Monday, June 27, 2016

Spotlight On...Ilinca Tuvene

Name: Ilinca Tuvene

Hometown: Focșani, Romania (although I moved away as a kid and most grew up in Bucharest)

Education: Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute (Two Year Conservatory)

Select Credits: Natasha in Brooklyn Repertory’s Three Sisters (Fourth Street Theater), Anna Square & Princess Soutzo in Robert Blumenfeld’s Interludes of the Heart (The Players Club), Stella Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire, Carol in Woody Allen’s Central Park West, Lida in Alexandru Mâzgăreanu’s Dear Yelena Sergheyevna (The Bucharest Comedy Theater).

Why theater?: I think it’s the only place where I have the courage to fully be myself and explore who I am underneath my social layer. On a less selfish note, it is a wonderful way to give comfort, entertain, immerse someone in a different life for a couple of hours. Sometimes I think our industry is selfish and self-centered, but then I’m reminded that art does have the power to change lives, I know it did it for me many many times.

Who do you play in The Winter’s Tale: I play the love-struck shepherdess turned princess Perdita.

Tell us about The Winter’s Tale: The Winter’s Tale is a very odd play - critics call it one of Shakespeare’s “problem plays” - you don’t quite know what genre to place it in. The first three acts are incredibly gloomy, weighed down by jealousy and tragic deaths (hence the infamous stage direction - exits, pursued by a bear), while the fourth act is a perpetual party and even the serious moments where my lover’s father threatens to carve my face out with a knife have a certain lightness to them, we know deep down that it’s all going to be okay - after all, it’s Bohemia (which Shakespeare insinuates is the land of drunks and party people). In the end, it’s a beautiful story and I’m truly enjoying playing a sincere character who is full of hope and brightness.

What is it like being a part of The Winter’s Tale?: The past month of rehearsals has been a delight - the Dysfunctional Theater Collective together with director Ivanna Cullinan are wonderful, and very welcoming - it’s always intimidating to join a group that have known each other for ages and you’re the outsider, but they made me feel like home. The best thing about it is that we rehearse on Governors Island, where they have an artist residency, so every weekend feels like a mini holiday. Other than that, I am supremely terrified since it’s my first official Shakespeare, but I have faith!
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: When taking the Meyers Briggs personality test, I will always choose the option that says "I prefer trying new, risky solutions to old problems" - I'm part of the millennial generation (yes, I know the stigma) and one thing I love is innovation. I like pieces that express very strong opinions in unconventional presentations. Eastern Europe is quite daring when it comes to live theater - to this day one of my favorites is Silviu Purcărete’s Dr. Faustus, set in a warehouse. I find inspiration in the oddest places, but I would say that firstly I take it from my environment - the wind, an old school New York block, or (if that ever happens again) a long day on the beach. I’m also incredibly inspired by the fearless geniuses behind independent film and theater - they remind me that yes, you can. I have just seen Josh Fox’s documentary “How to let go of the world and love the things climate can’t change”, screened by HBO Documentary, and it was truly brilliant and a wake up call - our world is ending before our eyes, it’s time to stand up and do something.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I've had a long unhealthy obsession with Vanda Jordan in David Ives’ Venus in Fur. I’m not giving up until I play that role!

What’s your favorite showtune?: “Big Spender” (oh, my subconscious)

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I have followed Xavier Dolan’s career since he started out in 2009 and I would die to get to work with him. Luckily, he’s casting non-Canadians for the first time so maybe I have a chance.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Kate Winslet for when I'm being myself, Eva Green in dream sequences when I pretend I’m French and mysterious. “An ode to life”? I’m terrible with names…

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: A year from now I will be saying Hamilton. For now I’ll go with Lev Dodin’s Cherry Orchard at BAM.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Most recently, Ironbound at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Russian Literature. (HA!) No, bad TV, once I start I can never stop. I try to pass it off for work but we all know it’s not really work. And do cigarettes count? Now I think of them more as a necessity and less like a pleasure…

What’s up next?: Well, The Winter’s Tale opens July 10th part of the Shakespeare in the Theater festival at The Brick, with additional performances July 15th and August 7th. I’m also working on a script for a staged reading which we will turn into a short film with my colleagues and friends Natalie Faye and Jessica Damouni - called “Oranges in the Lemon Grove”, it speaks about the grueling experience of feeling foreign wherever you go (whether it’s your home country) and what is the idea of home. I’m also working on a new podcast on acting with the same Natalie Faye and Ran Levy. It’s called Act Three and will soon be available on iTunes!

For more on Ilinca, visit For more on Brooklyn Rep, visit