Joanna Murray Smith has written a power house of a play in the form of American Song which examines parenting, consequences and self-doubt in our very modern and very unpredictable landscape.
Critically acclaimed actor, and Red Stitch ensemble member, Joe Petruzzi, plays Andy in this tour-de-force one-man spectacle which guarantees to resonate on a universal level.
“Andy is a character in conflict with the outcome of decisions he’s made in his life. The play is a journey through Andy’s marriage, family and the struggles he’s had with his destiny. My attraction to the play is based on the fact that I believe this is a timeless question for us all as individuals.”
“We discover Andy as the play opens in a state of self-examination and questioning. And the journey of the play takes that probing further and reveals the full extent of it. Andy has a powerful intellect that I am struggling to portray, but it’s the extent of that examination that is most fascinating to me. What is most admirable about him is his compassion, and his love for all of the people in his family and how they have been effected by the significant event that has happened to him.”
Murray Smith’s style is to write cogently about ordinary people navigating extra ordinary circumstances with themes that are immediately personal.
“Family. Identity. And consequence. These are the central issues and themes that Andy goes through in this play,” explains Petruzzi. “The notion of moral responsibility and whether we have done enough as individuals to have earned our retribution. This is significant because none of us can escape this examination of ourselves.”
Further, Petruzzi believes Murray Smith to have a wonderful capacity to examine universal issues on a very modern platform. “All of her characters in her work are easily identifiable and recognizable to us from the world we live in,” he says. “Yet at the heart of her plays, are always big, timeless, universal issues which are very exciting for an actor to work with. Joanna has vivid imagery which also is great to work with; the use of language and structure is very challenging but it is also rewarding. I’m a fan.”
The play has had rave reviews since its premiere last year and is, indeed, a challenge that any actor would readily embrace. As any actor knows, however, developing and finding character don’t just happen – research is paramount. Says Petruzzi:
“Research is always about finding things that will connect with you emotional and stimulate your imagination. Whether they be images of photographs, stories of people or simply knowledge and fact that you acquire through reading. Research is the fuel you run your engine on during performance. I’ve looked extensively at American culture in order to place Andy specifically in the world that Joanna has created. I’ve worked extensively on accent and placing a good, standard, America accent at the heart of the play. I read and watched a lot about events referred to in the play, and their real-life counterparts. I’ve collected photographs and images of people referred to.”
American Song is an examination of whether or not our lives are controlled by destiny or our capacity to make decisions. It is moving and provocative and thought provoking and devastating. It is a must see show that will have you gripping the edge of your seat.
October 3 – November 5