Public demand for Florence Foster Jenkins, music history’s worst operatic soprano, reached it’s height when she sang at Carnegie Hall in 1944 to a sold-out audience.
People wanted to see her, not because she was great, but to laugh at her. And she, convinced of her greatness, mistook their ridicule for applause.
The bizarre and hilarious true story of Jenkins, as told by the actors of Act 1 Scene 1 theater company, highlights a risk all artists take in performing their crafts.
“Actors are all insecure. I think that is why we do what we do. We need that reassurance,” said Roxane Gray, who plays Jenkins in Act 1 Scene 1’s “Souvenir,” which opens Friday in Port Arthur. “As soon as you step out on the stage, you wonder, ‘Are they going to like me?’”
This play is a break from the season of comedies from Act 1 Scene 1 in that it is not slapstick, but a deeper, situational comedy.
“It’s a comedy but it is also very touching,” said Gray.
“Souvenir” is a memory play, told dramatically by Jenkins’ shy accompanist, Cosme McMoon, played by Benny Bryan, and reveals how in the uptight, wealthy New York society of 1930s, against Jenkins’ strong character, no one can convince her of what she is or isn’t.
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