Thank you to Brad McEntire and his awesome site TheSoloPerformer.com for this opportunity to talk about my process and work!
|Photo by Charlie Ainslie|
Q: Please give us a brief bio, where you are from and how you started
Growing up in Chicago, my parents took me to a lot of theater. They had subscriptions to the Steppanwolf, the Goodman, and the Opera. I'm not sure why, but something about seeing Evelyn and the Polka King at the Steppanwolf in fourth grade just stuck with me--that show solidified my decision to be a performer. I can't remember the specifics but I do remember the feeling of watching it and knowing in my heart of hearts that I wanted to be on stage, doing what those performers were doing.
My first big play was A Midsummer Night's Dream my freshman year of high school. I continued to act and ended up studying Drama at Stanford University. In the summers I studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London and at American Repertory Theater (ART) and Moscow Art Theater School (MXRT) in Cambridge, MA. After college I completed the Classical Acting Course at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) and then moved to Seattle, which has served as the home base for my professional performing career.
Q: What event or desire brought you specifically into the world of
I scored a 9 week touring gig to Australia in February 2010 with a Seattle company called theater simple. When it came time to go home, I knew that I couldn't leave Oz without knowing that I was someday going to come back. We were touring with a cast of 7 people--a logistical and financial challenge, to say the least. I knew it was more practical to have a smaller cast and most practical to have a cast of one: one person to accommodate, feed, and transport. So I thought, "I'll write and tour my own show." So I did! (And I'm heading back to Australia in February--not to perform, but to be an audience member at the Adelaide Fringe. The money I made touring my show this summer made my trip back a reality!)
Q: Could you tell us about some of your solo work?
I'm currently working on my sophomore piece, I Think My Heart Needs Glasses. It's about love and my relationship with my vision, both physical and perceptive. It's very much in a zygote state right now...but on track to begin touring in Spring 2013.
Q: How would you describe your particular kind of solo performance?
My solo performance is based in story. I'm not a huge fan of elaborate props, costume, or set--in The Ukrainian Dentist's Daughter I don't even have water for myself on stage. I have a theory that props always want to play themselves, just like an actor who may only have one line so they do something odd with it to make it stand out. I've had too many fans drop or glasses break or hats go akilter to trust props. :)
I strive to make shows that I would personally want to see and I usually gauge a show by how much I care about the characters. If the character dies, the audience should have a reaction. If the character gets super close to getting their heart's desire and it eludes them at the last minute, I want the audience to feel that goal slipping through their own fingers.
Q: What is your favorite thing about doing this work?
Q: What inspires you to keep going and how do you keep yourself
Q: What is your approach to the development process when putting
together a new project? Do you create a lot on stage, improvising? More on paper?
Tape or video record? Hold readings? Go to a mountain top?
Q: Who are some of your influences or people that inspire/embolden
Q: How do you bridge the gap of the business side of theatre?
Q: Any advice for some aspiring artist just starting out in solo
Q: Share with us something funny that has happened to you recently.
Q: What do you see for the future of solo performance and for you
personally as an artist?
I think solo performance is going to continue to grow in popularity. Overhead costs are low, which makes it very appealing to producers. And audiences never tire of hearing a deeply personal story, which is at the heart of much solo performance. For myself I see more work in the vein of The Ukrainian Dentist's Daughter: a woman's story told frankly and openly. If I touch the hearts of audience members and remind them of the beauty and hope in all of our stories, then I consider myself successful.