Face

While summer 2021 will begin a partnership between Smith Scripts, U.K. and Face to Face Films, producer/director Anthony Laura concludes his spring season with a pair of new works from his own hand.

Korinne, a drama involving mental illness, written by Anthony Laura, featuring C Gabe Calleja, Vivien Cardone, Jose Duran, Madison C. Gray, Jacqueline Guzman, and Callie Medley, will air on YouTube, Saturday, June 26, at 2:00 p.m.

And closing the season will be another Anthony Laura work entitled Hayley, a one-person show, featuring Alexandra Rooney. This will air on Facebook on June 27, also at 2:00 p.m.

Visit Face to Face Films on YouTube to learn about Face to Face’s web-series, interviews, and other artistic endeavors.

Ai spoke with playwright/director/producer, Anthony Laura on these two new works.

ANTHONY M. LAURA

What was your inspiration for remounting Korinne?

Similarly to “The Girl with the Red Hair” being the show that I am closest to as a playwright that I’ve written, “Korinne” represents the same feeling for me as a screenwriter.  I wrote Korinne in 2013 and we made it into a film that I am so proud of.  It’s a story that was always very close to me.  I wrote it at a time when I was going through a major depression and thinking about suicide often.  I was lacking hope in a lot of ways and I turned inward to create a relationship that made me feel hopeful.  There is a love between Jane and Korinne that I continue to think about when I write current projects.  What I love about the script is it continues to feel timeless.  Everytime I open it up, or show it to someone, people seem to connect to the intimacy.  Eight years later, I still feel the story is relevant and important and the only reason to remount is was for new people to experience Jane and Korinne’s story.

For Hayley, why did you decide to center a series around a younger version of a main character you have written?

Hayley Jones is my favorite character I have ever written.  She’s a part of me and I love everything about her, from her warrior strength to her deep vulnerabilities and honesty.  However, I wrote the Hayley character to be around the age of 27.  About two years ago when we were workshopping the show, I decided to see what it would be like to add a younger version to the show.  This led to meeting Alexandra Rooney, who has been a constant in the show and its development since 2019.  Early on, I let Alexandra know that as she gets older, she will never be too old to play Hayley.  The play will continue to grow with her.  This led me to the idea of creating a web series following Hayley as she grows up from even before we meet her younger version in the play.  It’s exciting to work with Lexie on how this character develops into someone who winds up slowly losing her sense of reality because of the trauma that happens to her.  There are so many stories that happen before we hit page 1 of THE GIRL WITH THE RED HAIR and it’s really fun to work backwards.

Can you speak about the casting process for both shows?

First of all, both of these casts are absolutely stunning.  Beginning with Korinne, Jacqueline Guzman and Calli Medley as Korinne and Jane have jumped in with such bravery and vulnerability that I get lost watching them.  In rehearsal, their investment is full and it’s a hard show to go full out with.  I’m in awe of them constantly.  Vivien Cardone as Samantha and Jose Duran as Barry were the only people I thought about for the roles.  Infact, I added scenes to the production to expand their relationship.  The two of them are powerhouses.  I’ve never seen work like this, both in their individual performances and in their work as a couple.  It’s absolutely gorgeous to watch.  Gabe Calleja plays Corbin and I’ve been given a lot of flack for the Corbin role in the past.  Gabe came in and broke our heart with it.  He is such a compassionate actor and lifted the role from the page.  It’s a role where the consequences the character suffers is integral to the main characters growth and you need a confident actor to give themselves over to the storytelling that way.  Gabe is always that actor.  Finally, I’m so happy for the first time to be working with Madison C. Gray, who previously graced us as the company singer.  As Maggie Kane, she brings an incredible energy and vitality that leaves a lasting impression.

For Hayley, Alexandra Rooney stepped right back into the role with such ease.  She is one of the hardest workers I know.  She is always there to see how she can better.  It’s often remarkable she’s only 12.  The places I’ve seen her grow in only two years of knowing her are astounding and she is absolutely hilarious and heartbreaking as Hayley.  Gabe is doing double duty this month and joining as Hayley’s therapist, who he previously played in December.  A relationship with a therapist and a young adult is a complex and compelling story to tell and Gabe is always interested in how to go deeper, how to provide support for Lexie and how to best tell the story.  Lexie and Gabe have worked together a lot since last year and I love how much he looks out for her.  Alexandra Salter, playing Elise Bell, recently joined our ensemble and I immediately wrote this role with her in mind.  Alex (to not confuse with Ms. Rooney) has an incredibly raw quality to how she approaches her work.  It’s mesmerizing to watch her moment to moment play with subtle differences that completely change the scene.  It’s been such an honor working with her and I’m even more excited to continue that into next month when she plays Laura in THE GLASS MENAGERIE.  Ana Solis also recently joined us and I wrote the role of Juliet with her in mind because I saw what she was capable of.  The Juliet roles begins tying things into the universe of THE GIRL WITH THE RED HAIR and Ana has so much going on behind her eyes when she holds moments, you can’t look away.  The whole cast is breathtaking.

What can we expect to see as the Hayley show develops?

We will start tying things even more to the show.  We will bring in characters that are referenced in the show, as well as introducing new characters who are only part of this phase of Hayley’s life.  This part of Hayley’s life is the time we begin forming bonds, the times that everything begins to matter a little more, so everything and every person she comes across will chart out who she’s going to be.  The stories are endless and I can’t wait for you to see them!


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