Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Streetcar Named Desire - meet cast member Tyler Everett Adams


What do you find appealing about your character and this show? 

I play several parts, but the two that I connect the most with are the Collector and Strange Man. The Collector is a very young man who Blanche makes an effort to seduce at the beginning of the second act. The scene is brief, but I love every second of it. I have to work to pull an innocence and naivety out of myself to create the proper contrast to both Blanche and, frankly, most of the male characters in the show. It's challenging and satisfying because if I do it right, it helps to provide the audience with a greater understanding of Blanche's true nature and intentions. It leaves the audience pondering just how much you should sympathize with her character, given her current circumstances and how she found herself in them. The Strange Man is just the opposite. His character on the surface is kind and thoughtful. However, his intentions aren't exactly pure, and his actions are most definitely questionable.
 
A Streetcar Named Desire has always been one of my favorite plays by Tennessee Williams. To create such poetry in such chaos is a gift not all playwrights have. Usually at this point in a rehearsal process, you might find yourself tuning out a little when your sitting off stage waiting for your next cue. With this show, I still find myself hanging on every single one of Williams' words.

What have you learned about yourself in playing the role of Collector/Strange Man?

As an actor, Tennessee Williams is a tall order. I found myself almost overwhelmingly hyper critical of my choices in the initial part of the process. It's been preformed by so many brilliant actors over the years, one can question if you're good enough to take a crack at it. Then one rehearsal I finally said, "Screw it!" and just let it go. It has been a completely process since. This show has reminded me that all you can do is your best, and with a talented group like LTA's cast and artistic team, your best will always create something beautiful.

What do you want the audience to experience/take away from this show?

The themes of Streetcar are still so relevant because they will always be: family, love, passion, lust, and betrayal. There is something so beautifully human about all of these characters, not matter how damaged they may be. We can definitely learn how we should and shouldn't treat people. We must also examine how important it is to be honest with yourself and those around you. Life under a lantern's glow isn't always the best way to live, no matter how much more beautiful and magical it might make things seem.

How does this show differ from other shows you have worked on?

This show is definitely different then what I've done recently. I've done a lot of musicals and comedies the past few years, and you leave the process feeling entirely different. With a musical or a comedy, you leave feeling tired but energized and happy go lucky. With shows like Streetcar, you leave feeling like every possible human emotion has been pulled out of you. It's draining but in the best way possible and immensely satisfying.

How long have you been acting and what made you get involved in theatre? How did you get involved with LTA?

To be completely honest, I got involved with theatre because I sucked at sports as a kid. I tried about every outlet that didn't involve a ball. Then I made all county choir in 5th grade and my music teacher told me she needed singing boys in the upcoming school play. I auditioned and once I got on stage, I was hooked. And have been ever since. I can't imagine life without theatre.

Streetcar is the first show I've auditioned for with LTA. I heard about the auditions while I was doing The Producers and decided to give it a shot. I am definitely delighted to be part of the LTA family.

What advice would you give others who are interested in working in theatre?

Audition for everything. Everything. You might not think there's a part for you, but you can be totally wrong. Go and see as much as you can, especially the stuff that makes you uncomfortable or forces you to think. Network. And never let one rejection dictate whether or not you are good enough. Follow your heart and your passion and you will be successful. 

Tickets can be purchased online at www.thelittletheatre.com

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Streetcar Named Desire - meet cast member Abigail Ropp



What do you find appealing about your character and this show?

I have several small character roles, but most notably I play a Poor Woman and a Strange Woman. I grew up in a remote rural area in Michigan, so I can appreciate the economic dichotomy between Poor Woman and Blanche at the top of the show. Strange Woman at the end of the show is cold and emotionless. While that might not make her too appealing as a human, I love contrasting her austerity with Blanche's mania. She has about four or five lines, but each one is fraught with meaning and an intensity that I find fascinating.

Streetcar is an all-time favorite of mine, as is Tennessee Williams. There are amazing female characters in this show, beautiful, fragile, hard, complex women. You might not always agree with their words or decisions, but you sure understand them. Williams' text reflects his characters in Streetcar - smart, beautiful, intimate prose that knocks you down and kicks you while you're there.

