"Finding Fellini" is a new play about a Jewish woman who escapes the repressive conditions of apartheid South Africa and journeys to Italy to find the famed director Federico Fellini. Written and performed by Megan Metrikin, the play includes images from Fellini's films, stories, and actual quotes by him. Playwright and actress Megan Metrikin did grow up in South Africa and the play — which is her debut solo show — is largely based on her experiences which are, in turn, comical, powerful and poignant. Recently, Megan spoke about her experiences working on this play and in theater in general:
AXS: What inspired you to become a writer and how did you get into playwriting?
Megan Metrikin (MM): I am an actor and I had a story to tell so I wrote it. It is the first play I have written.
AXS: How would you describe your style?
MM: Surreal and magical realism. Storytelling and poetic.
AXS: Growing up, what kinds of shows -- plays, TV shows, movies, etc. -- had the biggest impact on you? Why?
MM: Because of the cultural boycott in South Africa due to Apartheid, local theatre thrived. Anti-apartheid theater was very exciting and abundant. The extraordinary Barney Simon at the Market Theatre, Athol Fugard and Chris Pretorius at the Glass theatre inspired me. I was also influenced by Wim Wenders, Godard, Werner Herzog and Bertolucci. I was always drawn to the surreal as I saw it as an honest reflection of life around me.
AXS: How did you get the idea for "Finding Fellini”?
MM: I got the idea from a real life experience that I had. I really went to Italy to look for Fellini. The play is also rooted in the South African landscape of my childhood. Memories and aromas of a crazy place on the Southern-most tip of Africa. It’s really a place like no other.
AXS: Which works of Fellini most inspired you?
MM: I really love all of them but “Nights of Cabiria” and “La Strada” are my favorites.
AXS: So far, what has been the most rewarding thing about being involved in the theatre industry?
MM: Traveling the world with Junction Avenues “Sophiatown" and working at the Market Theater and The Glass Theatre. I have worked with incredibly exciting people on “Finding Fellini”. Jack Feltman was the Dramaturg and was incredibly creative to work with and my director Guy De lancey is multi-talented and an amazing artist. He is an award winning Lighting designer and a Cinematographer which is perfect for this production. Creating a piece of work with human people is the most rewarding exciting experience.
AXS: Career wise, where do you hope to be in ten years?
MM: I hope to have written a few more plays and I hope to be involved and act in the creation of many exciting projects.
AXS: What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to become a playwright?
MM: Just do it. Explore, dream, believe. Try not to be self-critical.
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“Finding Fellini” runs for sixty-five minutes as part of TheaterLab’s Solo Season. It will be performed from November 10 to November 13 at Theaterlab, 357 West 36th Street and November 14, 17,19th as part of MITF at the WorkShop Theater’s Jewel Box Theater (312 W 36 Street). Tickets are $25 and $15 for students. To learn more, visit the TheaterLab website and/or see here.