How did you find out you were joining the Diane and Hal Brierley Resident Acting Company? What are you most excited about?
I found out during a meeting with Kevin and Sarahbeth. We touch base quarterly about the ongoing relationship with SMU and DTC and at the end of the meeting, they shared the news and asked if I would be interested in joining the company. I think I’m most excited about the opportunity to work with an ensemble of actors, the opportunity to create artistic relationships that also beyond a single show.
What show or role are you most excited about in next season?
Frankly, I’m most excited about Max in The Sound of Music. I’ve loved this musical since I was a child and especially loved Max and the Countess. Playing a part that doesn’t come in until the second act and still has two songs is my idea of a good time.
What’s the project you’ve enjoyed working on most at the Dallas Theater Center?
I loved working on Twelfth Night last year. It’s pure pleasure to go onstage every night and get paid for being utterly ridiculous. It was also such a blast to share so much stage time with Liz Mikel – I couldn’t ask for a better partner in crime.
What role has meant the most to you as an actor and why?
I don’t know that I really look at roles like this – I’ve always thought of myself as a journeyman – I do the thing in front of me and then let it go when it’s over. I don’t get overly attached or sentimental to any one role – I’m just glad to have the work!
Is there a role you’ve always dreamed of playing?
Miss Hannigan in Annie.
What has been your favorite play to direct and why?
The Flick – it’s a gorgeous, delicate, emotionally rich play. I had the chance to work with Alex Organ (a BRAC member) and two other terrific actors and was so proud of what we created.
How does it feel to see a play you wrote produced?
Surprising… weird… unexpected. I say, and believe, that I write with an idea that no one will ever be interested in what I’m putting down on paper. So when something does get done – and gets done so beautifully like The Necessities or What We Were, then it’s a rare gift. And mostly when I’m watching I forget that I wrote the thing…
You’ve tackled some tough subjects as an artist – do you seek out challenges or does the work find you, so to speak?
Maybe it finds me? I don’t seek out certain subjects… when I write I start from what’s of interest to me at the moment. For example, I’m just starting a play that is about living with chronic illness, but because of the moment, also about illness in a larger sense, about gaslighting, about… on and on… and once it’s finished it might not be about any of those things. And as an actor, I guess once people see you are willing and able to go to some dark places, they’re more likely to ask you to do that again.
Teacher, actor, playwright, director – how did you build up such a varied resume? Is there another aspect of theater you’d like to explore that you haven’t yet?
By necessity! From the beginning I wanted to be a teacher first, and everything else grew out of that… I acted so that I would have practical experience to share with my students, I directed because at first it was a requirement of teaching at a university level, I wrote to create a space that was just mine… and because I’m curious, once I’m asked to do something, I try and educate myself as much as possible. Whether that translates to being “good” at a certain thing I don’t know… but each of the things you mention is an art in and of itself and deserves the respect of a kind of rigorous engagement.
You’ve worked on stages from Texas to New York. What’s the biggest challenge when going on a new stage for the first time?
Giving yourself the permission to play and create with as little judgement as possible. I’m a deeply introverted person – and I don’t socialize easily, so walking into a room full of unknowns and letting loose is always a challenge.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you have to shelter-in-place?
I’ve been writing a lot – and taking classes. One thing that’s come out of this is access to people who would normally not be accessible – so I’ve been studying poetry with some really amazing people.
Do you have any advice for people looking to get into theater (acting, directing, writing, etc.)?
Cultivate a deep curiosity in the work. Commit to training yourself for the long haul, not just for today. Read everything. Learn how to take care of yourself mentally and physically.
Patron Magazine: How to be Fabulous