BEHIND the CURTAINS of ‘Expecting to Fly’ with Justin Mortelliti

by on November 13th, 2010
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Justin Mortelliti said having a background in gymnastics has been helpful with the energetic demands of his character in The Elephant Space Theater’s world premiere production of Expecting to Fly.

Written by Michael Hyman, Expecting to Fly is a dark, sometimes humorous, journey through the young minds and memories of Jared (Mortelliti) and his former lover, Sean (played by Casey Kringlen). The two men look back on their time together trying to find what was lost and come to terms with their separation. It’s a film that speaks to all audiences and can mean many different things to people.

Mortelliti said his character has high-energy and makes an impressive entrance at the start of the play. “The audience will get to see a lot of my character’s personality from the very beginning,” he said.

Hyman used artful complexities to create both characters in the two-man play, and that intrigue should allow the audience to be active participants in defining for them what is happening on stage.

“It’s meant to be abstract,” Mortelliti said during a break from rehearsals. “The audience gets to decide what’s going on in my head.”

A play that requires so much raw emotion from its actors also demanded careful casting and great direction.

“Working with (director Kiff Scholl) has just been the best experience,” Mortelliti said. “He gives us so much and has been so encouraging. We’ve gotten to be creative and try new things just to see how they work.”

Mortelliti plays opposite actor Casey Kringlen – a combination that has worked exceptionally well from the early table read rehearsals where it was immediately evident that there was great chemistry and trust.

“It helps to have a great guy to work with,” he said. “I feel really grounded with him…he’s easy to just open up and work with complete trust.

“Casey spoke in a (theatrical) language that I understood…he’s well-learned, well-studied…and I trust him to be vulnerable.”

Justin said Expecting to Fly is a great original production that expresses vulnerabilities at many different levels.

“It’s so poetic and abstract…it’s really just a love story about letting go and experiencing loss.

“One of my lines from the play is so true about (life),” Mortelliti said. “I say over and over ‘You don’t understand me’ and many people will relate to that in their lives…We all strive for understanding.”

Expecting to Fly has preview performances beginning Jan 21. Opening night is Jan. 28 at 8 p.m. and will play through March 4. For tickets, visit www.plays411/fly or call (323) 960-5772.

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