Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Spotlight On...Tamilla Woodard

Name: Tamilla Woodard

Hometown: Houston, TX

Education: Yale School of Drama

Favorite Credits: Just closed A Midsummer Nights Dream for a new company called MasterWorks, and that was immense fun because we played lots and laughed lots . Also I loved directing La Ruta with Working Theater, an immersive where the audience sat in the back of a trailer as they were being smuggled across the boarder.

Why theater?: Theatre simply is the most potent, most alluring, most fulfilling means I personally have to connect to humanity.

Tell us about Broken City: Harlem: Broken City Harlem is a street immersive for an adventurous audience of 9. There are 5 different tracks all starting in a different location in Harlem, all telling a different story, all in a different way. Of the 5 tracks, four of them are for only one audience member at a time. So one person experiences a Harlem story that may be played by 5 or 6 actors along the way. We have one track for 5 audiences who are made to travel together looking for beauty. Everyone ends up at the park, with a surprise!

What inspired you to create Broken City: Harlem?: This is a concept of Ana Margineanu, Peca Stefan and myself. Along with producer Molly Morris, we are PopUP Theatrics and we always want to put our spectators in a direct relationship to the theatrical experience. With Broken City we had the idea to use the city as our set and create a moving theatrical that followed the particular stories and characters of a neighborhood; that visited the places real people inhabit and excavated the inherent theatricality of everyday life. Harlem is the second neighborhood we’ve made a Broken City. Last summer we were in the Lower East Side. But Harlem is truly a singular place in this metropolis called New York City. It has a very strong identity, pulse and rhythm and the people who call it home are trying with every ounce of their being to hold on to that. There is a lot of inspiration here.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: The theatre that I want, crave, create, cheer for, worship is theatre that makes me feel like I’m there. That doesn’t mean I need to leave my comfortable theatre seat, it just means that it reaches beyond the proscenium emotionally, physiologically, intentionally in some meaningful way. That I feel I’m in the midst of it and that it is for me, with me, because of me being there.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: My list is way to big to put here. I love actors, I love collaboration. Each project changes my wish list.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: The last show I recommended as if I had stock in it, hahaha, was Branden Jacobs-Jenkin’s An Octoroon. It was a production of Soho Rep at TFANA, one of my favorite theatre’s in NYC and directed by Sarah Benson, one of my favorite directors anywhere. And well, Brendon, is a writer who could rewrite the phone book into profound theatre. But really, I’ve seen quite a few things lately that have thrilled me, my list is too Big!!!!

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Well, I used to act. And still do on occasion.  So, maybe I’ll give it a try again if there was a movie about me. I could play me and perhaps rework some of this crazy story.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: Peter Brooks A Midsummer Night's Dream.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Roaming the halls of a museum. Luckily I live near the Brooklyn Museum of Art.  It’s a great place to think without thinking and to gather inspiration without looking for it. I feel overstuffed and deeply satisfied when I’ve spent an afternoon in a museum.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?:  Trying to work in theatre.

What’s up next?: I’m the artistic director or an initiative called Five Boroughs/One City for the Working Theater. We are creating a work of theatre for and about a community in each of the five boroughs. I’ll be supporting the work of some fantastic directors, playwrights as we move towards our first production of the initiative.