She played in Nicholas Mariani‘s Dollar Baby The Man In The Black Suit as Edith Berringer.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Reb Fleming: I am the Artistic Director of PYG Malion Theatre Company which produces three shows a year at the Rose Wagner Center for Performing Arts in Salt Lake City, Utah. PYGmalion’s mission statement includes our intent to “produce theatre from a decidedly feminine point of view.” Past productions include: The Sex Habits of American Women, Fat Pig, Cakewalk, Frozen, The Food Chain, The Batting Cage, Knowing, Cairo, Living Out and opening this week, Sordid Lives. I direct some of the shows, act in some of the shows, and costume design most of them. I also teach Acting I, Acting II, and Voice and Speech for the Actor at Salt Lake Community College.
SKSM: How did you become involved for The Man in the Black Suit?
Reb Fleming: To be perfectly honest, I cannot remember how I first came to be involved with The Man in the Black Suit.
SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?
Reb Fleming: The role was not written for me and I know I auditioned for it … but the details escape me! I do
remember the first meeting of the cast took place at a lovely Italian restaurant where Mr. Mariani treated us all to dinner.
SKSM: You worked with Nicholas Mariani on this film, how was that?
Reb Fleming: Working with Nick Mariani was a pleasure. His vision for the film was clear and well defined. His pre-production work was efficient and disciplined. The location was beautiful and we all had an enjoyable time together. Nick’s presence as a director was calm and assuring. He made all of the actors feel at ease, which is, of course, the best environment for any artist to work. Nick has a good sense of humor and a great generosity of character.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Reb Fleming: From my point of view, literally, the funniest incident occurring during the filming of The Man In The Black Suit took place in the scene where Edith Berringer is stung by a bee and falls to the kitchen floor. The shot calls for the devoted family dog to come into the kitchen and lick her face as she lies dead on the floor. Try though we might, neither the dog’s trainer nor any of the crew could coax that dog to come up to me stretched out on the floor. I could hardly call him close since I was supposed to be dead! If memory serves me correctly, we finally smeared a dab of peanutbutter on the side of my face closest to the floor in hopes of drawing his attention that way! Oh the things we do for ART!
SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?
Reb Fleming: I have not heard from Nick Mariani in a long time. I remain in close contact with Geoff Hansen, who played
my husband, Mr. Berringer. Geoff and I have been friends and colleagues for years.
SKSM: What did you do after The Man in the Black Suit?
Reb Fleming: After The Man In The Black Suit I have continued acting both in film and theatre. It was my great privilege this year to appear in the role of Lear in KING LEAR. Audiences were somewhat skeptical at first approaching the evening with a female Lear, but the response was very favorable and it was an amazing experience for me.
SKSM: A theme in the movie is the fear of death… what do you fear?
Reb Fleming: Yes, fear of death was a theme in the movie The Man In The Black Suit. I do not fear death. I love every moment of being alive and to the best of my ability stay present in the moment which does not leave me time to fear death. The only absolute fear or phobia I do have is rodents! I would rather meet a 6’8″ masked man in an alley than a mouse in my basement!
SKSM: Are you (or where you) a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Reb Fleming: I think Stephen King is a master storyteller! My favorite of his work: Bag of Bones, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, Hearts In Atlantis.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything else you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Reb Fleming: Best of luck to you in all your ventures, Mr. Lautenslager.