Potty Talk's "I Love Pus" is an official festival selection of the Portland Oregon Women's Film Festival 2017! It screens March 2, 2017 at 9:00 PM at the Hollywood Theatre with a lineup of other amazing quirky shorts.
In conjunction with the festival, the film website We Are Moving Stories published an interview with me. Here's an excerpt:
“I Love Pus” specifically came about because I really wanted to get messy and ugly with some of the personal truths about my own body quirks. I wanted to confess some of my really weird habits because I was feeling guilty about them in the context of what I was supposed to do with my body (more on this in your question on themes). I went way overboard to exaggerate my quirks to illustrate them and their stigmas. Why should I be grossed out by my pimples? What ideal am I pitting myself against that dictates that I can’t pick a scab?
I made it a comedy patter song because it’s fun, flirty, and palatable. It allowed me to play with real and often very serious issues through the lens that this sh*t is ridiculous, and we need a way to engage with the issues that opens people up. Laughter does so for audiences, and a quirky entertainment piece fosters discussion.
Playhouse Creatures exposes what it costs to be an actress. In 1669, these pioneering women - our characters - give everything to tread the boards, enduring poverty, prostitution, pregnancy and abortion, violence, dismissal, loneliness and social ostracism under constant pressure to produce new and titillating entertainment. Their successes in the form of leading roles, trysts with the King and eventually shares in the company could - and do - disappear at any time. As Mrs. Betterton muses, "sometimes I wonder what would happen to a person if it was taken away. That thing one gives one's life blood for." In Playhouse Creatures, we experience the success... And the taking away.
Our production brings the story into the present by paralleling the trials and rewards of those pioneering actresses with the inequities still relevant to today’s performers. In 1669, the women of Playhouse Creatures paid for their success financially, personally, and with their bodies. Speaking for one half of the production team, I (Brenan) have been described merely as “the pretty face” of my previous acting company; I’ve seen paychecks that doubled stipends for male actors over female costars; I’ve even been groped at functions - more than once - by industry players. My stories are tame compared to some.
We still fight for good roles, authentic stories, and representative leadership. We have come far, but there is work to do. Playhouse Creatures tells our stories of fighting misogyny to find self worth in art. The production model for this project puts its money where its mouth is with a woman-centric team and living wages for our actresses. We want to use this play - written, directed, starring, and produced by women- to reframe the conversation about gender in our field. We’re rolling up our sleeves.
When we began the journey of Playhouse Creatures, we had every hope of performing it as a celebration of the many successes of modern women, including, perhaps our first female president. We had no conception of the fear, threats, and hatred that infiltrate our current climate instead. Instead of retreating into the pretty frills of the Restoration as an escape, we view Playhouse Creatures as a call for continued action. McKenna and I believe it is essential to be vocal about the past, present and future accomplishments and setbacks of women, to discuss privilege and advantage as part of our artistic exploration, and to remember Playhouse Creatures honors that we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. We owe it to them to continue to fight for progress, for justice, for equity, and for fulfillment for all.
We proudly step up to deliver a poignant story about the power of the woman artist. As Nell Gwynn and the women of Playhouse Creatures did centuries before, we have given everything we have to make this play and its message a reality. Our director Alana mused during one meeting, "as a woman, do you have to lose your soul to do this thing?" Let's find out.
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Daniel Weisinger, the assistants’ powerful boss, is never seen in this play and we don’t know what he does. That’s ok. We don’t need to. We know men (and women) like him already. Usually, they are the uber-powerful and uber-rich. Occasionally they run for president. But more importantly, though we despise the powerful, we also long to be them. We hate them because we are not them, and we strive to supplant them. The assistants do not need Daniel’s insults to feel they are worthless. The mantra that they will never be good enough runs endlessly inside their heads. We all have Daniels inside us; our world nurtures his poisonous voice that we are failures.
