PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Man and Boy's Francesca Faridany

By Matthew Blank
18 Oct 2011

Francesca Faridany
Francesca Faridany

Francesca Faridany, currently playing Countess Antonescu in Roundabout's Broadway revival of Man and Boy, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire with random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.

Faridany has previously appeared on Broadway in The 39 Steps and The Homecoming.

Other theatre credits include the title role in Orlando at Classic Stage, The New York Idea at the Atlantic, The Stronger, As You Like It, Fräulein Else, Agamemnon, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, Molière's Don Juan and Design for Living.

Screen work includes "ER," "Deadline," "Law & Order" and "Quartermaine's Terms."



Full given name: Francesca Shahla Emily Faridany
Where you were born/where you were raised: Born in San Francisco and raised in East Sussex, England.
Zodiac Sign: Cancer
What your parents did/do for a living: My mother was a musician, a teacher and a fervent supporter of the arts. She ran the Carmel Bach Festival in CA.



My father was an adventurer; half-Persian, half-eccentric English country gentleman (he'd like that ...)

Current audition song/monologue: Don't have one. I find something when I need to.
Something you're REALLY bad at: Waitressing. I shudder when I think about the time I poured an espresso directly onto a man's khaki-panted "lap" — if you get my drift.
First Broadway or West End show you ever saw: Not sure, but it must have been a panto. Probably Peter Pan in London.
If you could go back in time and catch any Broadway show, what would it be? Oh boy. Well, how about those boys that Shakespeare wrote those leading ladies for? Would love to have seen that first Lady M. or Rosalind.

Then there's Sarah Bernhardt's Hamlet... although a friend pointed out that it it might be a bit macabre to watch her play it with that wooden leg.

Current show other than your own you have been recommending to friends: I'm afraid I have hardly seen anything because I have a 15-month-old daughter so I'm a horrible person to ask. I do say the word "Follies" in Man and Boy — maybe that counts?!
Some favorite musicals: There's a movie musical called "The Slipper and the Rose" with Richard Chamberlain and host of fabulous actors (Margaret Lockwood playing the wicked step-mother)

Merrily We Roll Along, The Light in the Piazza... and now my teenage self is piping up with Cats and Les Miserables. Yes, I pretty much know all the words to both.

Favorite classical plays: Crikey, um... Richard II, Winter's Tale, Hofmannsthal's Electra, The Broken Heart by John Ford, Marivaux's The Game of Love and Chance, big old Greek plays.
Favorite modern playwrights: Anna Deveare Smith, David Hirson, Lucinda Coxon, Kushner
Stars of the past or present you would most love to perform with: Dietrich, Noel Coward, Olivier, Oskar Werner, Fred Astaire, Anna Magnani, Katherine Hepburn, Richard Burton
Your personal acting idols, living or dead: Elisabeth Bergner, Garbo, Carole Lombard, Robin Wright, Fiona Shaw, Emma Thompson, Mark Rylance, Meryl Streep, Kathryn Hunter
One performance — attended — that you will never forget: Kathryn Hunter in The Skriker at the National
Music that makes you cry, any genre: "In Trutina" from Carmina Burana
Dylan's "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go"
The Wotan/Brünnhilde scene at the end of Wagner's Die Walküre
MAC or PC? MAC
Most played song on your iPod: Dietrich singing "The Boys in the Backroom"
Most-visited websites: Apart from Google, I guess it's the BBC radio website.
Last book you read: "Finding Nouf" by Zoe Ferraris
Must-see TV shows: "Nurse Jackie"
"Extras"
"Suits"
Last good movie you saw: "The Whistleblower." Harrowing, but so good that it's out there.
Some films you consider classics: "Morocco"
"Brief Encounter"
"A Night at the Opera"
"Grand Hotel"
"Terms of Endearment"
"Rebecca"
"Jules et Jim"
"The Thin Man"
"Rebel Without a Cause"
"Once Upon a Time in America"
"Who Am I This Time?"
Performers you would drop everything to go see: Eddie Izzard
Pop culture guilty pleasure: There is a series of '80s romance novels by Jilly Cooper...
Favorite cities: London, San Francisco, Salzburg
Favorite sport/team/player: Skiing: men's/women's downhill
Equestrian dressage
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: Blondie's "Parallel Lines"
First stage kiss: First year at Drama School in an Ostrovsky play. I don't remember the name, but I do remember rolling around on the floor.
Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager: Dracula in The Dracula Spectacular
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: Not so much a moment but a gradual dawning that there was nothing else that I really wanted to do. This was in high school.
How you got your Equity card: An Ideal Husband at Berkeley Rep
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: I'm now a serious Green Symphony fan.

Then afterwards, Angus McIndoe or home to carrots and a jar of mayonnaise.

Favorite liquid refreshment: Water
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: Yoga, or just lying on the floor and breathing. I have a luxurious 2 hours from the half hour call until I'm onstage in Man and Boy.

No rituals really, but habits develop and little backstage moments that you come to look forward to and love. That routine is very calming.

Most challenging role you have ever played: There is the sheer psychic and physical fatigue of something like Cassandra in Agamemnon, but I'd take that any day over doing the off-camera part of a TV scene.

The sheer pace and pressure of TV is intense. I have huge respect for the folks who manage that well.

Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: There was the HIDEOUS bout of stage fright, several years ago in DC, that caused me to stop breathing and practically swoon.

The actor onstage with me had to say his next line, which was a hefty page-plus away, completely screwing up the plot.

Or, trying to prevent a very persistent Junebug from getting trapped under my hoop skirt on the outdoor stage at the Old Globe in San Diego, while attempting to not pull focus.

Worst costume ever: Um ... I'd tell you but then I'd have to kill you.
Worst job you ever had: Ditto
Who have you played on "Law & Order"? What editions? I played a reporter called Betsy Braun in the original series. I walk down the street with Jesse Martin for about a minute.

A battered executive secretary girlfriend-of-the-bad-guy, and then a British nanny who gets wrongly accused of something and thrown in jail... both on "SVU."

Finally, a secretary on "Criminal Intent" but I think I got cut out.

Leading lady role you've been dying to play: Lady Macbeth's been on my mind lately.
Leading man role you wish you could play: Harlequin
Something you are incredibly proud of: My sweet sweet daughter has started talking. She said "vacuum" yesterday.
Something you're embarrassed to admit: The thing about the '80s romance novels.
Career you would want if not a performer: A horse trainer
Three things you can't live without: My husband, my daughter and marmite
"I'll never understand why…" No one but me (that I've spoken to about this) seems to notice that the trains on the 2/3 and 4/5 lines — those newer ones — play the first three notes of "Somewhere" when they pull out of a station.
Words of advice for aspiring performers: Keep at it. You will find a way.