Posts Tagged ‘“Tales From The Tunnel”’

Photo Credit: Raj Sarma

A two-year recipient of the Fezana Performing Arts Award, Farah Bala is another performer on the rise! She just completed a triumphant run in “Tales From The Tunnel,” playing multiple characters and nationalities to perfection (Farah was captivating as she embodied each character she was playing). Her one woman show “To The Death of My Own Family,” has toured both stateside and internationally. Her other theatre credits include “Macbeth,” “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” “167 Tongues,” “Letters to Baghdad,” and “Fear Up.” On television and in film, Farah has lit up the screen in “Entre Nos,” “The War Within,” (Independent Spirit Award Nominee), “Karma, Confessions and Holi,” and has been seen in a number of TV Series on the South Asian Channel, HUM TV.

When not performing, Farah can be found bringing her expertise and experience to the classroom. Over the past 10 years Farah has designed, developed, and facilitated workshops in the NYC Public schools through various arts organizations, specializing in programs such as Drama Therapy, Violence Prevention, Literacy and Playwrighting, and most recently, bringing Shakespeare into the classroom!

Up next, Farah will be starring in “Around The World In 80 Days” directed by Aaron Posner at the Delaware Theatre Company in Wilmington, Delaware from December 1-19. For much more on Farah be sure to visit http://www.farahbala.com.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? That would be my brother. I grew up watching him star in his annual school plays in Bombay and remember looking at the mirror the next day imagining I was on that stage! My mother has this great story of when I was a kid and we would watch movies or TV shows at home, she says it was always more entertaining watching me coz I would be so involved emotionally that my facial expressions were more interesting than what was happening on screen.

2. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Oh gosh, where do I start? Its hard to pick just one. I’d love to work with Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi, two amazingly talented Indian actors who I grew up watching on stage and on screen. And I’d probably freeze and become completely immobile, but it would still be worth doing something with Meryl Streep.

3. Do you have any rituals that you must perform before a show? Hmm, I don’t know if its a ritual, but I do like some quiet time to run through the show in my head. It also helps to do some light stretching and a good vocal warm up. How do you decompress after a show? After a show it really depends . . . During the run of ‘Tales . . .’ I noticed I was always starving after every show, so a big meal was essential! Sometimes a drink with the cast and friends is the perfect end, and then there are times when all I want to do is go home and read or watch TV.

4. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about? Put an American, an Indian, and a British person in front of me and I will have a conversation with them and switch accents according to who I’m talking to. Its crazy and most often I’m not even conscious of it. People point it out to me. Carla Corvo, who is also in Tales From The Tunnel says my accent is a rainbow!

5. Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts? What do you order? Neither. I’ll be at the cute corner coffee shop that has the most delicious cupcakes! I don’t drink caffeine but my sweet tooth is TROUBLE!

6. Favorite way to stay in shape? In my ideal world, the best way would be to dance the nights away to my favorite tunes. In the real world I enjoy yoga, spinning and what I call ‘The Laine Workouts’ – Laine D’Souza is a dear friend and also the best trainer EVER.

7. Favorite skin care product? Philosophy has some divine body emulsions!

8. Favorite kind of shoes? The kind that are 3 inches or higher! Farah in a shoe store is like a kid in a candy store!

9. Favorite website? I absolutely love www.radioparadise.com. Its an online radio site with a live DJ and awesome mixes all day long.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Wonder Woman!


11. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I would love to be in the same room as some of the kids I’ve taught over the years, and see if the miniscule time we spent in their lives exposing them to the arts and the theater, has had an impact on who they are today, and has shaped what they will become.

12. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? There have been many, but as an artist, this one resonates with me the most – “Go after your dream, but don’t forget to live life to the fullest and in the present moment.”

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“Tales From The Tunnel” IS BACK! I was fortunate enough to attend the official opening night show and after-party on Sunday, July 25, 2010. A smash hit at last year’s Fringe Festival, “Tales From The Tunnel” is now enjoying its official Off-Broadway run and the show is just as enjoyable, if not more!