And yet we try to succeed. This play is a rapid fire of signals that make the engine of success. The assistants buzz around the office, transferring information and ticking off tasks like human machines. It is a beautiful chaos that echoes our modern networks - cords, wires, ducts, towers, keyboards, motherboards, pocket-sized boxes of glass and plastic charged with electrical pulses and then hid underground and under sea, behind walls, and above our heads and in our pockets, giving us the illusion that our connections are illusory, even magical. We too, hide our deepest desires for validation and connection beneath fear. With Assistance, I’m interested in the rare moments when people take off the insulation and are live wires colliding into each other, whether they succeed or ultimately fail.
One of the final lines of this play is also its title: “Goodnight Desdemona. Good morning, Juliet.”
We were sketching our way through this scene for the first time sometime last week, when I stopped the actors. They all slumped to the ground, relieved to be stopped partway through a complicated scene. Rebecca plays Constance, the Shakespearean academic sucked into the plays of Othello and Romeo and Juliet, who has the wonderful gift of being able to say this line (that’s sarcasm – it’s a hard line). She let out a sigh and scrunched up her nose as I approached and ask her, “what the heck does that mean? Why do you say the title of the play there?” And then we all threw down our scripts and stomped around and shook our fists at the sky because we were running up against one of those stupid, miniature roadblocks that are actually the majority of the rehearsal process.
Then the epiphanies started rolling.
“Well, Desdemona dies when Othello comes to bed at night…” says Deanna Wells, who plays several characters including Romeo and Iago. “And Juliet dies when she wakes up to see Romeo dead on top of her.”
*DING!* Epiphany 1: Constance, who after a couple nasty bangs on the head, a sudden heartbreak, and career suicide, falls through her trashcan into these plays, begins to change the plots. She acts out a sublimated version of her own academic thesis by playing the role of a Fool, therefore turning these classic tragedies into comedies. So, Desdemona isn’t smothered. Juliet doesn’t die. In short, they’re safe to go to sleep and wake up without harm.
Later, we’re rehearsing the dumb show that starts the play where the murders of Desdemona and Juliet are acted out silently as written in Shakespeare’s plays. I’ve blocked Melissa, who plays Desdemona, to do a pilates-worthy slow lie down as she’s smothered, while Bonnie, who plays Juliet, bolts straight up from her slumber to discover dead Romeo and the dagger. We commence rehearsing the action, when:
“Oooooh I get it!” Bonnie shouts, stopping us, charmingly. We all laugh, and encourage her to tell us what’s up. “She’s lying down while I’m getting up. Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet. Get it?”
*DING!* Epiphany 2. The physical action mirrors the words. Desdemona lying down is like going to sleep; Juliet sitting upright is like waking up. As simple and obvious as this sounds, it’s helpful to find a physical connection to these Themes with a capital T.
Oh yes, the Themes. The safety of Desdemona and Juliet is, of course, a metaphor for Constance’s self-actualization. By transforming their fates, she has transformed her own. By determining their continuation, she has asserted her own ability to move on from a low, humiliating moment in her life. But the actors don’t care about that more than peripherally. They care about how they can play that moment, which can feel like the author’s (Ann-Marie MacDonald’s) Jungian thesis blotting the drama with a rather bold stroke of Theme.
I sense that the trend in popular theater is toward hyper-naturalism. We see cross-sections of living rooms, people texting lines of dialogue, we expect blood and drunkenness to be as close to the real deal as possible. In truth, most theater is poetry, and Goodnight Desdemona is especially so. I mean, good lord, the woman falls down her trashcan, we’re not exactly looking at O’Neill here. The Themes, the Metaphorical Subtext are important, though hard as heck to play in a way that is engaging, active, and entertaining.
So, *DING!* Epiphany 3 is for me as a director is to embrace Thematic moments like this as poetry. The rich, deep metaphorical stuff that makes up Shakespeare’s best work, and leaves me working with my actors on a half page scene lifted from Romeo and Juliet for an hour and a half and still have more to say. The poetry that keeps Tennessee Williams poignant and Sarah Ruhl captivating in its vagueness. This sort of stuff that has room for interpretation can be cheesy and alienating if done incorrectly, but rich and thought-provoking when done well.
