Exclusive interview with actress Mona Mossayeb about her upcoming play

Actress Mona Mossayeb was raised in the Los Angeles area and was surrounded by the entertainment industry. As a teen, as many of friends entered the entertainment industry (gaining a unique insight into the world of production), she pursued an academic and professional career in city planning.  While a student, however, she was involved with numerous performing arts groups and got to travel around the United States and the world with these groups performing.  

After getting her Master’s degree, she took a position abroad to apply her studies. Upon return to the United States, the spark of creativity and a call to acting pushed Mona to study the craft.  She has studied the Meisner Technique and challenged herself further through various master classes, including the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts for a short summer program and vocal training. Mona also has assisted in the production of several short films, webseries and feature films.

Interview with Actress Mona Mossayeb

London Prestige: Tell us a little about yourself, growing up and your passions.

Mona Mossayeb: Growing up, life was about finding joy in the little things with our family.  My parents taught us about service to humanity as being a part of a daily action in life; and that set me on a path of my own natural draw to advocacy and compassion.  Surrounded by friends in the entertainment industry since childhood, I didn’t feel the draw to acting then (even though they encouraged me).  I followed a different creative path and went into architecture, which then led me to city planning.  It was only at the economic crisis of 2007 and on that I took acting classes as a distraction; which quickly became something more.

I have always had a creative streak; from childhood I wrote and painted.  I cultivated writing and painting up until I finished my university studies, and then work took over.  When the economy tanked and I have “free time” I dove back into my raw creative nature.  I started writing scripts, and still do.  I started working as a producer, using my past careers’ training as an amazing resource.   Above those, however, I find my greatest joy in acting.  I am able to advocate for the characters I embody.

London Prestige: What are you currently working on?

Mona Mossayeb: I am currently working on / in development of a one act play titled “Chemistry”.  

London Prestige: What made you take this role?

Mona Mossayeb: It’s a piece that a dear friend and I are working on.  She is an accomplished writer and actor, and having this chance to work with her is a gift.  The character is rich and deep and current; what more could I ask for? 

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London Prestige: What journey does your character go on in the course of the monologues?

Mona Mossayeb: She has a soft awakening from the sorrow she has been living in, coming to terms with her losses.

London Prestige: Tell us a little bit more about the play “Chemistry”, what is it about, who else are you working with, and who is the director? 

Mona Mossayeb: As it is still in development, much can not yet be shared, but…  the play is simple, yet profoundly complex:  It is a moment of shared time between two women exploring their friendship, (failed) relationships, love, and loss – and what to do next in life (or just the next moment). 

London Prestige: What is the most challenging role you have played and why?

Mona Mossayeb: I was cast to play a police Captain that was trying to maintain calm during a protest (caused by the wrongful death of a young black man).  It was a challenging role, finding the justification of Captain in defending her subordinates but above all supporting the community.  Bringing her justice, without making her a villain is the balance I had to find.  We don’t always agree with the behavior or politics of the characters we play, but ours is not to judge them.  Ours is to find their voice and truth and share it honestly; find empathy towards them and stand in light for them. 

The conditions of the shoot were extraordinary; the writer was amazing and the director spot on.  The crew and fellow cast were marvels to work with.  The film – an independent short – ended up winning several awards.  It was an honor to be a part of that team; but it was hard.

PhotoCreditDonreWalker
Photo Credit DonreWalker

London Prestige: And the most fun one?

Mona Mossayeb: They’ve all be wonderful – both those in front of the camera and behind.  Working on JUST ADD MAGIC was one of my favorites, as it is a show my niece and nephew watch, and I got to work professional young actors and it was a treat seeing their creative process.

London Prestige: Describe your biggest accomplishment to date?

Mona Mossayeb: Oh – it’s always about the next one though.  I’m really excited about the play…

London Prestige: What training / education do you have? How has your training prepared you for you acting career?

Mona Mossayeb: I started at a two year Meisner Studio, then found my way to LAMDA.  After LAMDA my team encouraged me to join Warner Laughlin and the Anthony Meindl Actors Workshop (which has become a sort of home for playing and honing my craft).  I have also done vocal training with Rick Zeiff.  Training is everything.  Some may be blessed with natural talent, but even they improve with training.  One does not just stop – it is a practice.  These are muscles that must be worked out and honed.  I feel very fortunate for the rooms have found myself in, and the coaches that have trained me and continue on in my life as good friends. 

PhotoCreditLayliSamamiAazami-3
Photo Credit Layli Samimi Aazami

London Prestige: Is there any academy or professional in the field that you enjoyed working with that you would like to recommend in your city?

Mona Mossayeb: The Anthony Meindl Actors Workshop is a studio I highly recommend.  They have studios in Los Angeles (where I am), New York, Toronto, London, Sydney and Cape Town.  The founder, Tony, travels to all of the studios and teaches the Master Level classes.  He connects with his studios, concerned about the whole person and what they may freely give to the craft.    

London Prestige: Who is your favorite director to work with and why?

Mona Mossayeb: Joseph Ruggeri – for the web-series MISPELLED.  Mostly I was on set as a favor to a dear friend who wrote the serious, but I was very impressed with his work and vision.  He was focused, kind and deliberate.  

London Prestige: Have you ever considered branching out into directing or screenwriting?

Mona Mossayeb: Yes.  I have had the honor to do both and hope to continue with both.  It is such a different form of expression; just as artistic, but with different focus.  

London Prestige: Where have you played a lead role? What was the character about?

Mona Mossayeb: I’ve had the fortune to be lead on a few independent short films…  Sadly, most did not make it to the festival circuit.

One was about a woman whose memory would reset everyday, and her husband constantly searching for her.  She was deep, but a challenge – as we use memory to ground us and then propel us.

Another was about a tiger mother trying to steer her son away from art, whilst secretly loving that he would defy her. 

PhotoCreditLayliSamamiAazami-1
Photo Credit Layli Samimi Aazami

London Prestige: Do you have any theatrical experience? What plays have you performed?

Mona Mossayeb: To date, no.  For this reason, I am excited about this upcoming play. 

London Prestige: If you weren’t acting what would you be doing?

Mona Mossayeb: I’d be a city planning or a policy developer, which is not surprising.  Acting is a form of advocacy, and my passion is to give voice to those that lack representation.

London Prestige: What have you seen lately that’s inspired you?

Mona Mossayeb: The Magicians, on SYFY.  The caliber of acting is inspiring.  

London Prestige: What television shows or show would you love most to be on?

Mona Mossayeb: Oh – The Magicians would be a dream!  That crew and cast is amazing; every detail is spun beautifully.  BlindSpot, SuperNatural, Blacklist would be some network dramas that would be amazing and quite a joy.  These are mostly genre shows – but the drama, subtle humor and depth of characters are life to an actor and creative sort. 

London Prestige: What’s your goal for this year?

Mona Mossayeb: To meet with some of my favorite casting directors, get to know them and get my craft to a level where I may work with them.  

London Prestige: What is your advice for aspiring actors?

Mona Mossayeb: Don’t give up.  If this is what you want to do, don’t give up.  Work, get educated, but don’t give up.  Plan, prepare, but don’t give up.  Show up to the auditions prepared; show up on set professionally, ready to go; be kind to all – hustle.  Don’t give up.

PhotoCreditLayliSamamiAazami-4
Photo Credit Layli Samimi Aazami

 

*Cover Photo Credit OG Photography

 

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