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The Ugly Duckling

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Charlotte Ghigliazza
June 13, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Performer.

What is your show about?
The show is a retelling of Hans Christian Anderson's tale "The Ugly Duckling" through dance, pantomime and puppetry.

When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
I always loved theatre and performing when I was growing up, and I started dance training towards the end of middle school. As much as I loved it, though, I didn't think dance or theater was a serious career option for me since I started training so late. So I went to college to pursue other interests and performing fell by the wayside in my life. Junior year of college I started dancing again, and I remembered my love and passion for it. The more I worked at it, the more it felt like something I should pursue. Love for dance was casting out the fear of the uncertainty of it as a career. So by the end of college I was ready to take a step of faith and move to NYC to dance, and now dance is drawing me back into acting and theater work. I guess, as long as you are honest with yourself, the things you love never really leave you.

Who is more important in the theater: the actor, the playwright, or the director?
That's like asking if the hand is more important than the lungs, than the brain. I think theater is a team sport - everyone has a role to play and everyone suffers if it isn't fulfilled. That's not just some diplomatic cliche - that's truth. I challenge you to take anyone person away from that equation and see what happens.

Why did you want to write/direct/produce/act in/work on this show?
When I first auditioned, I felt it would be a fun project. Rachael made the audition so engaging and non-threatening it didn't feel like an audition, it felt like I was goofing around and being silly with some new friends. And as we have rehearsed that same openness and creativity has continued. Rachael has fostered a safe space to explore expression and the development of our characters, perhaps partially by expressing her own smartly zany ideas - wait until you see the house she made for me!

Which famous person would you most like to get a fan letter from: Denzel Washington, Maggie Smith, Ang Lee, Jennifer Lawrence?
Maggie Smith! She is so talented. Though I may be biased by the fact that she was in one of my favorite childhood movies, "The Secret Garden."

Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
Of course. In the immortal words of Willy Wonka, "Want to change the world? [plucks hair] There's nothing too it." In all seriousness though, I think it can. I think art in general taps into another dimension of communication. It's a science, it's a language, it's a form of expression. It can express facts through emotion and vice versa. The power of theater can carry enormous weight for those who wield it and as such should not be viewed lightly. (...Puns intended.)