But by watching the moment, like meditation, by thinking it and feeling it and encouraging all the small epiphanies, we drill down to make lines like this significant, specific, and exciting. It doesn’t have to make Sense with a capital S. It just has to feel right.
-Brenan Dwyer, director
The First Feminist (Slut Shaming) Revenge Drama, or, Agency
Barry Kyle, the director of The Maids’ Tragedy, since first offering me the part of Evadne, has pitched this role and this play to me as the First Feminist Revenge Drama. I know Barry has an interest in gender equity (heck, Barry has an interest in everything), and I also know he is catering to my particular interest in creating art that questions, embodies and creates identity. But this play presents some interesting challenges for being considered Feminist. Let us consider.
What does it mean for a play to be Feminist?*
(*Capital F means I’m talking about the Feminist movement. Lower case f means I’m talking about the general idea of gender equity.)
A quick Google search yields lots of academic papers about the Women’s Liberation Movement in the 1970s and the (relative) surge of performances of plays written by women – from uncovering unsung Restoration writers such as Aphra Behn to new work from playwrights the like of Caryl Churchill and Sarah Kane.
Interestingly, most definitions I could quickly find mentioned that the content of many of these plays depicted the oppression of women in a patriarchal world, not depicting a framework demonstrating the alternative to patriarchy by giving women agency. So, one might argue, isn’t a Feminist play really just like any other? A play written from a patriarchal paradigm (no matter the gender of the author) unconsciously places women in roles of oppression, and a Feminist one consciously does so to illustrate a point. Then again, one might argue that in art, intent is the most important ingredient, and furthermore that plays from women’s perspectives are inherently different in ways not called out by these online references.
But, for the purposes of my exploration, I’m interested in the idea that perhaps what makes a feminist* play is the production. And I think this because of the particularly challenging case of The Maids’ Tragedy. I play the character of Evadne, a socialite who has just been placed in a sham marriage to cover up her love affair as the King’s mistress. PLOT SPOILER: She ends up killing the King.
You could argue that this play is Feminist and/or feminist because you could argue that the protagonist is a woman, and that she breaks a cycle of abuse and/or oppression because she kills the King, presumably a symbol of her oppression.
However, the reasons this play, and Evadne’s story, are not any sort of F/feminist are many:
One idea that has been floated to me is that she is powerful because she knows how to please (or withhold pleasure from) men. It is seen in this exchange:
King: Why, thou dissemblest, and it is in me to punish thee.
Evadne: Why, it is in me then, not to love you, which will more afflict your body than your punishment can mine.
This is not the same thing as sexual agency, which is the choice to give or receive sexual pleasure based on what I (the woman) want, which does not mean disregarding what a sexual partner wants – it means valuing both desires.
This scenario disregards the woman’s ability to take action with any other type of influence other than her Lysistrata sexual veto power. And it totally ignores the fact that women truly have power and agency in many ways: through talent, humor, money, rhetoric, expression, emotion, friendship, and violence, to name a few.
But what is especially interesting to me in the playing of this character is that the discussion of the play as F/feminist has become less and less important over time, and has even hindered the playing of the text as it is actually written. A purely F/feminist reading of the script leaves out the human element – the possibility of love. The truth of being broken through abuse. The reality that sexual desire is messy and certainly not political. The feeling of not knowing who you are; looking inside and seeing nothing, and hating even that. Heartbreak.
These are real things that real people, myself included, experience.
And to me, being a feminist means inhabiting a woman who is all colors of human – including the compliant, powerless, and un-Feminist traits. Whether those traits are inherent or socially created, they are still within modern women, and a modern production with a modern Evadne must embrace them. And it’s what the production of this play seeks to do.
Come see the show and let me know what you think.