Written and directed by Troy Diana and James Valletti, “Tales From The Tunnel” is a fresh, new, and entertaining show about everyday people’s lives riding the subway. Compiled from hundreds of interviews with real subway riders, just like you and me, “Tales From The Tunnel” is relatable and while a particular story being shared may not be your own experience, it’s the experience of someone you know which makes you able to identify with it. The cast, compiled of fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Wilson Jermaine Heredia, along with Brandon Jones, Vayu O’Donnell, Geri Brown, Sam Rosenberg, Maria Silverman, Carla Corvo, and Farah Bala, should be applauded for how well they work together and play off of each other.

Some of the more humorous stories are:

  • The various stories from the subway station booth conductor who tells her tales of late night life station activity, like how she always has an $20 on her for the “Saturday Night Girl” who comes in begging to be let through because she has no money from the fight she just had with her boyfriend
  • A woman is sitting on the subway on a really hot summer day in a dress, the lights go out, and she feels something licking her legs and as she’s waiting for the lights to come back on she’s imaging it’s some crazy guy getting off, but to her delight, it’s a seeing eye dog.

Some of the more touching stories are:

  • Hearing about the guy who got injured on the job, was out of work, lost his girlfriend, and became homeless because he couldn’t work and was living in the tunnels, but still had his spirit of knowing that he would be getting back on his feet
  • The story of a woman who’s life was saved went to work via subway on 9/11, but when the subway pulled into the stop underneath the World Trade Center, the passengers on the platform told everyone to stay on the train and the subway backed out of the station and transported everyone to Times Square
  • Recounting a subway ride on September 11, 2006, 5 years after the World Trade Center attack and having the subway conductor remind riders of what they would have seen if they rode the subway 5 years earlier on September 11, 2001.
  • The story of a gay son at the Gay Pride Parade and seeing a mom on the subway with a huge sign “I Love My Gay Son” and how it resonated with him because he lost him mom some years before, but he felt as though his mom was there with him when this woman looked over
  • A subway ride that involved a homeless man coming on the subway and saying how “it’s so cold, it’s so cold, it’s so cold” and one compassionate rider giving the homeless man his coat.

From humorous to touching, everyone should come hear the “Tales From The Tunnel” at 45 Bleecker Street Theatre. Showtimes are Saturdays at 4pm and Sundays at 7pm. For tickets, click here!

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Best known for his Tony Award Winning performance as the original “Angel” in Broadway’s “Rent” and his Olivier Nomination in the London production, Wilson Jermaine Heredia is an actor worth watching! Wilson has spent most of his time after “Rent” in film and television. His film credits include “Went to Coney Island on a Mission from God…Be Back by Five,” “Flawless,” “Rent,” “Nailed,” “Johnny Was,” “Descent,” and “iMurders.” His current film projects include “Three Chris’s,” “I Am Bad,” and “The Girl from the Naked Eye” (post-production). On television, Wilson has guest starred on such hit shows as “Law & Order: SVU,” “Medium,” and “Without A Trace.” Most recently Wilson participated in “Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays,” an evening of short plays benefiting The Human Rights Campaign, Marriage Equality New York and New York Theatre Workshop. Currently, Wilson can be seen in the Off-Broadway production of “Tales From The Tunnel,” a fresh new show recounting the true humorous and heartbreaking stories of over 150 subway riders just like you. “Tales From The Tunnel” plays Saturdays at 4pm and Sundays at 7pm at 45 Bleecker Street Theatre. For tickets, click here!

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? My parents did, inadvertently. Because they were immigrants, they reinforced in me what they considered practical and reliable, i.e. study hard, become a doctor and, “all is not well in the world but at least you’re a doctor.”  Their love for the arts betrayed them though. My father would play guitar to the latest records at that time (Iron Butterfly) and I would dance and marvel at how he was able to manipulate music that way. Mom would sing around the house to songs like she wrote them. At get-togethers they would be the center of attention with their salsa dancing; and again I was in awe of how they accented every sound with their bodies as if though they were the ones conducting the music through their whims. I was in my senior year of a vocational high school, for medical assisting, when I broke the news to them that as much as I loved medicine, the arts yelled louder. My dad said, ” If you’re going to do it, go all the way”. It sounds campy but I swear it’s true. He said it in English with a thick, thick Dominican accent. How can you forget that? There were a lot of people that influenced me along the way like Baryshnikov and Hines in WHITE NIGHTS, Bogaloo shrimp and Shabba-Doo in BREAKIN’, from Chopin to Cory Glover in Living Colour, Danny Kaye, the Stooges, Da Vinci to Jack Kirby, my childhood friend Noel and so on but the inspiration came from my parents because they gave me an all or nothing attitude about it.

2. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? Hmmm. I’m not dead yet so we’ll all just have to wait 😉 My voice is still growing.

3. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? There are so many. Saying one right now is just like the weather.

4. Do you have any rituals that you do before a show? How do you decompress after a show? I like to jump up and down and breath heavily as if though I’m going into a prize fight and then taking that last breath before I go on. That last containing breath is all I need.  It just feels good. Decompressing requires silence for me. A good meal and an ear to allow me to vomit my impromptu living journal entry to; ending with a welcoming bed,…and I’m all good.

5. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? I’m clairvoyant. Aside from that, I’m an open book. 😉

6. Favorite way to spend your day off? I’m a home body. When you commit to any project you temporarily suspend the normalcy of everyday life for months or years at a time so I like the rituals of keeping house on my days off e.i., cooking meals for company, cleaning ( ‘Cause no one can clean your house better than you!), Reading, composing, watching bad television and gaming on my PS3 when I block the time; because you know how long that can take!

7. Favorite way to stay in shape? Dancing  at home in front of a mirror. If I had the space to have wall to wall mirrors, I would be dancing all day. I like doing the same things my parents did with music; make it their own. But my favorite is long distance running in the morning. There is nothing that can wake your body up like that. For me there’s no other time that I feel truly alive and connected to my body except for dancing and running. I don’t see it as keeping me fit. I see it as keeping my body working the way that I want it to.

8. Boxers or Briefs? I can guarantee that I’m always naked under my clothes.

9. Favorite website? I like browsing through bargain sites.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? You’re talking to a comic connoisseur, so you have to be more specific.  Superman and Wonder Woman don’t translate for this day anyway aside from antiquated thoughts of what a Super Hero is. The fashion doesn’t  translate either. How’s Wonder Woman; born of earth and gifted the powers of the Greek gods in modern day even bother to pop up to save the day in a swim suit?! And Why does Superman, still, in this day and age wear his underwear over his unitard? Is that what you asked or was it something else? I can go on….trust me. I’m sorta like Sheldon, Big Ban Theory about it.


11. Favorite quote? “If nothing lasts forever, then I guess I better, love you forever, for now.” — Harry Connick Jr.

12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I think I’ve been here a couple of times so I like it when my dreams are about me.

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Congratulations go out to Lorin on winning this contest! Tune in next week for “Win It Wednesday” because you never know, the winner just might be you! This contest is now over. I have submitted all entries to the producers and as soon as they notify me of who the winner is, it will be announced here on “Adaumbelle’s Quest.” Stay tuned…This week’s “Win It Wednesday” is being sponsored by the new Off-Broadway show “Tales From The Tunnel” starring Wilson Jermaine Heredia, the original “Angel” in Broadway’s “Rent.” “Tales From The Tunnel” highlights six actors playing nearly 100 characters in a series of humorous, heartbreaking, and insightful accounts of true New York City Subway experiences, woven together into an entertaining ride. Come see the show that brings your experiences traveling through the veins of NYC to life! It’s a trip you won’t forget!

For this week’s contest, I am asking you, my wonderful and faithful readers, to submit your own “Tale From The Tunnel.” What has happened to you while riding the subway…You have until 5pm today, to submit your answers! I will then forward all answers onto the producers and one reader, at random, will be picked by the producers of the show to have their story published on the show’s website and win 2 tickets to the show! As soon as a winner is picked, I will announce it here, on “Adaumbelle’s Quest!” Good luck…

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After a hugely successful run this summer at the New York International Fringe Festival, “Tales From The Tunnel” is making a triumphant return to the Bleecker Street Theatre starting July 10 starring Tony Award Winner & upcoming “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Wilson Jermaine Heredia (the original “Angel” from “Rent” on Broadway). This identifiable, humorous, and touching show tells a multitude of stories from riders of the subway. I saw this show at the Fringe Festival am so excited to see it again! (click here for my review of it’s run at the Fringe) No matter what mode of transportation you take, “Tales From The Tunnel” is a show to treat yourself and the ones you ride with to! Performance times are Saturdays at 4pm and Sundays at 7pm.

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