Patricia Zentilli is Back Somewhere That’s Green

 farren timoteo & patricia zentilli

Two and half weeks ago in Edmonton I took two young girls to see Little Shop of Horrors at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre. The show boasted brilliant direction by Marianne Copithorne, the likes of which I’m sure you’d be hard pressed to find in many regional theatres across the country, let alone at a dinner theatre. Farren Timoteo plays Seymour, a sweet, genuine, nerdy little botanist trying his best to nurture a finicky, carnivorous plant and the heart of an insecure girl named Audrey. Timoteo is absolutely loveable as Seymour, the plant, Audrey II, is brought to life with style and flair by Andrew MacDonald-Smith (puppeteer) and Orville Charles Cameron (voice), Sean Hauk is hilariously dark as Orin- the pain-inflicting dentist, Natasha Napoleao rocks out with her huge voice as the urchin Crystal, and Patricia Zentilli touches and breaks your heart as Audrey the flower shop girl.
 
Today, Patricia Zentilli and I sat down at our computers and constructed this interview for you via everyone’s favourite Facebook. Originally from Nova Scotia, Zentilli recently played Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors at the Canadian Stage Company in Toronto for which she was nominated for a 2008 Dora Mavor Moore Award. She also played Little Becky in Urinetown also at the Canadian Stage Company, and was seen as Cathy in The Last Five Years at the Manitoba Theatre Centre, won a Robert Merritt Award for her portrayal of Brooke/Vicki in The Atlantic Theatre Festival’s production of Noises Off, performed in Hamlet, Member of the Wedding, Grease and others at Neptune Theatre in Halifax and recently played Susan on Global TV’s sitcom The Jane Show. Patricia sings regularly in the Cabaret scene in Toronto and recently recorded a CD with pianist Patti Loach entitled “Pull Me Through.” For more information on Patricia, you can visit her website: http://www.patriciazentilli.com/
 
And without further ado- please sit back, have some tea, and read our little interview!

Amanda Campbell: So, at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre, guests start arriving as early as five o’clock and they are treated to a great buffet; folks have supper, they talk, they order drinks… and the show doesn’t start until 7:30. What’s going on for the actors while the audience is having dinner? What about during those brunch matinee shows?!

Patricia Zentilli: Well.. I usually head down to the dressing rooms (I live in the hotel) around an hour and a half before the curtain.. I am just like that.. I like to be in the theatre really early..I feel anxious when I am not. Nobody is there yet except maybe Pat, the costume designer and head of wardrobe. I make a tea, put my hair in pincurls, warm up my voice… Most people show up around 45 minutes before the show starts and get into costume.. chit chat in the green room, warm up… talk… hang out. It’s a very happy cast. We get along great, which is so nice.

AC: So. You were directed by THE Marianne Copithorne. She did such an amazing job. What was it like working with her?! She played Audrey in Little Shop of Horrorsherself; did she have any unique direction for you? You played Audrey opposite Ron Pederson at Canstage last November/December, and Marianne also played Audrey opposite Ron Pederson- was that weird? Was that cool? Did Marianne have any fun stories you can share?

PZ: Marianne is a goddess and such a great director. We had lots of laughs in rehearsal and she really urged us to keep the honesty in the show. She kind of left me alone to do my own thing. It was strange to be playing the part again. I wanted to remain open to any new ideas that may come up with my new Seymour. It was never wierd at all. She is just the lovliest and I hope I get to work with her again.
 
AC: You obviously have a great dynamic with Farren Timoteo, who plays Seymour in this production; does your portrayal of Audrey change from the way you played her last year because the dynamic of the cast is different? If yes, how so?
 
PZ: Yes I think it changed a little bit. Farren makes such a lovely Seymour. He has this innate goodness about him that shines through. I feel like in this production the Audrey/Seymour relationship is more playful, and my costumes are a lot trashier which changed things for me too… as far as how i move around.
 
AC: When you were cast in Little Shop last year you were quoted as saying that it was a dream role for you. What was your first experience with seeing the show? What makes Audrey that dream role for you?
 
PZ: Audrey is a dream role I suppose because I just felt I could connect with her..and I love her. She is just so good and kind and so damaged in a way. Plus the songs are just fantastic to sing. I am still not sick of singing them!! The first time I saw the stage show was at Neptune Theatre (not sure the year) and I just LOVED it.
 
AC: Little Shop of Horrors is sort of a strange musical. Its two protagonists meet a dark and bloody end; there is no happily ever after, it probably doesn’t fill its audience with warm fuzzies… what do you think the biggest appeal of the show is for an audience?
 
PZ: People seem to love the combination of the darkness and absurdity of the talking, singing carniverous plant, and then the little love story between Audrey and Seymour. The ending is a bit confusing. It’s a strange way to end a musical, but people don’t seem to mind!!
 
AC: What’s the most appealing thing for you about Audrey? What do you think Seymour loves most about her?
 
PZ: I think what I love most about Audrey is her vulnerability and her big heart. I think Seymour loves the same things in her.
 
AC: What do you think appeals to Audrey most about Seymour?

PZ: I think Audrey thinks he is sweet and considerate and loyal, the kind of guy she doesn’t think she deserves.

AC: Where did you come up with the way your Audrey says “doc-tah”?
 
PZ: Oh I think I must have stolen from Ellen Green and mixed in a bit of Zentilli.

AC: What’s Patricia Zentilli’s favourite thing about Edmonton?

PZ: The people.

AC: What’s the thing you miss most about fall in Toronto?

PZ: I miss my friends SO much.

AC: It’s 3pm on your day off from Little Shop– where are you and what have you gotten up to?

PZ: Probably on Whyte Avenue spending money I shouldn’t be spending!!!

Little Shop of Horrors runs at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta until November 2nd, 2008. If you are in Edmonton, you should absolutely check this one out! 16615 – 109 Avenue, (780) 483-4051, 1-877-529-7829 or http://www.mayfieldtheatre.ca/.

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