Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Spotlight On...Laura Careless

Name: Laura Careless

Hometown: Isle of Wight, UK

Select credits: Founding member of Company XIV.

Why theater?: I was a petulant and tearful toddler, and an early and enthusiastic walker, so my Mum sent me to dance classes to give herself an hour's peace in the day. That was 27 years ago, and I've never looked back.

Tell us about Rococo Rouge: Rococo Rouge is a dance, music and circus revue as it would have been if the salons of Louis XIV's court were cabaret clubs. We steal the most opulent aesthetics and the most entertaining performance practices from every era, mash them all up into a bottomless cocktail of sensuality, beauty, and glitter, and deliver it via some of the most talented and generous performers in New York City. All while you're sipping life-changingly delicious drinks on a couch in candlelight.

What is it like being a part of Rococo Rouge?: The most unusual and most wonderful aspect of performing in this show is the intimacy of the venue, and the level of consideration given to the audience's experience. The setting, waitstaff, music, drinks and our costumes set the tone and help the audience to relax into their environment before we've even danced a step. As a performer, this frees you from anxiety about whether or not the audience are on 'your side'. Rather, the experience is immersive for audience and performer alike. Everyone sees everyone in the space, and as performers this allows us to make personal connections that we can feed off and play with over the course of the show. You become very sensitive to the needs and desires of each night's audience, and it is a great pleasure to use the structure of a great show to tailor-make an experience that satisfies socially as well as aesthetically.

What kind of theatrer speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: As an audience member, I like to feel that my perspective has been considered. I want to feel the same way I did when my parents read me bedtime stories as a kid: that someone who knows the world of a story better than me is recreating it, and adding something personal to that story as they hand it along in a way that I can understand. The form this takes, and the person who does it, are no more and no less important to me than the story itself.

Any roles you're dying to play?: There's a couple of XIV shows I'm hoping will return for a second round one day, especially our production Lover.Muse.Mockingbird.Whore, our take on the women who inspired the poetry of Charles Bukowski. Other than that, I'm at an interesting point in my creative life where my fascination with ardent young literary characters (Juliet, Jane Eyre) is giving way to a desire to explore timeless archetypes (Martyr, Witch, Mother) in contemporary culture. The more ancient the archetype, the better, as it gives your interpretation more layers to draw from and rewards you with timeless lessons and insight.

What's your favorite show tune?: My favourite song in Rococo Rouge is "Amado Mio", performed live by Brett Umlauf and guitarist Rob Mastrianni. It plays during the drinks break, by which time most of my hardest dancing is done. I love to listen from behind the curtain, stretch and breathe.

If you could work with anyone you've yet to work with, who would it be?: My partner Ryan is an orchestra conductor, and we fantasize about the day when some orchestra will let him program Martha Graham's ballet Judith - and the Graham company let me dance it. I love to work with live music, and the thought of performing with a full orchestra behind me is almost too good for my imagination to handle. Add in Ryan and some coaching from a great Graham dancer, and the fantasy is complete.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself, and what would it be called?: Marion Cotillard. “Lady Careless”

What show have you recommended to your friends?: The TV show "Masters of Sex". It is shameless, fearless storytelling with some of the most well-written female characters I've ever come across.

What's the most played song on your iTunes?: Most recently, the opera Dialogues des Carmelites by Poulenc. I saw it for the first time at the Opera Theatre of St Louis this summer and it still haunts me. My all-time favourites are the song “Yo Soy Maria” by Piazzolla, and Edith Piaf's “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien”. So fortifying.

What's your biggest guilty pleasure?: No true pleasure is guilty.

What's up next?: A remount of XIV's holiday hit, Nutcracker Rouge. We begin rehearsals in a few weeks, and open soon after Rococo Rouge closes in November. I'm excited! And then, after three months of that, vacation, and a teaching and creative residency in Sitka, Alaska before heading back to XIV in the spring.

For more on Laura, visit Lauracareless.com and Alchemyfornomads.wordpress.com. For more on Company XIV, visit http://CompanyXIV.com

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