Angelica Page as Virginia in the 2008 film, Lucky Days. (Torn Page Productions)
As a kid Angelica Page purposely evaded the acting scene because of her timid ways, and that was at a time when many people pictured her in the same industry as her parents once were. But she, eventually, gave in.
Now, Page, who performs in “Edge” Feb. 27 through March 1 and “Turning Page” March 6-8 at Greenway Theatre in Los Angeles, is an acclaimed actress with many projects attached to her name within the theater, film and television spectrum, respectively.
“Edge” and “Turning Page” are solo performances.
Page is also co-starring in the independent feature film thriller You Were Never Here, along with actor/playwright Sam Shepard and Vincent Piazza of “Boardwalk Empire.” The film releases later this year.
In an exclusive interview with Living Out Loud, Page went all out in touching both personal and professional subjects, such as her beginnings as an actress, parents, life in L.A. compared to N.Y., her upcoming theatrical performances and much more.
Living Out Loud: First off, can you tell us a bit about your beginnings, and what drew you towards acting?
Angelica Page: It was kind of a surprise for me, because for the longest time it was something I avoided for many reasons, mainly because I was cripplingly shy. It made me think it wasn’t something I could pursue. On the other hand, there were a lot of people who were automatically expecting that I would pursue acting because of who my parents were and because I’m my mother’s only daughter – all which put a lot of pressure on me. It wasn’t until a bit later that I finally gave in to pursue acting, mainly because I had to know for myself what I had.
LOL: Throughout your career, would you say your parents were the people you looked up to the most in terms of acting?
AP: Yeah, they are two of the best actors I’ve seen work. I traveled with my mom when I was a little girl, so I got to see her a lot on stage and in television. She passed away when I was 23, but she was my greatest teacher. My father was also a teacher in many ways, but in terms of my acting I would say it was my mother.
LOL: As a native New Yorker, how big of a change has it been for you now living in L.A.?
AP: It’s a lot warmer…I like that. I would actually come to L.A. every year with my parents, I’ve known L.A. for many years. When I actually decided to move out here, it seemed pretty seamless. I have a lot of friends out here which made it super easy to acclimate.
LOL: You have some upcoming performances here in L.A., including “Edge” and “Turning Page” which you wrote. Tell us a bit about “Edge” and what the audience can expect from it.
AP: I came across Sylvia Plath when I was 14 and she became a great inspiration for me. At the time I wasn’t really interested in school and would play hooky a lot, but she actually got me very interested in literature and writing. I decided as I got older that I wanted to give something back to her. So I tracked down an author who wrote a biography of her that really captured her. So I asked him to write this play for me, and it took 10 years for him to actually do it. My mother did a tour of it, and they decided it was time to do a revival. They brought in a new director, and it’s an incredibly powerful piece. One of my favorite reviews was when a critic said that “Unfortunately, Angelica Torn (which was my name at the time) cannot play Sylvia Plath as anything other than who she was.” It was a back-handed compliment, but there was a lot of enjoyment in being able to capture her as who she was as a person. There was another critic in London who actually knew her, and she told me “I still don’t like you, but at least now I understand you.” People get really freaked out when I play her because it seems I really get her. The surprising thing about the play is that it’s actually funny.
LOL: How did “Turning Page” come to be?
AP: Well, there hasn’t been a documentary or book made about my mother, which is kind of shocking. I was talking to a producer in New York about wanting to do a documentary or book about her, and she suggested I write a play about her instead. And that I should play her. I walked away from that intrigued enough that I realized it was a good idea and that I should actually do it. I saw it a very challenging and scary project but it was a really good idea. That’s how I got into this book I’m writing about her. At first I had no idea how to approach writing the book. When I sat down to write the play I actually finished it in a week. It had been building up. Then, that became the template for the book.
LOL: Tell us about your preparation for both these shows, them being only a week apart.
AP: Well this June I’ll be going to New Zealand, where I’ll be doing a series of alternating shows for 2 weeks. So I’ll have days when I’ll do “Edge” in the afternoon and “Turning Page” that same evening. I haven’t done “Edge” in many years, and while “Turning Page” is fresher, it’s not as evolved. The way we’re doing is this week is actually very helpful because we’re only concentrating on “Edge.” Then the following week it’s all going to be “Turning Page.” So we’ll be able to separate it this week.
LOL: Any advice for the youth out there who might want to follow in your footsteps one day?
AP: You have to tap in to what makes you unique. What really makes an actor stand out is what makes him unique, and not letting anyone tell him otherwise. It’s all very competitive, so people will always try to knock you down. If you decide this is what you want to do, you have to commit to it.
LOL: What’s on your agenda for the coming year?
AP: There is a television show that I can’t really talk about yet, but it’s in development and most of my time is going towards that getting picked up. Also, touring with these 2 plays in Europe and other parts of the world. Also, in the middle of it all, I’ve been offered 2 parts in films, so I have to figure out what I want to do. Also I have to finish my book.
LOL: Is there a time frame in which you plan to have the book finished?
AP: I am aiming to have it done by the time I go to New Zealand in June. I’ve been working on it for a couple years now and I really want to have it done.
LOL: What do you like the most about L.A. and what do you do in your free time?
AP: It’s really important for me to relax and take it easy. L.A. lifestyle is very good for me. I’m also big on meditation. I love the weather and very happy to not be in two feet of snow right now. I’m living in Silverlake right now, which I love. I’m in Hollywood a lot because of the show, but I try to spend my time here. I love the restaurants…I just love everything about L.A.
For more information and to purchase tickets of “Edge” and “Turning Page,” visit greenwayartsalliance.org.