I hit the streets with actress Eve Lindley & actor (as well as my Facebook friend) Johnny Sibilly to talk about Street Children, a new play set in NYC in the late 80’s, explores the repression, romantic idealism, and high cost of living experienced by the transgender and queer community of the lower Hudson piers.
Street Children follows the intertwining journeys of three young characters who are reeling in the aftermath of their beloved street mother’s cruel murder. Ultimately, they must choose between the thrills and camaraderie of life as they know it, and the safety and stability of a quieter existence—albeit one potentially defined by isolation and ostracism. Street Children plays at The New Ohio Theatre (154 Christopher Street between Greenwich and Washington Streets) through 12/17! Click here for tickets!
Eve Lindley: I have worked with Jenna Worsham twice in the past, and I've enjoyed every minute of it. I was so excited to get to collaborate with her again and make her vision a reality.
Johnny Sibilly: I remember my acting coach Brad Calcaterra texting me about the project and referring me to casting. As soon as I got the sides for the audition I was on board. The language and the storytelling of the LGBT community got me and always gets me excited, representation and visibility is so important. So many times auditioning can be so transactional and monotonous, but this story excited me from the first time I read it. It's such an important one that I jumped at any chance to be a part of it. Jenna Worsham & Pia Scala-Zankel were also incredibly generous from the first moment I auditioned for them. It's been my favorite audition to date.
Eve Lindley: It's funny, I really hated "Jamie" at first. I found her a bit boring and totally unrelatable. I didn't know how I was going to play a character I didn't particularly like. Through the rehearsal process, which at times was trying on all of us, I really got to live with her and I learned about her intricacies and eventually found a version of her that made sense to me. Now, realizing how much like her I am, I couldn't be happier to portray this complex and interesting woman.
Johnny Sibilly: I find "Julio" as well as the Chorus as someone just trying to survive. Although I'm nowhere near the level of danger and disenfranchisement as him, I still see that there is a dreamer in there. Which I guess for me is more of a character choice than an obvious characteristic. One characteristic I'm glad I don't have is "Julio's" attraction to danger that he seems so comfortable in.
3. Street Children explores the repression, romantic idealism, and high cost of living experienced by the transgender and queer community of the lower Hudson piers. What is something you have repressed? How are you a romantic? What has been the highest cost of living you've paid for so far in your life?
Eve Lindley: I've always been a bit of a romantic deep down. I think lately, that's the part of me that I've been repressing. New York City will do that to you. This play really got me back in touch with the idea of hope. These characters are so full of hope. It's a very human feeling. Longing for that beauty that you can almost touch but have no idea how to possess. Beauty is everywhere, but so is sadness and regret and pain. And each time we feel pain, we are reminded of our capacity to feel love. I think that that is the ultimate price we pay for living.
Johnny Sibilly: In the past I have repressed the ownership of things that are usually considered feminine. Like sensitivity, heart, and even movement. I'm a proud hopeful romantic. I grew up watching movies like Sleepless in Seattle, Pretty Woman and the movies where love prevails over everything. I am romantic in the sense that I think the idea of love itself is intoxicating and altogether exciting. I'm a romantic comedy kinda dude. I think the highest cost of living for me personally is pursuing a career that is truly a rollercoaster ride. The lows can be low and the highs can be so high. It's always important to remind myself though that this was always the dream, what I'm doing, and what I'm talking about with you was always the dream. So I could say it's been at a cost but I think had I not pursued it, the cost of my ultimate joy would've been much greater.
Johnny Sibilly: In acting there's an exercise called raise the stakes where you and your fellow actor keep one-upping the other to raise the stakes of the scene. I believe Donald Trump being elected as our commander in chief has raised the stakes of this storytelling to a new level. It's even more important now to tell the community these stories of suffering and honesty to truly show what happens when our group of people is oppressed. It's important to see where we've been to know where it is that we don't want to end up. Also many people still suffer from the same plights as "Jaime," "Terrance," & "Angela," so telling this story at a time where it feels as though we're regressing is incredibly important for those people in particular. We want to honor them and make people understand that they're here, they're beautiful and they're deserving.
5. When has there been a time in your life when you've chosen safety/stability over thrills? And then when have you chosen thrills over safety/stability?
Eve Lindley: Haha. I think I am constantly going back and forth on that. One day I'm all about stability, the next day I'm a strong independent woman who don't need nobody. Truthfully, I'm wired to be a woman who runs towards risk. That's kinda what this business is all about, isn't it?
Johnny Sibilly: I think growing up was pretty isolating because I didn't understand myself and what it is that I wanted. I was always looking to be identified by others. It's a pretty isolating feeling to not feel in control of your identity. I wish I knew back then that you're the only person that can define your life for you. It's yours.
7. With the show entitled, Street Children, have you ever had to live on the streets? If so, how did you survive it? If you haven't yourself, did you ever know anyone who did?
Eve Lindley: I've never been properly homeless, but I am a bit of a gypsy. I've couch surfed my way through the Burroughs. I'm constantly moving. I like to be on the go. I call it "fashionably homeless." I may not know where I'll end up next month, but I know I'll have a roof over my head. I don't know too many people who don't have that sense of security. If I do, I don't know that I know them.
Eve Lindley: Hmmmmm. I'm a '93 baby, but Heathers is one of my top 20 favorite films.
Johnny Sibilly: The Golden Girls of course! Whitney Houston was everything for me growing up and in the show her music plays a part so I was very happy about that. Favorite 80's Broadway shows would have to be Dreamgirls for the spectacle and Sunday in The Park with George for its brilliance. Stephen Sondheim is EVERYTHING after all.
9. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day?
Johnny Sibilly: During & after this election I found how important empathy is. Everyone is going through something daily, and for my part I’d like to just be a little more empathetic every day to other people's lived experiences.