Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Your show, It’s Only Lipstick, will soon begin its run on Thursdays from July 6 through August 17 at the Whitefire Theater in Sherman Oaks, CA. What inspired you to tell this story, and how would you describe your creative process in bringing it to life?
Claudia DiMartino: I had a complete change of direction in my life. I spent over 22 years in corporate America as a marketing executive in the beauty industry. I realized that my life’s experiences would resonate with both men and women. My story is about family, work, and faith! I’m going after my childhood dream, and I wanted to share that it’s never too late to go after your dreams.
As for my creative process, in taking writing classes, I learned as an actress that I’m a storyteller. So, instead of writing first, I thought about different experiences in my life and then told the story. From that emerged the writing. The stories in my show rose to the top as cream; other stories - I’ll keep for another day. And, because of my business experience, I have a very logical mind. There must be a beginning, a middle, and an end. I let that play in the process.
It was when I met Jessica Lynn Johnson, my director, in November 2015 that I learned how to put the pieces together for my solo show.
BD: Given that the performance is a one-woman show, how do you balance the various aspects of production, and do you feel that the various roles enhance your creative process?
CDM: Because this story is so personal, I’m able to relive the different characters and stories I portray. I’ve been surprised by the level of emotion I can bring to each aspect of the show. I portray 40 characters. I had to let each one come to life through memories and experiences. Some were difficult because I had to allow myself to let the experience(s) with that person fill the up the character. Sometimes, it was a bit challenging.
I feel this show has grown me as an actress and my creative process. It’s never until we take on something bigger than we thought possible that we can rise to the occasion and learn from it.
From a practical standpoint, producing this show has been a learning experience. I’m grateful that I premiered at Solo Fest 2017 and got a taste of producing. Thankfully, my business experience has come into play in terms of organizing, dealing with problems and enabling the show to come to life. I’m also grateful for those individuals who have come to my aid in
areas that I may not be that adept at just yet.
BD: What do you hope that audiences will take away from the show?
CDM: My hope is that audiences will be inspired and recognize that we don’t have to settle. I strongly believe that each person has a dream. It may be buried deep inside, but it’s there. I want people to look deep and encourage them to be who they truly are. I had to stop listening to the naysayers. If there’s a passion burning, then listen to the inner voice. Figure out how to go after your dream.
BD: It’s Only Lipstick was a critical and fan favorite at the 2017 SoloFest. What is your experience in returning to the show once again?
CDM: I’m overjoyed! I’m so touched and grateful that so many people enjoyed the show and asked me to bring the show back after Solo Fest 2017. I’m also gulping at the magnitude of this endeavor. But, WOW! I’m living my dream in a very personal way, and it’s starting to sink in.
BD: Are there any future plans to perform the show at other venues?
CDM: I’ve been focused so much on my first show run at The Whitefire Theatre. I feel very fortunate to be returning to The Whitefire. I am surrounded by such professionals as Artistic Director Bryan Rasmussen, Technical Director David Svengalis, and director Jessica Lynn Johnson. They have made this process much easier. I have, though, been toying with the idea of other venues, but I haven’t locked any plans in place as of yet.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects that you would care to share with our readers?
CDM: I’ve developed a TV sitcom based on my family. They make a very prominent appearance at the top of It’s Only Lipstick. Each episode is based on actual events that took place. I’ve written the pilot and look to get the “right” people excited to pick it up.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell readers who want to learn more about and purchase tickets for It’s Only Lipstick?
CDM: I have developed the show website: www.itsonlylipstick.com. There, readers will find a trailer I put together, based on the premiere showing from Solo Fest 2017 laced with enthusiastic theater goer reactions, as well as discount codes for special pricing. It’s easy to click on the ticket button, which will direct readers to www.itsonlylipstick.brownpapertickets.com.
Or, readers can just go directly to www.itsonlylipstick.brownpapertickets.com.