Saturday, August 7, 2010

Catching Up With Rachael Hip-Flores, Part Two

In Part One of our new interview with the Indie Soap winning Rachael Hip-Flores, we discussed  season two of ANYONE BUT ME and how viewers can make season three a reality (HINT: donate!).  In Part Two we discuss her current role in Shakepeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona in New York City, as well as future hopes and plans.  Is television ready for the Next Big Thing? Find out below: 

We Love Soaps: Talking about this past year, you have also been nurturing your craft is a lot of New York theater.  And you have something coming up right now.  Let’s talk Shakespeare. 
Rachael Hip-Flores: That is where memorization really comes in.  It starts August 4th and runs through August 22nd.  I’m doing Two Gentlemen Of Verona, seven shows a week. 

We Love Soaps: Tell us about the show.
Rachael Hip-Flores: I’m am doing the show with the award winning Judith Shakespeare company.  They have been around for 15 years which is amazing for Off-Off Broadway.  Part of their mission statement is to expand the presence of women in classical theater.  So it is gender reversed.  I am playing a dude, Valentine, one of the two gentlemen of verona.  It’s a love story, it’s a romantic comedy, so there’s new territory there.  It’s about how crazy love makes us, and all these weird things that we do when we are in love that we would never do under ordinary circumstances.  There’s a live dog, it is very well behaved.  There is lots of clowning and funny slapstick stuff. 

 We Love Soaps: Roger and I will be seeing this.  What was it like to play a boy?
Rachael Hip-Flores: It was hard!  And I didn’t expect it to be hard.  I’m not a girlie girl.  It took me twenty years to start wearing make-up.  I don’t often wear dresses, I just exist in the world.  I have played boys before, but not to this extent, the focus was never on the cross-gender stuff.  We started in on this and I’m just didn’t realize how girlie I was.  I tend to bend my wrists a lot, I tend to make pretty movements with my hands that aren’t particularly masculine.

We Love Soaps: Uh oh, I do that too.
Rachael Hip-Flores: But let me tell you something.  We were doing a lot of workshop work, a lot of rehearsal, and after rehearsal I would feel a little more butch about my life.  I’d be getting on the subway, walking down the street with my shoulders wide.  And these guys on my street started paying so much more attention to me, I’d get cat calls.  I thought, “Wait a minute, either I’m really bad at this, or we all need to reexamine what’s attractive and sexy about who right now.” It was really quite a shift!

We Love Soaps: So people can see what is causing the cat calls at the show. 
Rachael Hip-Flores: And far better looking women than I are doing it too. 

We Love Soaps: Where is it playing?
Rachael Hip-Flores: It is TBG theater at 312 West 36th Street between 8th and 9th street.

We Love Soaps: Which is perfectly centrally located to Penn Station or Port Authority for those that will be coming to see this from out of town.  Have you found that being on ANYONE BUT ME and having 5 million viewers has propelled your career?
Rachael Hip-Flores: It has helped a lot.  It helped me get my last theater gig, a play by Erin Browne called, “Trying.” I have gotten more auditions, more callbacks. 

We Love Soaps: What kinds of feedback are you getting from viewers?
Rachael Hip-Flores: It’s been so positive.  There are times that you expect that around premieres, or the launching of a new episode.  But now our first two seasons are out and I’m still getting daily letters from people that are saying, “Thank you for you work, you are bringing a section of the population to light in a truthful way.” This outpouring of support is wonderful.

We Love Soaps: And what I have learned in this past year is that the indie soaps out there are generating a loyal fanbase, just like network soaps.  They follow you from project to project, show to show. 
Rachael Hip-Flores: They are fiercely loyal! That is wonderful.

We Love Soaps: You were in L.A. recently and went to events with other people who are breaking new ground on independent web series. What was that like?
Rachael Hip-Flores: I love the feeling of camaraderie, and the extremely strong community that the web shows have created amongst themselves.  I got to meet incredibly creative people.  I met the cast of CELL.  I ran into Craig Frank who is a wonderful actor and an incredibly sweet man, despite the fact that he plays this crazy guy on COMPULSIONS.  He has a new show out called GOOD NIGHTS QUEST.  Of course Eric Lange and Illeana Douglas from EASY TO ASSEMBLE are wonderful creative forces.  I think there is a perception that in show business people are really cutthroat and competitive in a non-charades kind of way.  And I feel extremely blessed and lucky to be in this nurturing and supportive community that has grown up around new media. 

We Love Soaps: What’s great also about the web is that you don’t have to compete.  It’s not like watching one means not watching the other.  There is plenty of time to watch any when it is convenient.  Did it feel like people were hopeful about the future of web series?
Rachael Hip-Flores: Absolutely! At the ITV event people were so excited about it.  They were quite hopeful and rightly so. 

We Love Soaps: So what’s next for you?
Rachael Hip-Flores: After Two Gentlemen Of Verona I am beginning work on narration for a wonderful LGBTQ documentary youth about homeless youth called, “One Face, Many Voices.”  I am going into the voiceover world.  And helping to bring attention to a rather large problem.  The amount of LGBTQ teenagers that are homeless is disproportionate to the people out on the street.  I’m happy to be working on that. 

We Love Soaps: Do you want to do television?
Rachael Hip-Flores: Yes, please.  I would love to do work on a soap, I’d be glad to do recurring work on something. 

We Love Soaps: And that would certainly make sense given that ANYONE BUT ME has 5 million viewers, and you deliver a loyal group viewers to whatever project you do. 
Rachael Hip-Flores: Thank you.

We Love Soaps: You mentioned to me you are sci-fi junkie.  What did you think about the LOST finally?
Rachael Hip-Flores: I loved it! I thought it was so emotionally satisfying.  I was right there the entire time, it couldn’t have ended better. 

We Love Soaps: I want to thank you for taking the time to speak with me today.  And I again want to encourage people to go to ANYONE BUT ME and donate even just a dollar.  There is so much left to discover with these characters.  Season two left us with a cliffhanger, and I still want to know about Vivian’s mother.
Rachael Hip-Flores: I do too!  Who is she? She obviously has dark hair, that’s the only thing I know about her.

We Love Soaps: So clearly there are so many stories ANYONE BUT ME has yet to tell. Together as a community we can directly make sure that happens.
Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist seeing individuals and couples in New York City at Mental Health Counseling & Marriage And Family Therapy Of New York. He is also the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve."

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