Seven Questions About Great Film, New Work, & Nude Scenes with The Mother of Invention Star Dan Domingues
February 13th, 2017
by Josh Ferri
Dan Domingues leaves a lasting impression as the mysterious Frankie Rey (who is either a beautiful religious soul hoping to change the world or a total scam artist who seduces an entire family) in James Lecesne's new off-Broadway play The Mother of Invention. BroadwayBox caught up with the busy actor to talk about the character, his passion for new work, and shocking friends and family.
1. What do you think of Frankie Rey? Do you think he’s a con artist or an honest, passionate soul looking to connect with others?
I think Frankie Rey is a man looking to fulfill a mission. I think he honestly believes he has been chosen to help bring some balance back to the earth—that he has a responsibility to save the planet. I never saw him as a con man but I wouldn't because I'm playing him every night and I have to find his positive fight. I see a guy saddled with a big job—bringing balance back to the world—and him having to use every tactic at his disposal, even if some of them may be questionable.
2. Frankie Rey received a sign that changed the course of his life. Do you believe in signs?
I believe in the movie Signs! Have you seen that movie? I frickin' love it. It's the one with Mel Gibson defending his family farm from an alien invasion. Great film. Pretty scary. If you can put your personal feelings about Mel Gibson as a person aside, his character's journey in that film really has resonance for me. A guy who essentially shuts down after losing someone very close to him, who ignores all the "signs" telling him that his life still has meaning and is worth fighting for. I love that. So I believe we get signs but maybe have to be taught to see them. Frankie Rey does that for people in the play. All that said, I can't really recall having a sign about something but I lost my father when I was young-ish and I sometimes hear his voice in my head guiding me—if that counts.
3. Was it daunting when you found out you’d have a nude scene in the show? Do you prepare friends and family before they come?
Ah yes, the nude thing! Well, I had done nudity in two plays before so I wasn't necessarily daunted by it. In one of those plays I felt it was warranted and necessary and in the other I felt it wasn't. Doing the latter made me feel gross so I was very concerned that the nudity in this play not be gratuitous. And I don't think it is. It's not very long (so to speak) and it was a clear sign to me that Frankie Rey truly believes what he's doing is an imperative. But don't get me wrong, I still think about it. Most of the time in a play you only have to worry about what your face and hair looks like but going the full monty, well, let's just say, you want to make sure there's some appropriate manscaping happening. I haven't been preparing people before they come—the scamp in we wants to give them a shock! But I am concerned about my Mom.
4. What do you love about performing new work as opposed to revivals?
I love performing in a new play as opposed to a revival because no one can compare your performance to anyone else's. To be completely honest, I know that every actor's dream is supposed to be to play Hamlet or Willy Loman or Stanley Kowalski, but who the hell wants that pressure! No matter what you do your always acting in the shadow of the guy who did it 50 years ago or 20 years ago or 5 years ago. It's hard enough carving out a real, breathing person on stage without the weight of someone else's work on your shoulders. I guess it depends on the revival too—the established plays I'd like to be in (work by Albee, Pinter, Stoppard, Churchill, etc.) maybe don't have that problem. But there's nothing like being in a new play—it's my preference.
5. I love the idea of your Hot Dates podcast. What’s your favorite movie that was released on or near your birthday?
Oh, I'm so glad you brought up my Hot Date podcast! Thanks so much. It's a real labor of love for me and my co-podcaster Vicky. Her and I are friends from way back. We'd get together and the conversation would always come back to the movies we loved, had just seen, were looking forward to. So we thought why not funnel that into something creative. It's very silly, we crack each other up and it's something that we really just enjoy doing. And in an uncertain career like acting, it's a creative thing that I have complete control over. We could always use more listeners though so, shameless plug, look for "Hot Date with Dan and Vicky" on iTunes and Google Play. We choose a random date in history, pick a movie that came out around that date and discuss. And if I tell you what my favorite movie that was released around my birthday is, you'll know how old I am. Very sneaky of you BroadwayBox. But what the hell, I love The Poseidon Adventure!
6. What’s the movie, play, or TV show that first inspired you to become an actor?
Well, the movie that inspired me to become an actor has to be Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. It's probably my favorite movie. And when I learned that Kubrick shot that WHOLE movie on sets, that essentially his actors got to play around on this massive replica of a real hotel, I thought, I want to do that! It seemed so cool. That hedge maze?! What I wouldn't give to have been little Danny Lloyd walking around that maze.
7. You’ve done so much regional work. Which do you wish New York audiences could have seen you in?
Of the regional plays I've done, I wish someone in New York would produce this three man Hound of the Baskervilles I did. It's written by Steven Canny and John Nicholson and it was an absolute blast to do. Multiple, quick costumes changes, different accents, just a rip-roaring farce. I was really proud of our work, and our stamina, in that production. At the end of every show the three of us were just drenched in sweat. You really felt like you had WORKED but in the best way. And audiences loved it.
Head over to off-Broadway's June Havoc Theatre before February 26 to see Dan Domingues in Abingdon Theatre Company's The Mother of Invention.