Thursday, January 7, 2016

Grey Gardens - meet cast member Jennifer Strand

What do you find appealing or interesting about your character and this show?
Oh my . . . where to begin?  In Act I, Edith “has it all,” and by the time Act II begins, has lost it all, supposedly.  But not in her mind, as she still has a will of iron to survive as best she can.  And she does.

What have you learned about yourself in playing the role of Edith Bouvier Beale?
Vulnerability.  Edith doesn’t sound, look or act vulnerable, but she is.  She’s certainly controlling, but underneath that she is frightened and vulnerable.

What single word would you use to describe your character in Grey Gardens?

What do you want the audience to experience/take away from this show?
Compassion.  So often we are quick to pass judgment on people, their choices, and the resulting consequences.  Edith and Edie could (and were) called “crazy cat ladies,” and there is no denying that, but maybe there for the grace of God go all of us.

How does this show differ from other shows you have worked on?
I have never portrayed a real life person.  That is quite a challenge, as I have to embody Edith in mine.  And the show . . . well . . . it sure doesn’t fit the “typical” musical.

How long have you been acting and what made you get involved in theatre? How did you get involved with LTA?
I’ve always been a singer, and participated in all my school and church concerts and programs as long as I can remember.  My first “big” role was Queen of the North in the Christmas show when I was in 7th grade.  In college I kept changing my mind on “what I wanted to be when I grew up,” so I took some time off.  When I returned to my home town and studies, my friends had moved away or moved on, so, to meet people I auditioned for a community theatre production of Sweet Charity, and did two more shows that summer.  I eventually changed my major to theatre (with minors in Biology and Chemistry) and here I am.  Coincidentally, when I moved to this area, the first show I auditioned for was LTA’s, Little Me!

What advice would you give others who are interested in working in theatre?
Go for it.  I know it’s intimidating to audition.  In fact, that is one of my least favorite things to do, just ahead of going to the dentist.  One of the best perks about being involved in theatre is that your “family” grows exponentially with each production.  And, the shared experience of bringing a show to life is priceless.

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