Ivana Black & keith Arthur Interviews by Jen Bush
Ivana Black plays Mama in Eternal Flamer: The Ballad of Jessie Blade. Ivana Black is drag performer who is anything but a drag. She’s a versatile performer who won’t just take any project that comes her way. “I’m an access model and drag entertainer.
I’m selective with my projects.” Ivana is definitely ok with opportunities that go outside of the box. “I love projects that challenge me and its audience. I create to move and to be moved.” There is no doubt that the audience will be moved by Ivana’s portrayal of Mama.
ETERNAL FLAMER written by Tommy Jamerson, James Tison and Josh Julian; directed by Amy Marie Seidel and produced by Gene Fischer will have its premiere at the Fresh Fruit “Return to Live Theatre” Festival of plays at The WILD PROJECT 195 East 3rd Street, NYC. It’s run is THREE DAYS ONLY
Wednesday May 4 @ 6 pm; Saturday May 7 @ 8:30 pm; Sunday May 8 @ 3:15 pm;
Keith Arthur plays the lead role of Billie Panache in Eternal Flamer: The Ballad of Jessie Blade. Keith Arthur enjoys tickling people’s funny bones. He has a lighthearted approach to performing.
“I’m an actor / performer who likes to make people laugh. Laugh at me or with me!” He’s also light on his feet. “Oh and I like to dance.” He’s sure to bring a lot of “panache” to his role in this production.
Join the wild ride in this campy comedy tributing the neon-nightlife of the over-the-top 80s. Eternal Flamer centers on pretty-boy Jessie Blade who escaped-er-leaves his small Minnesota home for the bright lights of the city that never sleeps with the same person (twice) only to get mixed-up in a labyrinth of plot twists, drag queens, sex, drugs, and open dance calls.
It was lovely to chat with Ivana about her fascinating career and her wonderful contributions to this role. I had just as much delight with Keith Arthur learning about him!
What drew you to this project?
Ivana: This project was special to my friend Gene Fischer and through him I realized the beauty of this project. To be honest some of these characters are from my past…lol
Keith: I love campy material. Anything overly dramatic,theatrically, and funny is my jam.
What is your creative process?
Ivana: My process is about the character and what they are trying to say. I read it slow and deliberately. Then I start to memorize. I try to then read it as if they’re reading their own biography.
Keith: I like to be organic and go with my gut. I love riffing, ad-libbing and improvising during a rehearsal process.
Do you find a sense of added responsibility when dealing with plays that tackle serious, mature, or timely subject matter?
Ivana: Yes I do because I want to entertain, but I also want to be true to others experiences and to the work. I don’t ever want to do harm.
Keith: Yes, you want to respect everyone’s personal experiences.
What’s so good about off off Broadway/indie theater?
Ivana: Unfortunately for Broadway, I find this arena more inclusive and open to molding new entertainers.
Keith: A chance to play and challenge yourself.
It’s obvious the world is steadily reopening. What do you feel is different now than before the pandemic? Another thought: what should be different now than before pandemic?
Ivana: I think that after the pandemic people are more intentional about going out. I feel that now people will try to explore new things not just “main stream” “sanitized” artistic representation and expressions.
Keith: The cost of houses
What’s next for you?
Ivana: I’m constantly auditioning and looking for a manager. I just want to create as long as it does no harm and brings people out of their box.
Keith: I’ll be performing in drag on May 27th at City Winery and backpacking through Europe in June