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Actress Balances Work and Family From Montville to NYC
Funda Duval Istvan likes the beauty of Montville and the vibrancy of the city.
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Funda Duval Istvan is a professional actress who has been seen in several episodes of Law and Order and Third Watch, among others
About this column: A weekly profile of one of Montville's many residents. Some you may know, some may be new, but all are distinctly Montville. Email suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Name: Funda Duval Istvan is a professional actress with twenty years in the entertainment business. “I’ve been working since I came out of college.”
- Career: The New Jersey native earned a BFA from the Rutgers conservatory program, and then headed to New York City. She started by working in classical theatre. But, before long, she found herself gravitating toward the downtown avant garde theatre scene where she had the opportunity to work with “a lot of big avant garde directors,” like Richard Foreman. “I learned a lot,” she added. “Slowly that transitioned me into playing gritty underworld dark figures on cop shows.” Istvan has been seen in several episodes of Law and Order and Third Watch, among others. She has also participated in many festivals in New York and Europe, and starred in a musical at Playwright Horizons.
- Years: Married for 6 years, Istvan and her husband moved to the Lake Valhalla section of Montville from New York City 5 years ago. “When you are planning on having kids, some people plan where they are going to live first, and we didn’t do that,” said Istvan. “When you’re pregnant, your belly just kinda points you to the suburbs. We just didn’t even think about it, and we just ended up here.” Friends told the couple about a “must see” house in Montville. “I didn’t want to move,” Istvan added. “But, once I saw the house, everything made total sense.” She and her husband have two daughters, ages 3 and 5.
- Current Activities: Today Istvan juggles her time between living in Montville and working and auditioning in New York City. “It was a little hard transitioning back into the business after kids,” noted the actress. Recently she signed with a new agent, and is actively auditioning. “I am trying to transition into something that is more mom friendly,” she added. “Doing voiceovers and things.” Currently, some of Istvan’s voiceover work is located close to Montville at Words and Music Studios in Lake Hiawatha. There she adds voice to novelty toys and Halloween toys. “I do a pretty mean witch cackle.”
- Other Activities: “I am pretty committed to my hobbies and my career,” Istvan noted. However, last year the actress performed in the movie “Turbine." Ultimately, she was asked to also work as a consulting editor on the project. “I found that really exciting,” she said. “Almost more exciting than acting, in a weird way.”
- Favorite Thing About Montville: “My favorite thing about Montville is that you get to be a country mouse and a city mouse all in the same day,” Istvan said. “I can go on auditions during the day and then hop on a bus and be here. There’s a lot of nature here. It’s really surprising that something so close to New York could be so beautiful.”
- Something You Would Change: “I could do without the power outages,” added Istvan.
- Hobbies “I play a lot of volleyball. Some people would say I am obsessed with volleyball, and my volleyball friends and community,” explained Istvan. She is also an avid karaoke performer, traveling twice a month to New York City to sing with the same group of friends she has been singing with for ten years.
- Why Theatre: Istvan spent her summers visiting relatives in Turkey. She describes her family, both in the United States and in Europe, as very expressive; hugging and kissing as part of everyday greeting, passionate about life. It’s that passion which drew her to the theatre. “Artists are a vital part of the community. Communities need the arts,” said Istvan. “I’d like to see more of it. I am finding a way to balance having children and being very productive in my life and I think that women in general owe it to themselves to try to balance everything. To try to cover all their bases, and feed themselves in every significant way. Not do any of it perfectly, but to keep trying.”
- Philosophy: Istvan says her philosophy is best summed up by a recent Stephen Hawking quote: “’The meaning of life is to seek the most value from your actions.’ Basically, not wasting time. Not frittering away time. Whether it’s for yourself, or the community, every moment should be of great value and fully lived.”
, and law and order