Matthew Lickona 8:30 a.m., Oct. 20
He said, she said
Mark Sylwestrzak and wife Eileen Bowman just completed working on stage together in 2 Across at Vista Broadway Theatre. In Jerry Mayer's comedy, strangers meet on a BART train. Both are doing the New York Times crossword: Janet with obsessive precision (she uses a pen and lugs around dictionaries); Josh, as laid back as Janet is cinched tight, with a number two pencil and no fear of failure.
So what's it like playing such extreme opposites? And what's it like performing with your spouse?
SHE SAID. Marc and I met in performing arts school. We dated and broke up our junior year. Well, he dropped me like a hot potato. Over the phone no less. That is the end of the world for a girl! Anyway, 10 years later we were married.
HE SAID. Eileen's correct. I did drop her like a 'hot potato.' She still owes me a thank you, by the way. Things turned out fine. After all, we'll be celebrating 19 years of marriage this November. You're welcome, Eileen.
SHE SAID. Indeed. I have always been an actress. Marc gave up his dream to act to have a comfortable life (smart guy) and has a great job at UCSD Medical Center. He's been my biggest fan and supporter. Now he's living out his dream, and we have been able to work together.
HE SAID. I'm at a point where I can act again. It's not the first time I've worked with Eileen. But it's the first where our distinct styles of acting and preparing became more apparent.
SHE SAID. I will say it has been weird to have my 'stage door Johnny' work with me. He knows all the tricks I bring in a very big bag every night. We are two very different performers. Our processes are different, and it was a little challenging at times for both of us.
HE SAID. She's a 'fly by the seat of her pants' performer. I'm generally not. Or at least it's not what I'm comfortable with. I'm not big on surprises, on stage, and try to maintain a certain consistency. While I develop my character through repetition, once the show's established, I like to settle in and not stray too much from the performance itself.
SHE SAID. He's as consistent as the sun rising every morning. I wait and see what the audience gives me and go with that. The roof could cave in and Marc would still be delivering his lines. I'm the biggest ham, and he's so subtle. I love that about him.
HE SAID. For all her hamming, Eileen never strays from her character, and I truly admire that talent. I too like to take what the audience is giving, but I think it results in nuances for the character.
SHE SAID. Given our different processes, we were miscast!
HE SAID. Come to think of it, yes. Eileen's more like my character and I'm more like hers.
SHE SAID. We had a blast with the show. There is something comforting about being onstage with your life-mate. Nobody knows me better.
HE SAID. Oh, and she taught me one bad habit. Now before a show I look through the curtain.
SHE SAID. Unprofessional. But true.