03 November, 2016

Ask Al: FAQs! - Part 2

1. Do you ever think that you could have done a bit better in any particular role?
It is easy and very tempting to doubt oneself no matter what one does for a living, but I try to adhere to the motto of giving “100% of what I have that day.”

We don’t always have the same amount of energy, emotional wherewithal or inspiration, but as long as you use everything you have in the “tank” available to you in that exact moment, you can’t fault yourself. You know you did your best.

That said, I played Rosalind as my final role in High School at the Interlochen Arts Academy. Now that I know a great deal more about love and loss (and have a kick ass boy haircut!), I would die for another crack at Shakespeare's wordiest and (according to Harold Bloom) most glorious heroine.

2. Which has been your favorite character you have ever preformed?
This is a very difficult question to answer because I view my characters almost like friends who have given me lessons and gifts. I like to believe that something called for us to be brought together—that a force from the Universe guided us to serve one another: the character's story gets told specifically by my mind, heart, body, voice and soul; and I, in turn, get to learn from their narrative, circumstances, and choices.

For example, 
- I learned from Hodel (in the 2008 West End revival of Fiddler on the Roof) how to say goodbye to my deceased father.
- I learned from Julie Jordan (in the 2009 West End revival of Carousel) all about the nature of my mother’s loss—what it means to be incredibly principled about love and to lost not only your husband, but the only love you will ever know.
- I learned from my beloved Sophie DePalma (in the Broadway production of Master Class) about being enough, and overcoming self-doubt.
- I learn daily from Tzeitel (in the current Broadway revival of Fiddler) all about marriage, faith, and family, and my feelings about all of those subjects at this stage of my life.

I always try to look to my characters as teachers.

3. What do you feel has been your biggest achievement in acting?
I think my greatest achievement is continuing to view acting as a service industry—serving the audience, serving truth, and serving my character’s story so that all that bear witness to it may be moved by, hopefully learn from, but ultimately be affected by, them.

4. Any dream roles?
Yelena (her magnetism and ugliness are both things I have a great deal to "say" about)
Rosalind (We're not done with one another)
Eliza Doolittle(nor are Eliza and I)
Mary Queen of Scots (underdog + history + beloved Scotland + poetry = bliss)
Antigone (Everything.)
Helen of Troy (for many of the same reasons I long to play Yelena)
Lady MacBeth (I have a shocking ready-access to this woman)
Hedda Gabler (I can't imagine a woman less like me, thus, a thrilling challenge)
Jenny  (in The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahogany...I love a singing whore...)

5. Do you remember a point when you knew performing would be your career rather than a hobby?
Hm, this is a very interesting way to phrase the question—both words don’t entirely resonate with me. Even though I was never a child professional, I don’t believe I ever viewed any form of artistic expression as a “hobby” or had specific dreams about a “career.” In some way my relationship with the arts always felt lifelong. I still feel that way: that my life is dedicated to a lifelong artistry that includes all the facets of my life.

6. What would your advice be for young actors for breaking into the business?
Know yourself thoroughly.
Then, never betray yourself.

© hula seventy

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