As an actor on the South Florida theater scene, Antonio Amadeo has played a wisecracking Afghan-American cabdriver, a revolutionary in late-'60s Czechoslovakia, a captured writer in a totalitarian police state, and a barkeep caught in a web of 9/11 conspiracy theories -- to say nothing of his award-nominated performance as the Elephant Man.
Although he's delivered unhinged comedy and flustered innocence to stages from Coral Gables to West Palm Beach, he is his own worst critic. Behind the curtain, Amadeo is an insecure perfectionist pushing himself to theatrical places he hasn't gone before. Thus, after some 15 years of consideration, he has finally written his first dramatic work, A Man Puts on a Play, which opens November 2 at the Naked Stage, the Miami company he formed with his wife Katie in 2006. And he's terrified about it.
"[Playwriting] has always been an incredible fear of mine," he says. "It's the fear of failure, of putting something out there and not having any idea how people will respond to it... It's still new and fresh to me, and scary."
Amadeo is not only producing but also set-designing, directing, and acting the lead role in the piece. He even designed the playbill graphics. Set in a cluttered storage unit above the main character's garage -- and written in just three weeks before the start of rehearsals -- A Man Puts on a Play is about a theater professional's attempt to balance work and family.
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It's a familiar dilemma. Amadeo recently turned 40, and he and Katie (also an actor) have two children -- Lara, who is 8, and Max, who was born in December 2011. This nuclear family of attractive thespians is, on the surface, the very picture of work/life stability. Behind the scenes, it's another story. During the Naked Stage's production of The Turn of the Screw this past summer, Katie would care for Max backstage until five minutes before the curtain of a show in which she was acting the lead. Antonio says they "barely made it through" that production.
"If you're an artist and you're home with the kids, you get to a point where you really want to be back onstage," Katie says. And then when you're doing a show, all you can think about is that you want to be home with the kids. You feel guilty either way."
Continue reading The Hectic Lives of Antonio and Katie Amadeo.