Since I was little, I’ve always been interested in playing the villain. Maybe it was because I’ve usually played the opposite in my real life. I was a good little girl eager to please my parents and not step out of line, and I strive to be a good woman and to do right by others. But appearances are not everything. I’m a volcano inside. I feel anger, and disappointment, and violent impulses. Luckily for the people around me, I overwhelmingly suppress these feelings (sorry if you’re one of the few who have received one of my infamous whiskey slaps… you are the exception). So how excited was I to be cast as Regan in our upcoming production of King Lear? And how disappointed was I to realize, upon a close reading of the script, that I don’t think Regan’s a villain at all?
Of course, that realization is actually a good thing, because an actor playing is villain is sure to deliver a pretty boring performance. An actor playing a person with a goal – a goal that she is desperate to achieve because failure is not an option – that’s an interesting performance.
But Regan is fiery. She vies for attention, competes for power, and of course, revenges any hint of disloyalty. So my delightful challenge is to find out how to play Regan as a violent, volcanic, sloppy, absolutely justified heroine.
My main resources for this are clear: Shakespeare’s text, my own experiences, my fellow actors and the direction I receive from JoAnn. I’ve also just finished reading a wonderful book called A Thousand Acresby Jane Smiley, a retelling of the Lear story on a Midwestern farm from the point of view of Goneril (called Ginny). So far these resources have served me well.
Shakespeare lays out plenty of reasons for Goneril and Regan to be angry, indignant and fed up by the end of Act 2 (when he goes out into the storm). In the very first scene, the king acts aggressively, spontaneously and unwisely, while everyone at the court repeatedly refers to Cordelia as the prettiest and most favored, while the two older sisters as “unkind” and scheming, although they have done nothing wrong. At all! The editor for the Arden edition of Lear suggests that by Elizabethan standards, these actions would have already characterized Lear as unstable, if not crazy.
Then, the old man gets really unreasonable. He acts ungenerously and irately towards Goneril while a guest in her house. He curses her and insults her vigorously, both to her face and to Regan’s, all the while demanding that the two daughters accept his extravagant lifestyle, and riotous and disorderly train of 100 men. And let’s not forget, Lear chooses to go out into the storm. Regan says “for his particular/I’ll receive him gladly.” And Lear says “No, you unnatural hags,/I will have such revenges on you both/That all the world shall–I will do such things–/What they are, yet I know not, but they shall be/The terrors of the earth!” Nice, Daddy. That’s really nice.
Just imagine if this was your father. Of course you’d get mad at him! He’s a total jerk!
Now, I’m not saying that things don’t get out of hand. The reality is that Regan does have a goal that she’s desperate to achieve by any means. I believe her goal is attention, achieved through power, wealth, titles, men, and dominance. But as the middle child, ever passed over for her more beautiful, more articulate, more appreciated sisters and her overbearing father, Regan wants desperately the only thing she has never had: attention focused solely on her. Her failures, her unfiltered anger, her clumsy attempts to lead in a world where women are not taught how to lead, cause her to do terrible things (most notably Gloucestor’s blinding, although he is actually, by definition, a traitor…)
The point for me, is not just to justify, but to endorse and understand her actions. I have a lot of questions remaining about how this performance will take shape, but I feel pretty confident that I can get behind Regan, the heroine.
I’ll leave you with this passage from A Thousand Acres (there are a couple strong words and adult concepts in this, so please be forewarned). In this version of the story, Lear is a downright creep who slept with the older sisters after the death of their mother throughout their teenage years. And the breast she refers to is a mastectomy she had due to cancer. Details of the reimagining aside, the strength of this sentiment of a desperate need for self-actualization is the same.
“I want what was Daddy’s. I want it. I feel like I’ve paid for it, don’t you? You think a breast weighs a pound? That’s my pound of flesh. You think a teenaged hooker costs fifty bucks a night? There’s ten thousand bucks. I wanted him to feel remorse and know what he did and what he is, but when you see him around town and they talk about him, he’s just senile. He’s safe from ever knowing. People pat him on the head and sympathize with him and say what bitches we are, and he believes them and that’s that, the end of history. I can’t stand that.”
