Friday, April 18, 2014

Nero/Pseudo: Meet Alani Kravitz

(As part of my blogging about Nero/Pseudo here at Balkans via Bohemia, I will be introducing readers to members of the cast and creative team of the show.) 

Alani Kravitz is one of the members of the ensemble of Nero/Pseudo -- a trio of actors who have completely wowed all of us with their smart, hilarious effervescence. She is a native DC resident who's been back in the 202 for two years after getting a BFA in Musical Theatre from Syracuse University. You may have seen here in DC in Faction of Fools/NextStop's Pinocchio! WSC Avant Bard's Friendship Betrayed, and Infinite Jest's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead at Capital Fringe. Her other credits include The Cradle Will Rock and Lysistrata (Syracuse University); Shipwrecked! (Syracuse University/Edinburgh Fringe Festival); and A Phoenix Too Frequent (Unexpected Stage).

Alani was kind enough to play along with our three questions about the Nero/Pseudo experience.

Who is your favorite person/god from antiquity?

Dionysus (Greek god of wine, parties, debauchery, you get the picture), hands down. He had rabid devotees (almost entirely women) who would follow him and drunkenly frolic. They were also some of the most intense worshippers, as they would tear those who doubted him to shreds in an ecstatic trance. Dionysus was not a god to be denied, as 'frivolous' as his dominion seemed to be. The festivals dedicated to Dionysus eventually involved loose skits, and those skits eventually became plays, so you could say Dionysus is one of the reasons why we have theatre today. Also, he was the god of wine, and I happen to like wine very much.

What's the strangest fact about the ancient world or glam rock that you've learned from this experience?

I found the worlds of Nero and just-post-Nero Rome and 70s glam rock fascinatingly similar. For one thing, there were similar feelings of political unrest, and a dire need for change (either to stability or anarchy). It's also incredibly interesting to me how Nero as a singer and performer was idolized to the point of deification. The Augustiani (Ryan Alan Jones, Brian McDermott and myself in the show) would be essentially his 'roadies' and actually lock the doors when he performed to keep anyone from leaving, and beat anyone who didn't clap hard enough. In the world of glam rock, you had these crazed teenage fanatics who, in their own way, worshipped their favorites the same way.

If you were Empress for a day, what would be your first decree? 

If I were Empress for a day, I think I would decree a maximum amount of hours per week people can work. I get very disheartened by the amount of people who have told me they don't have time for the things they want to do, because of the things they 'have to do'. That becomes an accepted reality. Sure, we all need to make a living, but I wonder sometimes if the ends justify the means. So, that is what I'd do. Dionysus would back me up, I'm sure.

Nero/Pseudo previews open at The Shop at Fort Fringe on Friday May 2. Find out more about the play at WSC Avant Bard. Tickets are now on sale

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