Naked in Alaska
nytheatre.com q&a preview by Valerie Hager
September 14, 2012
What is your job on this show?
Playwright & Actor.
When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
I started performing as Punky the Clown with my dad Jerry Hager, renown mime artist (AKA Kazoo the mime) in San Diego at five years old. Although, I don't think I was conscious about whether or not performing was what I wanted to pursue at that age. But I did know that watching my dad and his work was absolutely the most magical thing I'd ever seen or experienced. And, in my heart I knew I wanted to be apart of what dad was doing. I think it was in grade school that I actually became aware of a deep desire in me to live the life of an artist. And then unfortunately, I took a dark turn at 13 down a rabbit hole of drug addiction and eating disorders. It wasn't until after I got clean and sober five years later that I reconnected to the performer in me. And it was clear that I craved to be on stage. Although, (surprise-surprise!) I had very untraditional views about what that meant. Like... taking off on a wild adventure into the world of exotic dancing. I mean hey!--a way to perform, pay my bills, feel like a star! But often times things aren't always as they appear. And well...the rest of that crazy story is what you'll find out when you come to see me in Naked in Alaska!
Complete this sentence: My show is the only one opening in NYC this fall that...?
My show is the only one opening in NYC this fall that will talk about stripping in Alaska and it's definitely the only show in town that'll have a stripper pole on stage with ME dancing on it. : )
Why did you want to write/direct/produce/act in/work on this show?
Naked in Alaska has been a dream of mine to write. And man!--has it been one blood-sweat & tears experience! It definitely hasn't been easy and sometimes I wasn't even sure if I'd be able to do it at all. But I did. And I feel so joyous and grateful for that! It's more than a show for me, it's an opportunity to reveal myself to you-- and you to me. I wrote this show because I've struggled with self-forgiveness, shame, and self-esteem my entire life. And in my past I've often felt different, afraid and ugly. Like a freak. But through this awesome adventure called life, and this magical gift called resilience, I've rediscovered my voice and she's come out full-throttle in this rockin' show called Naked in Alaska! To sum it up, Naked in Alaska is dedicated to the freak, the outcast, the forgotten one, and the star who lives in each of us. And my hope is that no matter how different our paths were or may be that Naked in Alaska connects us closer to each other. Maybe even make someone out there feel a little less separate, a little less bad. Maybe break a heart more open, inspire a laugh, or a tear--even if it's just for one small magical moment. Naked in Alaska is my attempt at sharing my joy, my heart, my truth--my life with you. Oh, and there's also great rock n' roll and real-deal pole tricks too!
Groucho, Chico, Harpo, or Zeppo?
Who are your heroes?
Without any second thought my heroes are my mime-dad, my fierce-mom, and my courageous and stunningly-handsome husband Scott Slavin!