I've just opened Richard III at Northwest Classical Theatre Company, playing Lady Anne. The production is directed by a prestigious director from England, Barry Kyle, Honorary Associate Director at the Royal Shakespeare Company, first Artistic Director of the Swan Theatre in Stratford, and founder of Swine Palace theatre in Louisiana. It also stars Artistic Director of NWCTC, Grant Turner, in the title role, and he's absolutely amazing.
The show runs until October 13 with 7:30 performances Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 and matinees Sundays at 2:00 pm. I've written two entries for our company blog, and I'd like to share them here to give a sense of my process working on this play. See you at the theatre!
9/9/13 On working with Trust
One of the elements of rehearsal that has struck me so far is the feeling of trust and respect that is inherent in our process. Richard III is different from the sort of general “trust” that many casts have – which resembles something more like charging ahead blindly despite fear of judgment than it does true support. Much of group came into rehearsals straight from working together on our Bend Shakespeare in the Park show, Much Ado About Nothing. While a rather loosey-goosey rehearsal process, Much Adowas a great bonding experience for the company because we have a lot of fun, and because we are very much left to our own devices to ensure that our text, voice and movement work was where it needed to be (due to time constraints in rehearsals). We had to trust and embrace that what others were bringing to the table was their best work. While others in the cast of Richard III did not participate in Much Ado, many of them have worked previously with Northwest Classical, and have good friendships and working relationships established. For the few newcomers, we hope they’re feeling welcomed too.
The other major component that makes Richard III such a trust-filled environment is our director, Barry Kyle. He treats the acting company with more respect than any other director I have ever worked with. After a scene is over, Barry says, “Thank you,” with such sincere gratitude for the work and risks that have just been performed, that it makes you immediately want to do it again, and better. Barry was with us in Bend, and witnessed how strong a company bond we have. He has commented on this frequently, and has used our work as an ensemble to drive our way of approaching the play, developing work with masks and choral movement that will help us portray battles and large crowds in the limited space of the Shoebox. Essentially, our ensemble work enables us to strongly delve into the use of metaphor because our personal relationships are strong enough to touch something deeper than a working relationship.
Barry asks our opinions and welcomes our frank answers. I was recently describing to someone outside the theater how our production is taking shape, and describing the mix of modern and classical costumes, props, and styles. We were specifically talking about if we should use crowns in a modern production, set in contemporary America. My conversation partner seemed appalled that these things hadn’t been sorted out by the director ahead of time. But I wasn’t scared at all. I was honored that Barry had waited to work with us to draw conclusions about what elements were appropriate to our production. In other words, because he trusted us to bring something to the table, we in turn, trust his thoughtfulness, and must honor his final decisions after considering all the options.
This amount of mutual respect has built space for the performers to take risks on stage; to become emotional, to turn their bodies into ferocious animals; to learn to become killers or to face death. I hope the results will be a play filled with true reactions and experiences, since the performers feel safe to “go there.” Barry is certainly challenging me to let loose, to let my emotional and mental state derail to a point that I am scared to go. I have faith that with his support and that of my ensemble, that I’ll be there by opening night.
9/20/13 On Opening Night
I’ve been thinking it’s time to take ownership.
Barry’s sort of a big deal. We’ve all been in a little bit of awe.
He throws out hundreds of bold, spectacular ideas a day. Many of them have found their way into our this large production in a small space.
The rehearsal process has been short, packed with ideas, discussions, music, movement, mask, videos, images, paint, chalk, swordplay, and a sort of scramble through text and scenes that has left us feeling both raw and itching to go on stage with this play.
As a part of scheduled rehearsal, we have not spent lots of time investigating our character’s inner thoughts. We have not broken down each line and chewed on each word. We have not done beat work. We have not dwelled on telling everyone our deepest character intentions. We have not done any character journaling, or free associations, or archetypal character exploration. This has been atypical for a Shakespeare show in the tradition of NWCTC.
It’s new, it’s exciting, it’s nothing like a show that’s ever been done in the Shoebox before.
