Monday, January 18, 2016

"Going There" (warning: spoilers for Brigadoon!)

It's not the first time I've been asked to portray a moment of grief onstage.
I'm honored to be performing the role of Maggie Anderson in Brigadoon at the moment with Performance Now Theatre Company, and we only have one more weekend left.
Seems time has gone quickly in this process and it's been a unique one. It has demanded much of my energy and time but I'd do it all again gladly. Co-choreographing this production along with being part of the talented cast has molded me incredibly much as a dancer and choreographer.
If you ask me what the most draining part of the whole experience has been however, I'd have to choose the funeral scene in Act 2. 
Maggie is asked to deal with one of the most traumatic things in the world-- a death of someone she has given her entire heart to. 

Maggie and Harry (played by Will Treat) (photo by RDG Photography)
She (at least the character I have created for this production) is the "funeral dancer" of the town and therefore must dance through her shock, grief, anger, and confusion.
Maggie dances at Harry's funeral (photo by RDG Photography)

Maggie dances at Harry's funeral (photo by RDG Photography)
This friend and imagined relationship she is forced to grieve is linked heavily to dancing in general (she and Harry grew up dancing together, and are close friends on top of her romantic feelings). She really believed (prior to his death of course) they would someday build a life together, get married, have children.
Harry (Will Treat) and Maggie dance in the town square of Brigadoon (photo by RDG Photography)
The process of choreographing the funeral dance has been long (it is still morphing in tiny ways as I perform it depending on how I sense Maggie's process at each moment). It has demanded that I vividly remember grief/love lost experiences from my own teenage experience and actually "go there" in rehearsal and performance.
As an actress I have felt my heart be sculpted by Maggie's emotional roller coaster. To love someone desperately and believe you will eventually be together can be exhausting and this is what I am hoping to convey as this young woman.
There is a part of Maggie in each of us. Every one of us has loved desperately and hoped wildly for something. Something or even someone that perhaps does not return all the feelings we harbor.
I love theatre. I love "going there" with my characters and living another life although it isn't always a happy or fun scene. I consider it a privilege to attempt to touch and move an audience, to help them feel something. 
If you'd like to catch the show in it's last weekend, here's the ticketing info:
Brigadoon at Lakewood Cultural Center with Performance Now Theatre Company ticketing link--