What have you learned about yourself in playing the role of Poor Woman/Strange Woman?

For an actor, the terrible/wonderful thing about working on a Tennessee Williams play is the realities you're forced to accept about yourself. I am completely capable of shutting down emotionally and not giving a damn about the human pain and suffering I bear immediate witness to. Being a caring, compassionate human doesn't just happen - it's an effort you have to make all day, every day.

What do you want the audience to experience/take away from this show?

Love each other. Listen to one another. Feel each other's pain. Hug each other. Forgive others. Forgive yourself.

How does this show differ from other shows you have worked on?

More than any other show I've been a part of, Streetcar is emotionally exhausting. Hearing the words, watching my castmates experience what Williams asks them to, over and over again, is so hard. But it's also weirdly inspiring. It makes me want to be a better person and ease some of the hurt in the world.

How long have you been acting and what made you get involved in theatre? How did you get involved with LTA?

I guess my first role was chorus in Beauty and the Beast in the fourth grade. My initial impetus for getting involved was because my big sisters did school plays and it seemed like I should too. My next role was a unicorn when I was ten, a non-speaking part that basically pranced around and caused trouble. I didn't think much of the part until we opened - and people applauded. For me. I was just up there, doing what came naturally, and I got so much positive feedback. For a shy kid with hardcore middle child syndrome, that was a game-changer.

Streetcar is the first show I've auditioned for with LTA. I'm a recent transplant to the area, and a friend came across the audition announcement and encouraged me to audition.

What advice would you give others who are interested in working in theatre?

If you're going to do theatre (or anything else in life), commit. If you don't care, no one else will. Take classes in what you're interested in, pursue the art in you, and keep going. Tell your story, the rest will take care of itself.
 Tickets can be purchased online at www.thelittletheatre.com

A Streetcar Named Desire - Meet cast member Camden Gonzalez

What have you learned about yourself in playing the role of Stanley?
It's really not easy to play such a brute, and it's been much more difficult than I ever imagined. In real life, I consider myself to be a considerate and caring guy, and in the past, I've usually played the protagonist; for this role, I've really had to tap into the deepest and darkest parts of my soul to find that primal personality. But what makes it even more interesting—and challenging—is that, while on the surface Stanley may appear like an ape, deep down he truly is just as fragile as any of us. I suppose we all have two sides to us: the side we put on for the world to see, and the side that hides what we don't want them to see (for reasons good, bad, or otherwise). And then we pick and choose the moments (or sometimes it just happens) where we let our true self be exposed—if you find yourself among the lucky few who witness the veil coming off, be sure to cherish it.

What do you want the audience to experience/take away from this show?
One thing dramas do so well that comedies often can't is tune into the personality struggles in our own lives. I suppose one of my favorite comedic writers, Neil Simon, does this quite well and manages to still keep the laughter going; but Tennessee Williams finds a way to take some of the most impactful traits each of us have(even if it's to the slightest degree), and embody it and expand it tenfold into a character. While you watch the show, reflect upon each of the characters' weaknesses, how it eventually unravels them, and see if you can compare this cause-and-effect chain to your own struggles in life. I think you'll be just as surprised at what you find as I was!

How does this show differ from other shows you have worked on?
Until now, almost every production I have worked in has been a comedy; after all, I love to make people laugh. But my goal with this show is different: if you somberly walk out of the theater with that pit in your stomach and devoid of words, then we as a cast have done our job.

How long have you been acting and what made you get involved in theatre? How did you get involved with LTA?
I've been acting since I was probably 4 or 5. I remember a home movie of me (that's hopefully still buried somewhere) where I was using some skillfully-crafted sock puppets to put on a show for my parents and some neighbors (I think now I know why the neighbors quickly moved thereafter). My parents were both Thespians and both worked in the television industry, which lead to a couple opportunities for me to play some TV background artist roles as a kid—but that was enough of a bite to keep me hooked. After freshmen year of college, I actually got away from acting for a while, being consumed by schoolwork and other hobbies. It wasn't until about a year and half ago I decided to pick it up again after seeing a friend in a show...I suddenly realized how much I missed it! And then, at the behest of a coworker, I took one of LTA's adult acting classes to shake off some of the dust, and...well, I guess you could say the rest is history!

