Thursday, May 14, 2015

Spotlight On...Aubrie Therrien

Name: Aubrie Therrien

Hometown: Little Ferry, New Jersey

Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre, Longwood University (2005); Master of Public Health, New York University (2015).

Favorite Credits: Why We Have a Body (Mary); A Comedy of Errors (Adriana); Importance of Being Earnest (Cecily); Twelfth Night (Viola); What I Did Last Summer (Elsie); Eleemosynary (Echo).

Why theater?: I believe in the power of make believe. Especially when working with people who need to grow in some way; whether it be growing in confidence, community or creativity.  Theatre is a powerful tool for the actor to express themselves in a way that real life typically does not allow and, in turn, for the audience to feel emotions in a way that real life typically does not condone.

Tell us about DreamStreet Theatre Company?: DreamStreet Theatre Company is a 501c-3 non-profit that works to increase socialization, build communities and develop creative confidence in special needs--or differently abled--performers.  We are also working to promote inclusion in the arts through our full-length performances and musical adaptations using professional stagecraft and developed acting/improvisation techniques. Our performers, many with varying levels of health conditions such as Down Syndrome and Autism, continue to illustrate this concept with their stereo-type breaking live performances. We are so proud of all of our cast members and hope to continue to support advocacy and advancement for the communities we serve.

Tell us about A Midsummer Night’s Dreaming?: A Midsummer Night's Dreaming is DreamStreet's (very abridged) adaptation of Shakespeare's classic comedy.  We wanted to do something magical and, at the same time, introduce our actors to a genre they have been previously unfamiliar with.  We work with a cast of differently abled adults who have a passion for performance. Thus, each part in this production was adapted to highlight each of our actor's unique personalities and offer them a creative learning challenge.

What inspired you to direct A Midsummer Night’s Dreaming?: I think Midsummer is the most accessible comedy that Shakespeare wrote. It is relatable, it is funny and the language is engaging. It also offers the perfect teaching opportunity for my actors. Think about it; mainstream actors and audiences often have a problem understanding the classics. It is a challenge. However, my actors are now reciting verse, interpreting difficult language and understanding subtext in better ways than a slew of abled bodied performers I have worked with in the past.  Imagine what this does for their confidence, for their self-esteem, and how this will transfer into their real-life social relationships and communities. It is what we like to call "creative confidence." And we think that is transformative!

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Theatre that gets rid of all the kitschy tricks and flashing lights to focus on base, human relationships and all their intricacies. Theatre that makes me laugh; that makes a comment on life. The people I work with inspire me; the actors and my teaching artists.  It's very invigorating working on something surrounded by people who are equally as passionate and ambitious as you are.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I am so grateful to be working with the current cast of characters and artists and hope to add more like-minded people to that mix very soon.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time; excellent book.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Anna Kendrick to star in the movie-musical "The Science of Make Believe." Written and directed by Aubrie Therrien and George Clooney; music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown and Cyndi Lauper.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: The Last Five Years and A Long Days Journey Into Night

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Sandwiches, specifically the Italian Combo from Court Street Grocers.  And Karaoke.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: A Doctor or a Vet; depending on whether I liked people or animals more that day.

What’s up next?: DreamStreet is hosting our first summer series with workshops for differently abled persons in improvisation technique, movement and musical theatre.  In the fall we will be gearing up for our annual fundraiser and musical review and in the spring we hope to develop an original musical adaptation of the beloved children's classic, Charlotte's Web. And, of course, we are always looking for creative collaborators to hop on board and help us do some good.