The place is the basis of Jonathan Tolins’ off-Broadway one man play “Buyer & Cellar.” Tolins’ story is based on his imagined scenario that Streisand could have hired an actor to pose as a worker in a mall where she is the only customer.
The actor is played by New York-based Remy Germinario in Cardinal Stage Company’s production of the show.
The play opens tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Ivy Tech Waldron Firebay.
“There have been one-man shows for centuries, but the fact that it’s about Barbra Streisand’s basement, there really hasn’t been anything like this in the modern theater scene,” Germinario said. “It’s just my cup of tea.”
Artistic director of the Cardinal Stage Company and director of the show Randy White said he knew Germinario was right for the role as soon as he saw a video clip of his acting.
“He’s got the right sensibility for the show,” White said.
Germinario’s character begins by describing Streisand’s interior decorating book “My Passion for Design,” in which she discusses her very real shopping-mall-turned basement. His character speaks directly to the audience, makes eye contact and responds to audience comments.
When a woman mentioned one of her relatives lives where his character lives, he immediately walked to her and made brief improvisational small talk before jumping back to the script.
“The thing that I really wanted was an actor who could have the right bite and acid and yet be warm and welcoming,” White said. “You get this sense that you are being told this story by a great raconteur, somebody who loves to tell stories and give you the dish.”
The single room onstage filled with Germinario’s energy, movement and multiple character voices throughout the show. At one point, he switched places onstage to simulate a conversation with Streisand in which she haggles with him on the selling price of her own possessions.
“It all runs in this froth and wonderful light comedic sensibility, but underneath there’s some deeper questions about how we exist in the world with other people and the desperate need to connect,” White said.
Germinario’s character is hired to make the mall feel as authentic as possible to Barbra, but despite her celebrity status, she hires him to keep her company.
“Ultimately the show is about human connection and what it means to be a person and take agency in your life,” Germinario said. “With the quirky elements of it all, there’s a lot of heart in this show as well.”
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The IU Auditorium, the Jacobs School of Music and MidWay Music Speaks were all awarded funds.
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