I checked out a Fringe play last year written by my friends Julius and Tosha, a clever little piece called Hands Down about the world of competitive rock, paper, scissors. J and T both acted in it as well, along with a couple of other actors that I’d not yet met. They were both great, but I simply could not get over the comic talent of this one girl, a marvelous little firecracker name Christina Sicoli who effortlessly had me and the rest of the crowd in the Playwrights Theatre Centre in stitches.
So when I found out she had entered the Fringe this year with a one-woman show that she had developed herself, there was no way I was going to miss it, and she didn’t disappoint. An introduction to the highly delusional wanna-be supermodel Talula Rose, Wild Rose was a Fringe hit this year, and a great showcase for Christina’s burgeoning comic acting chops. With impeccable timing and boundless energy she once again slayed the crowd at the PTC, this time all on her lonesome. Remember the name, because she’s ready for her close-up…
1. In one word, describe your present condition.
2. In however many words you feel like, describe the present condition of the Vancouver theatre scene.
I think there is a lot of great theatre, but I feel there needs to be more support, especially when it comes to original pieces.
3. How was your Fringe?
I had an amazing Fringe! A wonderful experience! But it went by too darn fast.
4. What was the biggest challenge in developing your one-woman show?
Trying not to get overwhelmed and second guessing my entire piece. When I found myself doing this I would focus on being in the moment and believing that it will all come together in the end. And it did.
5. Please walk us through your process of developing one of your characters.
When developing my character, I always had an idea/vision of what I wanted. I would start by walking around, focusing on the weight of the character, where he/she held their breath, how he/she stands, walds, what type of voices come out, working on the body, the breath, speech. Then I would sit with my director and have an “interview” as the character, improvising to develop material that I could use in the show. I would play a lot by myself too, not censoring material and just exploring to see what I would find.
6. What is the one thing – above all else – that you must possess as a comic actor? (Besides a sense of humour.)
Don’t be afraid to look stupid, ugly or make a fool out of yourself. And listen. Know how to play with your audience. So much funny comes out when you least expect it.
7. Who or what are your main influences as an artist?
Gilda Radner. Lucille Ball. Jennifer Saunders. I love physical comedy. I’m not interested in listening to a female comic bantering about their wight, ex-boyfriend or living with their mother and 3 cats at 35.
8. What’s the best piece of acting advice you’ve ever received?
You will go far if you keep doing what you’re doing. Stay true to yourself and never give up…you’re only one away.
9. Describe your dream career trajectory.
Developing the Talula Rose Trilogy, romantic comedies, a sitcom, SNL…a girl has got to have a dream!
10. What are your top 3 theatre reads?
The collected plays of Neil Simon.
The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe (Lily Tomlin) – Jane Wagner
Four Dogs and a Bone – Shanley
Oh! And of course Wild Rose.
11. What’s next?
Fine tuning Wild Rose and bringing it back with a bang! Talula Rose is a bit restless.
Oh, Christina you are truly hilarious. I remember watching you play the female alien (among the many other characters) in Hands Down, and nearly peeing my pants. I also remember Simon and I saying to one another afterwards “Who was that chick?”
You definitely fall into my category of ‘People I could watch brushing their teeth’ and I would still be entertained. Thank you for making me laugh, can’t wait to see what you do next!