As time goes on I have noted and collected many a FAQ from friends, students, fans and the generally curious. I thought it might call for a new little series of Ask Al called LIGHTNING ROUND!
Enjoy, and as ever, if you have questions, please feel free to reach out in the comments section or via email!
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1. How long have you been a performer? From where did you get started?
The first performance I ever participated in was a ballet recital. I was a butterfly.
The first play I ever did was in 3rd grade— I played Miss Hannigan in a school production of Annie. You heard me. And yes. There’s a video.
2. Leading male roles you've been dying to play:
Captain Hook. [*achem*]— hand down.
3. Is there anything you strive to actively improve upon as an artist?
I am always striving to be more truthful, and to gain human experiences that can help me serve different kinds of people and characters. I actively search for understanding of people who see and experience the world differently from me in order to expand my capacity to reflect life more realistically and passionately.
4. Have you ever had a character or play (scene) that gave you difficulty? How did you approach it?
I found it very difficult to get inside the head and heart of Julie Jordan (in the last West End revival, and Los Angeles productions) of Carousel. I think, if I’m honest, I judged her with my 21st century sensibilities about what women “should” and “shouldn’t” endure in a relationship and thus kept myself from being open, from having truly exposed and generous empathy. From that place, one cannot connect, and it took me opening my mind before the enormous gifts of what we had in common flooded my heart.
When I got a grip, I realized we had much more in common than we didn't. The only way forward was to throw away my judgments and search for the things that we shared; to view Julie as a teacher.
I learned from Julie all about the nature of my mother’s loss (of my father in 2001 after 30 years together)— what it means to be incredibly principled about love and to lost not only your husband, but the only love you will ever know.
Ultimately, Julie Jordan gave me the greatest gift of all time. It has been a blessing to revisit her a few times, and continue learning.
5. Something about you that surprises people:
I am an introvert.
I am an introvert in the classic sense in that I "recharge my batteries" in solitude rather than in the presence of others. I prefer long days alone, quiet time, and one-on-one conversations to group dynamics, and above all: I require lots and lots of time alone to process life so to better be ready to face the our extrovert-biased world in all my developed going-out-in-public shininess! My out-going self is not an "act" or a lie, it is an element of my personality I often enjoy, it just is slightly against my inner nature.
My introvert claim surprises many people because I have highly developed extrovert behavior: I am friendly, outgoing, warm, good at parties, etc., but it doesn't mean that that behavior is not energetically 'expensive."
There is nothing wrong with Introversion. It is also not the same thing as shyness or aloofness. It is merely as simple as where one derives their energy.
A classic Extroverted (by necessity) Introvert:
"Many introverts realize that they must become experts in personal appearances and self promotion in social settings. Many of us realize that simply being ourselves won’t cut it all the time. We can’t remain quiet, reserved or autonomous. We must function by igniting connections with people. And in order to do that we need to exude the energy and charisma of extroverts.Top tip: if someone claims to be an introvert and you do not perceive them that way, don't say "No you're noooot." It isn't very polite to insinuate that someone doesn't know themselves. Instead, I encourage you to get curious! Perhaps ask something along the lines of "How fascinating! I perceive you as quite extroverted, do tell me more..." Just a little feedback from someone who gets that comment a lot. ;)
So while it can indeed be practically helpful to channel our “extroverted selves” in our work lives, friendship circles and family lives every now and then, many of us introverts fail to set healthy boundaries. If we have not developed enough self-awareness, our extroverted selves can wreak havoc in our inner and outer lives." —
6. Can you offer any specific “tip” to being an actress?
Always, always, tell the truth.