This play has a definite stamp of Barry Kyle.
Not because I don’t trust Barry. I do. (See my previous blog post).
I haven’t yet trusted myself.
This play is like a roller coaster running through a haunted house without safety harnesses.
I go through this play both horrified and turned on.
I feel like I’m about to fall down or faint at any moment.
I feel like someone might actually die.
I stand in awe of the work of my fellow actors (especially Grant Turner… holy s*** he’s good in this) …but I have no idea how I stack up.
I feel like my acting training both holds me up and totally fails me.
I feel like I’m throwing everything I know about myself onto the stage and trying to mold it into some beautifully deformed lump of a woman, and giving her life.
In the last week, I’ve been very anxious about the lack of stability that I gain from a more traditional process. After a particularly tumultuous day thinking about Anne, I decided that I can’t do anything about it. That instability is part of the ground that has grown this play. I’ve got to embrace instability because it’s going to be there no matter what, and if I don’t embrace it, that is the one thing that will truly make my performance fall short.
So, I’ve decided to take ownership of the work I’ve done, and who I am, and what I bring onstage.
It doesn’t mean the performance is perfect, and it doesn’t mean that my terror is erased.
It strikes me how much courage one has to have, not only to go on stage, but to continually choose to rehearse and perform these plays that force us to press on our bruises again and again. We must be brave to go show someone how we react, and also brave to show the audience that we as actors sometimes fail to share our depths because we, too, are flawed. We’re working on it. Failure is inherent in the risk.
I wrote a blog years ago as in intern at Shakespeare Santa Cruz (RIP) and came to a revelation that I will revisit now: Acting is not about being fearless. It is about doing what you must do, with fear as your companion.
Break a leg.
-Brenan Dwyer, Lady Anne
How do you pass two years in 20 minutes? Two years in whic you lose everything - love, a child, friendship, parents, money, social standing, health, career, ambition, personality. As an actor, how does one just drop into such a place?
I’ve been challenged with this as I’ve taken on the role of Nina in The Seagull. I don’t have the same life experiences as Nina. I’ve never lost a child; I’ve never even been pregnant or even desired to have a child. I’ve never run away from home, or had my parents lock me out, or had an affair with a famous, older man. But, I have had my heart broken. I have been bad at acting, and felt embarrassed at my work. I have desired fame and recognition as an actor, and had these desires crushed (daily). So, in my 20 minutes backstage to prepare for my final scene, I use these as my points of entry into where Nina is. I use free association, meditation, my breath, to remember what moments of my life have felt like. Loss, fear, love, desire, ambition. They say you can’t remember pain? Bullshit. We just don’t let ourselves. I have built a huge wall inside myself to avoid thinking about loss, and emptiness, loneliness and rejection. It’s a huge personal challenge to tear down this wall to inhabit this sort of total devastation. But I know it’s essential. I feel like one of Michaelangelo’s sculptures, being freed from the rock as the artist chips away. And as I delve further into the feeling tones of my own life experiences, Nina’s memories just start drifting in, unasked for. I start to focus on those, breathe into those, and hope that they take a strong hold.
Then, I hear Ben, who plays Konstantine, starting the speech that cues my entrance. I’m afraid. I freeze. I just start to panic. I am so afraid that people will see that I’m just a little girl after all, that I’m no actor, that I have no grace or artifice, that I’m just suffering. I try to breathe into this, understand that this must be what Nina also feels, even though it is really just my own fear that the audience will see my tears and judge me as weak; that other actors will see how I work myself up and judge me for not just imagining Nina’s life, but for bringing my own baggage into it, that I won’t be able to carry off the scene, that I won’t affect Ben as much as I need to… and on and on and on. I guess if I were an expert I’d just waive some magic wand and turn off my thoughts. I’m working on that one. But this is where I am now. And then I have to walk on stage and do the
damn thing. And that part is really fun.
So, call it cheating, call it necessary, call it whatever you’d like; I’m preparing for Nina by mining my own life.
