Spotlight On: Full Frontal & Eddie Antar
In 2011, Eddie Antar’s play The Navigator, a Workshop Theatre Company production, received IT nominations for Outstanding Production of a Play, Outstanding Original Full-Length Script (for playwright Eddie Antar), Outstanding Actress in a Featured Role (for Nicole Taylor), Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role (for Kelly Anne Burns), Outstanding Set Design (for Duane Pagano) and took home awards for Outstanding Direction (Leslie Kincaid Burby) and Outstanding Lighting Design (Duane Pagano). Now, Antar has written Full Frontal: A Naked Exploration of Sex and Sexuality. Doug Strassler discussed this provocative work with the playwright.
DS: Where did the idea for Full Frontal come from?
EA: I had never written a short play before joining the Workshop Theater Company, but once I started I couldn’t stop. Scott Sickles, the artistic director, really liked my stories and asked if I would put a few together to be produced as a full evening of theater. I didn’t want to create a random evening of one-acts. One-act festivals are scattered shows that go off with mixed results. They have to be about one subject. I noticed that many of my plays were about sex and sexuality. Probably because I’m perverted, but also because I remember my forays into that stage of life with much strife, joys, success, failures and curiosity - all good ingredients for storytelling. So I went through a selection process and that’s how it began.
DS: You describe it as a piece that moves both vertically and horizontally. Could you describe that a little bit further?
EA: Sure. The first story is about awkward first fumbling in the backseat of a car. The last piece is about a middle aged New York City Jewish woman who is mesmerized by, and subsequently follows, a young, handsome young Dominican man to his home. The first piece encompasses innocence and naivety, the last maturity and confidence. That’s the vertical journey. In the middle we see the different stages that make up the possible detours along the way, including same sex attraction, impulse attraction, fidelity issues, socially acceptable behavior and language, secret longings, and so on. I see those as moving horizontally as they broaden the middle.
DS: How much is the emphasis on sex, versus relationships?
EA: Fantastic question. It’s called Full Frontal: A Naked Exploration of Sex and Sexuality. But it’s more about the baring of the soul than the flesh. It’s the conundrums, the dilemmas, the compromises that we find ourselves in when we’re “stripped down.” Sex is just a great playground for story because the ways we deal with it illuminates SO MUCH about the human condition.
DS: What do you hope people take away from this show?
EA: Oh God. I hope they feel the show is a celebration of the subject. During the show? I hope they’re a bit embarrassed, aroused, moved to laughter, and moved to tears. Like any good piece of theatre, right?
DS: ...and is there actually nudity to be found in this show?
EA: No. But there might as well be. The language and situations are quite explicit. But actual nudity, no.
It’s going to be playing in the Workshop’s 35-seat Jewel Box theater under and Equity showcase code. It would take a lot for me to feel justified in asking an actor or actress to bare all. It’s just a little too intimate. All of that said, I think Full Frontal will grow, and, in some new story where nudity feels justified, I wouldn’t hold back.
DS: Who from your Navigator team does it reunite you with?
EA: Leslie Kincaid Burby is directing. Leslie was the New York Innovative Theatre Award recipient for Outstanding Director for The Navigator. She is an incredible collaborator and asset. She’s creative for sure, but she’s also one of the most sensitive, open and caring directors I’ve worked with. Also on the team is the New York Innovative Theatre Award recipient for Navigator Duane Pagano doing our lights and sets. And Drama Desk Nominee for Navigator Quentin Chiappetta doing our sound. The cast of actors is not from Navigator, but they are fantastic. Leslie and I were lucky enough to be able to cast the show from our first picks. Amanda Sayle Rinzel and Tom Pennacchini are returning to Full Frontal from the 3 day staged reading. Rounding out the cast is Laura Darrel, Joe Boover, Katie Braden and Emily Zacharias. Real top notch talent.
DS: Where can people see Full Frontal?
EA: Full Frontal will be playing in the Jewel Box Theater of the Workshop Theater Company, located at 312 West 36th Street, 4th Floor. The show plays from April 3rd to April 12th. Exact dates, tickets and other info is on the Workshop site.
Two things people need to know. 1) Full Frontal contains explicit behavior and language and is not recommended for anyone under 16 years of age, and 2) The show will play only 8 performances in a 35 seat theater. Seats will go very quickly.