This is where I'd like to share some thoughts about acting,the process,interviews,my craft business and upcoming events

Friday, November 03, 2006

Interview: Maria Kelly STC Acting Fellow

1 Where are you from and how did you hear about the fellows program?

I did quite a bit of moving as a kid, but most of my childhood was spent between Thomasville, GA and Louisville, KY, where my parents live currently. I went to college in Cincinnati, OH and moved to New York after graduation. Nearly five years later, I find myself in Washington, DC after responding to a submission request posted in Backstage for a season-long fellowship opportunity with The Shakespeare Theatre. I got an audition, a callback, and here I am.

2 How have you found the experience? (Pro's and Con's, work load)

I’ve been here for just over two months, but still feel like I’m figuring out my responsibilities as a fellow and how to approach them. Our primary role is to understudy and play ensemble characters in productions, as needed.

For AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE, I was strictly understudying one role (Petra Stockmann), but came for this job at tech week. Initially, I felt overwhelmed by the obligation because of how late my arrival was in the process of the show. I felt like I was playing catch-up and I think it was difficult to bond with the already tight-knit cast, though they were a continually welcoming, supportive, and friendly bunch.
Once those early feelings dissipated, and I felt confident on lines and blocking, I was anxious to get up on my feet. As understudies, we’re required to be off-book and know our blocking by the first day of our rehearsals, which can begin as early as preview week. Getting onstage with the understudy cast was an awkward experience because there’s no real exploratory process. Both physical and emotional choices have been made for you, and you are obliged to uphold the integrity of the actor and overall production, while maintaining your own identity. Plus, there will never be a show where all the understudies are stepping in, so it’s doubly artificial. Nonetheless, because we weren’t guaranteed any chances to go on, I tried to relish the opportunity as my stab at the role.

As it turns out, I had the good fortune to go on as Petra for one performance in the last week of the run. It was a terrifying and thrilling experience and I am eternally grateful for the encouragement, support, and congratulations offered up by the entire company. My STC debut is one I will never forget.

In more general terms, the fellowship is a tremendous occasion to spend a season employed by a premiere classical theatre in order to gain a practical education in rehearsal and performance. Our stipend is modest, to say the least, at $150/week, but our housing is provided and the experience itself, assured future prospects, and the luxury of having no obligations to anyone or anything other yourself and your art form are priceless.

3 What's next for you?

Here in DC, we start the tech process for THE BEAUX’ STRATAGEM, which leads, of course, to previews, the opening and a run that will last for the remainder of 2006. In between we will begin our understudy rehearsals for BEAUX’ as well as the process for RICHARD III. The rest of the season will keep us busy with TITUS ANDRONICUS and either LOVE’S LABOR’S LOST (on the outdoor stage) or HAMLET.

It’s hard to say what’s to come after the fellowship. I plan to audition for graduate school, but am eager to discover what opportunities are presented in the professional world. Either way, I look forward to what’s next, but also want to focus on my time in DC and savor my time here.

4 My blog is focusing on a two year personal plan...Where do you see yourself in two years?

Theatre can take you anywhere at anytime—one of the greatest perks and pitfalls of the trade. I know if graduate school is in my future, I’d like to start in the next three years. Otherwise, I’m game for anything that might help me grow and continue to surge my career.

5 Any words of wisdom? (auditioning for fellows position...Michael Kahn)

See above.