I’ve been told my whole life as an actor that this is wrong. That even by using the Stanislavski technique of memory recall and sublimation or whatever the heck the technical terms are, you should disassociate your personal life from the character eventually. I throw my hands up at this. How do other actors do this? You are who you are, and nothing can be stronger than your real memories, feelings, sensations and experiences. Why not use them, so long as they are directed through the text of your character? In college I had a teacher who went even further, saying all you needed was the truth of the situation of your character, leave yourself out of it from the start. I followed this religiously until recently, when I started hitting hard barriers in getting where I needed to go as an actress onstage. I started looking for what I needed to do, as an individual. And I kept ending up at using myself.
Then I realize. “If you should ever need my life, come and take it.” That’s Nina’s request to Trigorin, the offer that ultimately causes her downfall, her sorrow, her devastation. Nina, too, is willing to mine her life for art. But she asks for it; chooses it. She wants to become the subject for Trigorin’s tragic short story. She wants to be poor and live in a garret. She wants to feel the loss of her child. Even once she understands the reality of it, she still wants it. She runs from a life of safety to make a life that is fodder for art, sacrificing herself. She is the murdered seagull because she wants to be, not because something happened to her. And so am I. Sacrificing my life, my barriers, my comfort, for this play. Why? That’s the subject of a memoir. But this process has just led me to believe again and again: this is where I’m meant to be. This is what I’m meant to be doing. I asked for this. I am the seagull.
The Seagull runs May 10- June 16 at the Northwest Classical Theatre Company, 2110 SE 10th Ave, Portland, OR. Tickets and more info at www.nwctc.org.
A week from today I'll be opening Pericles, a joint production of the Northwest Classical Theatre Company and Willamette Shakespeare, directed by Daniel Somerfield. We're following the fairy tale aspects of the story by making incredible leaps of imagination through our production elements. There are just 6 actors playing over 30 characters, we play music and generate live sound effects, and in the 38-seat Shoebox theatre we travel to foreign lands on the deck of a very shipwreck-prone ship.
I am playing Marina, as well as 7 other more minor characters. It has been a challenge and a delight to make each into a strong, dynamic character. Marina has been especially challenging, since she seems to resist both archetypes of the damsel in distress, and the warrior princess. Many things happen TO her, and it's been uniquely challenging to find in her text where she is trying to enact change upon others to change her circumstance, and how much she submits to the will of the gods. She lives in a unique world defined by intense suffering, optimism, and Fate. I find myself using my imagination to fill in many gaps of her history, which fits nicely, of course, with the larger concept of the play.
I'm looking forward to opening this show, as I believe it is one that will change and evolve greatly during the run.
Pericles runs at the Shoebox Theater (2110 SE 10th between Lincoln and Grant) from Nov. 16-Dec. 9. Visit www.nwctc.org for tickets and information
This spring has been an incredible experience making Potty Talk.
Potty Talk is a sketch comedy series that addresses social boundaries and stereotypes through humor, and satire. Focusing on the expectations for and social constraints on women, Potty Talk inhabits and explodes some of the biggest, most vicious stereotypes out there.
I am the writer, director,and producer as well as an actor. We've assembled an amazing group of people and have filmed 7 sketches, which will be released on the internet at the end of July. Please follow our progress and learn more at www.PottyTalkPDX.com. It's an amazing project that I'm very proud to be creating!
Other exciting announcements:
This summer I will be performing in Henry IV part 1 at Post 5 Theatre Company as Lady Percy. The show is directed by Don Alder and stars many talented people. I'm very excited to work with this fresh, new company for the first time.
Lastly, but not at all least, I am exctied to announce that I have joined the Northwest Classical Theatre Company as a company member for the 2012-2013 season. I have already been cast in two plays there for the upcoming season, and I look forward to helping our in other ways as well. I am so thrilled to be making more theatre magic with this magnificent, small company in Portland this year! Stay tuned.
Brenan Dwyer's Blog
Looking for happiness in art daily.