Tell me about the play you are working on for Emerging Artists Theatre. What do you love most about this play?
The play I am working on is called Anne Being Frank, by Ron Elisha – and what I love most about this place is that it asks us to rethink what we know about Anne Frank, and challenges us to dig a little deeper. Anne Frank’s life didn’t end when her famous diary did – and the play imagines what she might have said had she been able to continue writing.
Can you tell us a little about your artistic process or background? How is that process being realized in your work on this play?
Much of my work in the last decade has centered around Jewish themes and characters. I’m the grandchild of four Holocaust survivors, and this legacy looms large over my life. As an artist, I think I’ve unconsciously felt compelled to represent my family history and the history of the Jewish People in some way. This play examines the short life of an iconic, historical character in humanity’s darkest time and sheds new light. What the light reveals may not be pleasant – this isn’t a play with a happy ending, but it is a unique and surprising take on a character we know so well.
What do you love most about the role you are playing? What is the most challenging aspect of the work for you?
It’s definitely the most challenging role of my career and also the most exciting. This play covers so much. It’s so multi-layered and dense, and I’m playing five different characters in four different accents, none of which are my native Australian! It’s very fun to perform, there’s no emotion, no yearning, no secret that this play doesn’t uncover and although the piece is obviously emotionally heavy and in some ways difficult to perform, it’s really a gift as an actor to be able to explore all the facets of who I am and who Anne Frank was.
How did this play come to be?
In March 2020, as the world shut down and we didn’t know what the future held for live performance, I was introduced to the prolific, award-winning Australian playwright Ron Elisha. We are represented by the same agent in Australia and they were amazing at keeping their clients buoyant and creative in those early months of the pandemic. They started to introduce their acting clients to their playwriting clients and I was introduced to Ron. It was a few weeks later that I first read Anne Being Frank. The play took my breath away. Ron and I together with a lot of creative input from amazing people have continued to develop this piece and after three-and-a-half years, it is a dream come true to be able to bring this powerful play to New York audiences.
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Alexis Fishman (Anne) Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, Alexis is a Helpmann Award-nominated actor and singer, and graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. She’s been seen on stage in Australia at the Sydney Opera House, Melbourne’s State Theatre, the Adelaide and Melbourne Cabaret Festivals, and the Sydney Theatre Company. Select show highlights include the Sydney Premiere of Kiss Of The Spiderwoman (Spiderwoman/Aurora), the national tour of Shout! (Marianne), and the Australian premiere of Urinetown (Little Sally.) Alexis is the creator of seven solo shows, including the award-winning Club Gelbe Stern, (Outstanding individual performance, NYMF). Her shows have toured across Australia and the US and played in New York at 54 Below, JCC Manhattan, Laurie Beechman Theatre, Pangea, and the Triad. A recent highlight was performing Amy Winehouse: Resurrected alongside Amy’s father Mitch Winehouse at City Winery, NYC. Alexis holds an MA in International Relations from Deakin University, Melbourne, and was honored to sing for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan during the Iraq war. She is a board member of 3GNY, an educational non-profit for the descendants of Holocaust Survivors, and tells her grandparents’ story in New York public schools. Her personal essays have been published in two books and she regularly coaches cabaret workshops, helping clients realize their dreams of creating engaging, intriguing, and sparkling cabaret shows. She lives in Westchester, NY with her husband and baby girl.