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The Detour

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Michelle Eugene
February 17, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Actor - role of Helen.

What is your show about?
This show is about the intertwined and conflicting desires of a farming family in 1921, the legacy of a hard rural life versus the possibility of escape, and the pull and trap of traditional gender roles and expectations.

When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
I did theater in school as a kid and always loved it, but I circled the arts for quite a long time as an adult before I allowed myself to dive in. First I did an undergrad degree in classical voice without a real passion for opera, then got a grad degree in speech pathology and became a voice therapist. I worked with a lot of singers and actors and it took about 5 years in a medical practice full time doing amateur theater at night before I got so antsy I had to admit I'd identified my true passion. I quit my job and devoted myself to training and working as an actor. Now, of course, I'm quite grateful that I'm able to do stimulating and decent paying work on the side as necessary!

Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
For me, theater is about feeling more alive and being unafraid of all aspects of our humanity and individuality. I'm not an actor who acts because I am just so spontaneously expressive in life that no other career made sense. I act and go to theater because it demands and allows me to explore what it means for me to be more fully human, and to allow that experience to be shared. I think we desperately need that safe place to be in the presence of other human beings vibrating with the effort and exhilaration of living out their stories.

Are there any cautions or warnings you’d like to make about the show (e.g., not appropriate for little kids)?
If you have any conflicted feelings about past, present or future choices - the big ones - or questions about how your relationships have influenced your achievements or lot in life (and who doesn't?) - this show will bring them roaring up. In a good way.

Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
SEXES BATTLING (sorry, needed that second word)

Who are your heroes?
Right now my heroes are all of the people who overlook the sacrifices to make a life devoted to theatre AND the people who make that possible with love, support (emotional and financial) and patronage.