What advice would you give others who are interested in working in theatre?
My advice? Don't let your fears stand in the way. On the weekends, I'm a skydiving instructor with over 2,200 jumps; I don't think twice about leaping from an aircraft from 14,000ft over the earth. Put me just off stage, moments from going on? I swear my thumping heart could be heard by the audience! I have friends who say to me, “I'll jump out of a plane any day, but I'll never go on a stage.” Skydiving and acting really are no different; it just takes a leap of faith: close your eyes, take a deep breath, and step out and over that ledge. You will honestly be surprised at just what you are capable of.
 
Tickets can be purchased online at www.thelittletheatre.com

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Streetcar Named Desire - Meet cast member Hilary Adams

What do you find appealing about your character and this show?

Eunice and I are kindred spirits, I think. We’ve both got very keen maternal instincts, loyal to those we care about, and we’re both prone to making a racket if something’s wrong. She’s funny and sarcastic, but at heart she’s incredibly empathetic and she feels very deeply.

This show is one of my favorites purely because of Tennessee Williams’ awe-inspiring ability to cut away the veneers we put on every day and show us the raw instincts and emotions that drive us to do certain things. The drama in Streetcar is intense, but it all stems from basic human truths and desires—hey, see what I did there?

What have you learned about yourself in playing the role of Eunice?

I’ve learned that I can yell a lot louder than I thought I could! Honestly, though, I’ve learned that you can never be too kind, especially to strangers. You never know everything that’s going on in someone’s life, particularly if you’ve never met them before, so it’s crucial that we be kind to each other and treat even strangers with respect.

What do you want the audience to experience/take away from this show?

I think there are lots of things you can take away from this show: from Blanche, I think the takeaway is that you can’t keep running from your choices forever—you have to face them. From Stanley, we see the cautionary tale of what happens when you’re so driven to destroy someone that you forget that they are a human being with feelings. And from Stella, we see that the truth doesn’t always necessarily set you free.

How does this show differ from other shows you have worked on?

I’ve been working on a lot of Shakespeare lately, so the drama in this show feels very familiar. I will say that the majority of my roles have been comic, and while Eunice certainly has her share of hilarious moments, this is the first show I’ve done where I’ve had to really cry—“sobbing luxuriously,” as Mr. Williams calls it. Tapping into the place that allows you to cry from your gut isn’t exactly something most people relish doing, but I do enjoy the challenge.

How long have you been acting and what made you get involved in theatre? How did you get involved with LTA?

I’ve been acting since the tender age of 7, when I started throwing myself wholeheartedly into every summer theatre camp I could find. I loved the direct connection with the audience, hearing people laugh when I said something funny, seeing them applaud at the end of a show; but most of all, I loved (and still love) the sense of community in theatre. It’s like having a second family who you can talk to about virtually anything, and actors are some of the funniest, most intelligent and insightful people that I have had the pleasure to know. I got involved with LTA for the first time after I graduated from college this spring. I auditioned for Spamalot with my boyfriend, and though I wasn’t cast in that show, I didn’t lose hope and went out for Streetcar. It’s like I always say: throw Jell-O at a wall long enough, eventually it’s going to stick!

What advice would you give others who are interested in working in theatre?

For all the actors reading this: never stop auditioning. Actors face more rejection on average than non-actors, and those who have been fortunate enough to make a living out of acting have had to develop a pretty thick skin to the criticism and the thousands of “no’s” they had to endure along the way. Don’t let not getting cast in one, two, or even ten shows dissuade you from pursuing your craft; if theatre is one of your greatest loves (like it is mine), then no one should be able to tell you that you can’t pursue it. Take classes. Hang out with actors. Watch movies with the greats. Go out to see community theatre with your family and friends. Immerse yourself in theatre, and it will make you better.

Tickets for A Streetcar Named Desire can be purchased online at www.thelittletheatre.com