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Actor thinks ‘HooDoo’ will take Chicago by storm

Toni Lynice FountaOak Park is appearing Collective Theatre's 'HooDoo Love.'

Toni Lynice Fountain of Oak Park is appearing in Collective Theatre's "HooDoo Love."

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Oak Park actor Toni Lynice Fountain thoroughly researches every role she accepts. Fountain wasn’t surprised that her preparation for the part of Candy Lady in the Collective Theatre’s “HooDoo Love” caught the attention of staff at her local library. Guess they wondered what she was planning to do with a stack of books on Voodoo.

We chatted with Fountain about the play and her role as a woman who knows what to do with Voodoo.

Question: Why did you decide to audition for “HooDoo Love?”

Toni Lynice Fountain: They actually contacted me but I still had to go in and audition. They sent me the script and I read it before I went in for my audition. I was so excited when I saw the script.

Q: What excited you about it?

TF: It’s a wonderful story. It kept me on edge wanting to know what’s going to happen next. There were surprises in it — some of the hurt, the pain. It was amazing how it all wound up together at the end. I couldn’t wait to be a part of this.

Q: How would you describe the Candy Lady?

TF: She’s an older woman. She’s the person who holds things together, like a mama figure almost. She’s sexy, she’s sassy, she’s wise. She may not be very intelligent as far as being able to read but she’s very intelligent and wise in life.

Q: What is her relationship to Toulou, the young woman who came to Memphis from Mississippi, hoping to become a blues singer?

TF: Toulou is a neighbor of hers but it’s almost like they’ve developed a mother-daughter relationship. She loves Toulou and wants the best for her.

Q: The play is set in 1930’s Memphis. What did you learn about that time and place that you didn’t know before?

TF: I’ve done plays of that period before. I did “Train is Comin’” here in Oak Park [with Open Door Repertory Company]. Voodoo I knew nothing about. That was most of my research.

Q: The play is being directed by Nelsan Ellis, who stars as Lafayette Reynolds in “True Blood.” Have you been watching that show?

TF: I don’t watch much TV because I’m really busy. I work during the day as a clerk at the Domestic Violence Courthouse for the Circuit Court of Cook County and I’ve been doing shows back-to-back-to-back since ‘07. About a year and a half ago, I got season one from the library. Lafayette was my favorite character. I had no idea that I would ever meet or work for that guy.

Q: There’s magic in the play. What’s going to make this production magical?

TF: Our director Nelsan is brilliant. He is so wise in what he envisions — and how he gets us to see it. I bet this show will take Chicago by storm.~.



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