One of the most intriguing aspects of Teatro ZinZanni is arguably its aerial artists – masters of the air, they hang from silk drapes or from a trapeze like flying ballet dancers. With grace, majesty and a certain solemnity, they bring gasps from the audience, defying gravity with thrilling verve and risk.
And then there’s Mitzi.
Like a giggling creature from Dr. Suess, she hangs from the chandelier in ZinZanni’s newest production, Hail Caesar. Her husband, Dick, stands below – trying to help her “fix” the chandelier. What ensues is a hilarious and awkward Lucy-and-Ricky-type act where Mitzi accidentally breaks things, and ends up showing a little more frilly pantaloon than intended.
Played by real-life couple Wayne Doba (actor, singer and tap dancer) and Andrea Conway-Doba (comedic actress, former Cirque du Soleil gymnast and dancer), the couple bring humor and old vaudeville charm with their dancing, singing and skits. The Bellevue Reporter sat down with the pair to learn more about their endless journey through comic exploration and love.
As a former gymnast on the National Canadian team, how were you able to cultivate your comedic and dance skills?
Andrea: Growing up, I always dreamed of becoming an actress. Fortunately, I had amazing coaches who, at times, let me indulge playing comic sketches whenever there were demonstrations open for the parents and public to attend. Making a pretty long story short, the gymnastics led to Cirque du Soleil, which led to Teatro ZinZanni with many comic mentors and workshops in between.
Wayne, when you first met, what first attracted you to Andrea?
Wayne: Her baggy sweat pants. But really, it was her love and devotion to being a performer. She is one of the most dedicated actors I have ever met. She started at age 7 as a gymnast and has been serious as long as I have about her love of the stage! I found, and still find that very attractive.
Tell me about your touring show and how you adapted that to work for “Hail Caesar”?
Wayne: “Top Hats and Tales,” our 90-minute touring show, is the story of Dik and Mitzi’s showbiz relationship that spans more than 50 years and is played mostly on a proscenium stage. For this particular show, we decided to play our characters 10 years into their marriage, which brings on specific comedy, a lot of husband wife banter and jokes. We’ve also added a brand-new sand dance that we have not done anywhere before. It is inspired from and old Wilson and Keppel routine. (A popular British music-hall act in the middle decades of the 20th century.)
What’s the most fun thing about being onstage with your spouse?
Andrea: The best part about being on stage together is that we work together. We get to travel and be with each other all the time. We feel so lucky to be earning our living doing something we love with the person we love.