Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congrats on the upcoming launch of BEFOK in this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival! For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the premise of this show?
Asta Leigh: It’s a dark comedy solo show about Lola Luvv, a South African actress living in Hollywood who swore she’d be world-renowned by now. But her birthday – a BIG birthday - is in seven days, and she’s still walking dogs and working menial jobs. After catching a glimpse of Academy Award-winning director Alejandro González Iñárritu at the Alta Dena Wholefoods, Lola’s convinced it’s a sign she’s destined to play the lead in his TV show, The One Percent. What follows is a manic ride of determination, desperation, ketamine, and chickens. It’s funny, it’s deep, it’s a ride!
BD: Asta, as the playwright and performer, what can you tell us about your shared creative process in working with director Matt Ritchey to bring this production to life?
AL: Matt is a remarkable story crafter, and I was aware of his excellent skills as a director. I had already been working with him on the TV pilot I wrote – Dear Alejandro, which Befok is based on - so naturally he seemed like the perfect choice to direct the play. I have a lot of crazy ideas and a big vision and Matt’s so brilliant at helping me craft those ideas into a narrative with an arc and a structure that works. We’re also both perfectionists, so it really is a matter of “iron sharpeneth iron.” We’re both all about the minutiae, and it really helps working with someone who values performance art as much as I do. It’s always about the craft.
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. Matt, how do you feel that Lola’s story may connect with and impact audiences?
Matt Ritchey: Lola’s journey is one that a lot of people can connect to – she’s really putting herself out there, being super positive and upbeat, but is being met with tons of rejection and is trying to keep her spirits up. L.A. can be a very lonely, crowded place – it dangles the promise of greatness and glitter, but often delivers devastating blows instead. And we all need connection and friends to help us through it. Lola’s story is a good reminder of that.
BD: What makes the Hollywood Fringe Festival an ideal venue for this production?
MR: I love the Fringe because it gives you the opportunity to try things! It’s a great proving ground and a way to really focus on the performances and story. And since there’s such a wealth of theater happening all around you, you get audiences that you might not have expected! Plus, you get to connect with other shows and broaden your own horizons. BEFOK is the perfect show for Fringe – quirky, fun, with real heart, and a great performance at its core that will leave you asking some big questions when you walk out.
BD: The show will be appearing at the Black Box Theater at The Broadwater in June. Are there any future plans to perform the show at other venues?
AL: Absolutely! We have so much material for this show - in fact we struggled cutting it down to fit in out allotted time - so we plan to take it on after this and do a 90-minute version somewhere in LA and then on to New York.
BD: Are there any other upcoming projects that you would care to share with our readers?
AL: Currently, my main aim is to shoot the pilot for the series. After you’ve spent an hour with Lola, you’ll want to spend more time with her, so finding investors and collaborators is the next move.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell readers who want to learn more about and purchase tickets for BEFOK (Or The Desperate Attempt to Impress Iñárritu)?
MR & AL: Check out our Fringe page for ticket links, and we can’t wait to see you at the show!
DATES AND TIMES:
June 1 – 9:30 p.m.
June 5 – 8 p.m.
June 11 – 12:30 p.m.
June 14 – 8 p.m.
June 16 – 6:30 p.m.
June 18 – 2:30 p.m.
June 23 – 6:30 p.m.
June 24 – 8:30 p.m.
June 25 – 12:30 p.m.
The Black Box at The Broadwater
6322 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
FOR MORE INFORMATION: