Made For Each Other: Interview with Actor John Fico

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“Made for Each Other” is a play by Monica Bauer centered on Vincent and Jerry who are deeply in love but hiding secrets from their haunting unresolved pasts from each other. A romantic comedy-drama about love, sex, and memory, the lastest iteration of the show will be performed via live pop-up shows in parks, on rooftops, on patios and in gardens. Audiences buy a ticket knowing the general neighborhood, but are told the exact location the afternoon of the show which you are seeing. Then an app known as LiveTours connects everyone into the sound so that amplification isn’t required and outdoor noise such as traffic, kids, animals, air conditioners, etc., is reduced.

Actor John Fico, who is starring in this forthcoming version, recently discussed the show and his character via an exclusive interview.

Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you discover your love for theater and how did you break into the industry?

John Fico (JF): I started doing teen theatre at Archbishop Stepinac, a Catholic high school in White Plains. One of my first plays was Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes.” It was a seminal moment in my life, singing and dancing for the first time in this big cast. And just when my Grandfather was suddenly moved into my bedroom — as referenced in “Made For Each Other,” even though our play is fictional. That’s when I discovered theatre. This magical place where everyone comes to one place; audience, cast, crew (or in the case of my high school it was boys,
girls, queers, jocks, brains, geeks, burnouts, guidos, and preppies) and gets to revel in the things that make us all human and family.  I had such a great time! I got to be myself in front of other people and be happy at the same time! It was sublime, validating, and addictive. Also, our show had tap dancing chorus boys in sailor pants, so I was hooked.  Have I broken into the industry?  I have worked quite a bit. And if I never do another play after “Made For Each Other,” which was
written for me by the brilliant Monica Bauer, I will have had plenty to feel successful about.

MM: What drew you to “Made For Each Other” and how did you mentally prepare for the role?

JF: Our playwright Monica Bauer interviewed me before writing it. She wanted to know about my life, what I thought was important to say, how I liked to perform – so I wasn’t drawn to it so much as presented with it as a gift. But I can feel lonely before a show; all by myself with no tapdancing chorus boys to keep me company — and always really want to get out there onstage and see the people! And I want them to like me, which is the worst thing for acting. So, I take some deep breaths backstage and just work in service of what Monica wrote. Does that sound weird? These four characters want love and want to give love too. I focus on that and on these four characters.

MM: How tough was it to set the performance up via the LiveTours app and what was that whole experience like?

JF: It wasn’t tough at all, maybe because the show was written to be performed at festivals. Each festival venue is so different so the show was directed and designed to work under any circumstances. Using the LiveTours app and performing outside is not a big adjustment.  For
one run of Made For Each Other, I was in a beautiful theatre with a thrust stage and tons of gorgeous lighting and then in another city, I was performing it in a corner of a hostel’s rathskeller. I did the whole show on a 4 x 8 platform and could hear the football game on the bar’s tv! But we sold out that run so…

MM: What do you hope people take away as the core meaning of the performance?

JF: That what unites us is more important than what divides us. This was written as a gay marriage play, long before “marriage equality.” So we’ve had to change some of the writing over time. And it was sort of meant to be a gay play. But it turns out it really isn’t. It’s about all the things that prove we are all the same. Love. Family. Longing. Hope. Theatre can show that better than anything else.

MM:
What is your favorite part of the play and why?

JF: Frankly, my favorite part is when I first get out at the top of the show. It’s all direct address and right at the beginning I talk to my audience for the first time and sort of take their temperature. Find out who they are and where they want to go, you know? I love that!

MM: What are your favorite kinds of characters to play and what’s your dream role?

JF: Oh, any old Nathan Detroit-y kind of character role will do. And I’d love to play one of the clowns in “The 39 Steps.” I have done a number of multi-character tracks and they’re fun! You thought I was going to say Hamlet, right?

MM: What projects are coming up for you soon and is there anything else that you would like to mention?

JF: The “Made For Each Other” team recently created a new solo piece called “Democracy Sucks.” Again, it was written by Monica Bauer for me and also directed by the same director, John D. FitzGibbon. Sort of written for me. It was intended as stage play for a woman before COVID shut everything down and then was rewritten for me to record as an online solo piece. Details to follow but it’s set to appear on the website of a Scottish theatre (it’s second online presentation in the UK) and just finished a short “run” on the website of New Jersey Repertory Theatre. It’s about a college Philosophy Professor, now teaching remotely because of the shutdowns, who’s marriage has disintegrated, his drinking has escalated, and with this looming Presidential election — he just might lose his job, his tenure, his mind but not his sense of humor. It’s a comedy, of course. There are no tapdancing chorus boys but there are puppets! Check www.facebook.com/UpperMichiganState to keep up with where you can watch it!