ACT­ING OUT

GA Voice - - Finding Yourself -

Gay play­wright Charles Busch’s “Die, Mom­mie, Die” is one of his most cel­e­brated, pro­duced works. At the cen­ter of the com­edy is for­mer pop singer An­gela Ar­den, who as the play opens is bury­ing her beloved sis­ter and at­tempt­ing a good old-fash­ioned Hol­ly­wood come­back. All around her is chaos and even­tu­ally mur­der. Di­rected by Sue­hyla El-At­tar, it’s on­stage now cour­tesy of The Process Theatre and On­stage At­lanta.

We caught up with the inim­itable Ar­den (por­trayed by ac­tor and play­wright To­pher Payne) to talk about her ca­reer, her fam­ily, her new ten­nis pro, Tony Parker (We­ston Man­ders), who—ru­mor has it—is work­ing on more than her back­hand, and An­gela’s long-time maid Boot­sie (played by De­Wayne Mor­gan).

We were sorry to hear about your late sis­ter Bar­bara, Ms. Ar­den. How are you hold­ing up?

Ar­den:

Bar­bara and I were very close. In the be­gin­ning of our ca­reer, we sang to­gether and then she chose to leave the act and then pur­sue her dream of be­ing my per­sonal sec­re­tary. Her loss was deeply felt by all of us.

We do hear you are on the come­back trail, how­ever.

Ar­den:

I am in­deed! I’m back by popular de­mand. I feel, re­turn­ing as a ma­ture actress, I am look­ing for roles be­fit­ting my range now, ones like Maria in “West Side Story” or per­haps “Peter Pan.”

Tell us about your chil­dren. Ar­den:

My chil­dren are al­ways a bless­ing and a chal­lenge. Like a big bot­tle of Scotch. My son Lance is at­tend­ing a uni­ver­sity and par­tic­i­pat­ing in the theater pro­gram. He has stage blood in his veins and is break­ing new ground. He has just been cast in a ver­sion of “Ok­la­homa!” as Ado An­nie. Daugh­ter Edith is a bit more of a chal­lenge. She has a very strong per­son­al­ity and large ears she in­her­ited, both from her fa­ther.

We’ve heard Lance might be—as the say­ing goes—light in the loafers.

Ar­den:

I am cer­tain we all en­joy ex­peri- men­ta­tion from time to time but we all come to our senses.

Are you and hus­band Sol pretty happy to­gether?

Ar­den:

Sol is a bril­liant film­maker. As a hus­band he is—a bril­liant film­maker.

We’ve heard you and Tony Parker are close?

Ar­den:

He’s a ten­nis in­struc­tor and per­sonal er­rand boy and noth­ing more! No mat­ter what you hear at the Bev­erly Hills coun­try club.

Hello, Boot­sie! How long have you been work­ing with Ms. Ar­den?

Boot­sie:

25 years. I do my job well and I try my best to be part of the fam­ily.

We hear you and Sol have got­ten close over the years.

Things are not go­ing well. I think An­gela may be hav­ing an af­fair. I don’t think it’s the first one. His name is Tony, the ten­nis in­struc­tor. He is a hor­ri­ble, hor­ri­ble man. He comes over and even tries to come on to me.

Word on the street is that he’s en­dowed. Boot­sie:

You are go­ing to em­bar­rass me! I will say, he does seem to be well blessed down there.

Word on the street is also that you’re a bit of a snoop.

Boot­sie:

I am try­ing to look out for my fam­ily. I want ev­ery­one to take care, not have peo­ple go be­hind backs and do de­ceit­ful things. I do have a sneaky sus­pi­cion Ms. Ar­den may be up to some­thing. Just the other day, I heard her say “which poi­son do you think would kill the quick­est?”

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