Hello Tara! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and feelings about this play with us. First, is this your first experience with Class 6 Theatre?
This is my first project with Class 6. I first learned about the theater through the Worst Play Competition last year and thought it was really a great idea, so I've been excited to collaborate.
What about this project excites you?
This play has been a welcome and hilarious challenge. It's not every day you get asked to play three characters in one! It's been fascinating trying out different personas and motivations for each one and teasing out their commonalities and differences. Collaborating with David and the rest of the cast and crew has informed and changed my first impressions of each character, but I really have to hand it to our costume designer Victoria. She had such great ideas and brought them to life so quickly that it really helped shape the direction I was going in. Sometimes it can seem simple enough to slap a moustache or an accent on the lines and call it a day, but even the smallest charaters have depth and motivations...and finding them is they key to bringing them to life. Victoria has been such a great sounding board and partner in helping me really be able to walk a mile in their shoes- times three!
In your opinion, what makes this story important to share?
The more we work on the play, the more I like it. For me, Sylvia is a story about change and how we cope with it; about the delicate dance of long relationships; about our search for meaning and connection in the different phases of our lives. What I see specifically in the three characters I get to play is the influence of other people on our internal lives: how at times we are swayed and other times they really help us hear our own still small voice inside. Ultimately though, I think Gurney gets us laughing while we consider compassion, both for ourselves when our needs clash with those around us, and for our loved ones when things fall apart.
What is your vision for the future of local theatre in Phoenix?
While the arts community here seems to be a little more deeply rooted than the general population, I think Phoenix struggles somewhat with a kind of commuter culture. As a native, I'm always aware of how very many people are from somewhere else, and how very many are on their way somewhere else again. That constant movement brings vibrance but it can also make it hard to foster the kind of community investment that happens in other cities, and that the creative community needs. As well, I think live theater itself is experiencing a kind of renaissance, as we collectively wonder whether it will remain important or whether there can instead be "an app for that"...so, I'm starting to think that the answer for Phoenix lies at the intersection of those two challenges: maybe with more small theaters and flash projects popping up, corporate sponsorship from the businesses who are or have become "native", and the integration of more technology and social media, we'll find a new rhythm for theater in Phoenix. I really think that live theater connects people in a way that is needed now more than ever; we just have to find new ways of reminding everyone how and why that feels so good!
What's up next for you?
I don't have a next project on deck yet but look forward to seeing what that will be. The arts in general are really important to me, and I see participation in them as a kind of public service- so I'll be happy to go wherever I'm called, as it were. Hopefully it will be something I haven't tried before; my favorite challenge is always the one that's next!
Thanks again for taking the time to speak with us today!