Striving for Serious play

I hold onto childlike wonder and play- I believe this is what enables me to remain versatile and honest in the roles I take on. To engage in serious play is what allows me to dive into a character, uninhibited, and explore every option in a rehearsal room. Then, I take the choices that best suit the story we are telling, and keep them consistent but always present onstage, never losing the freshness that was felt when they were first discovered.

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I always thought my earliest onstage memory was of my 5th grade play, Why Mosquitos Buzz in People’s Ears, where I played Narrator #3 (I was very upset at the time that my friend Bianca was cast as the bunny instead of me, but I’m over it now. Totally over it. Yep. Completely.) But then I remembered Puff the Magic Dragon. There was a small performance at my preschool where excerpts of famed children’s stories were performed, by us, for our parents. I was put in charge of playing Puff, complete with a green paper hat and tail, with a string to secure it under my chin. The time had come- I was watching in the wings as my classmates waved their blue paper around to create the rocky seawater. I hear the singing begin and that was my cue- I ran out, ducking up and down beneath the waves, embodying a dragon as best as my 4-year-old brain could fathom. We were only doing two verses of the song, this would be a piece of cake. Plot twist- it wasn’t. The second verse began and I was starting to feel dizzy. All that ducking and weaving was taking a toll on my tiny head. The string was pulling on my neck, but a dragon would never adjust a string around her neck, so I had to let it be. I looked offstage at the wings, and contemplated taking a break for a line or two. Then my inner voice kicked in, “The show must go on!” I would stay true to my role of Puff until the very end, ducking weaving as much as my little body could muster. After what felt like an eternity, the song finally ended, and I looked out at the audience with a feeling of immense accomplishment. I actually found the home video of this with the help of my family, and at the end of the tape, my 4-year-old self looked up with a dweeby smile as the clapping began, and I realized that’s when the acting bug bit me (I have attached the video below if you would like to witness the plight of my first ever onstage experience).

I have always been drawn towards ocean waves and tropical weather (Jimmy Buffett is my guru), so when I was given the opportunity to join Florida Studio Theatre’s Acting Apprentice Company post-graduation, I packed up my life in North Carolina and moved myself to the beach. I have lived in Florida ever since, and when I’m not in the rehearsal room, you can find me reading my newest stack of library books at the closest beach, margarita in hand.