Location: Arezzo, Italy
In Her Own Words:
When did you first know you were interested in theatre?
Well, I have been singing and dancing since I was a very little girl. When I was in Elementary School, my church would put on musicals. the leaders of the youth choir were my best friend's parents, Jim and Pam Gilbreath. They really believed in nurturing my natural talent as a performer and gave my solos and lead roles. I am forever grateful to them because they helped me understand the stage and voice. Without them i may have never done theatre. After that, I was in show choir, thespians, and my first straight play was 'A Murder is Announced' in High School under the direction of Warren Rosenaur. He was a big influence on all that I did in theatre. I went on to the University of Arkansas where my voice teacher, Janice Yoes, turned me on to opera and with her and the Opera Theatre Director, Christopher Lacy, behind me I took on leading ladies and continuously shined on the opera stage
How did you hear about the Accademia dell'Arte and what made you decide to attend the 2006 program?
After studying Opera Theatre for 5 years, I was feeling very stuck in my technique and extremely fed up with the local opera world which included too many divas and not enough work ethic. I wanted to expand my understanding of performance and knew that was not going to happen in Fayetteville. I heard about the Accademia from one of the founding donors who was a close friend of my Godfather. I had no idea about the Arkansas connection until after I arrived. I was walking through the living room and the Founding President said, "Hey... so I hear you're from Arkansas..." and I was floored- the founding president is talking to me?! Being from a state university I don't even think I'd ever met the president. That is when I knew this was a very special place and I threw all fo my caution to the wind and said (as quoted from Allegra Libonati, 2006), "WHY NOT?!" It was a magical semester.
What did you do after you finished the 2006 semester?
I stayed at the ADA where I volunteered for free food until they realized the could not get rid of me ;) and hired me into the Student Life Coordinator position I had created with the help of the Director of Student Services, Angelica Pinna-Perez. Together we shaped student life for many years, until I found out that they were going to offer a Masters program. I wouldn't ever even think about going to another masters program so I auditioned and was accepted. During that program I was able to devise, write, sing, and create in Arezzo, Turin, Milan, and Berlin. I finished my Master of Fine Arts in Physical Theatre in December 2011.
What was your most recent project(s)? (Or favorite?)
Well obviously Tut'Zanni just did our first show in LA which I have to say is of course my favorite. Besides that, I loved every project I did with my MFA cohort as an ensemble. However, I think my favorite was the 'Un Cabaret Per Giorni Strani' (A Cabaret for Strange Days) we did under the direction of Paul Keenan. During this I found my voice as a writer and was able to really try out my chops at singing with acrobatics (part of my thesis project). I found something in myself that I did not know I had.
Why did you decide to help create Tut'Zanni?
So when we were finished with our 2006 semester, we said our biggest dream was to get a van and travel from one coast to the other picking up all of our colleagues along the way and performing in the streets to survive... Being able to co-found Tut'Zanni, especially with my wonderful bestie ALi, has been a dream come true. We're unconventional in every sense fo the word. We live all over the place, which makes us a travelling troupe, we work in all difference fields of performance, which makes us diverse, and yet we all share a common goal and passion. We are a family. This is true Commedia dell'Arte in its rarest form!