Saturday, June 28, 2014

Spotlight On...Brittany K. Allen

Name: Brittany K. Allen

Hometown: Houston, Texas - but I really grew up in the bonny suburbs-of-DC (...Maryland.)

Education: NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

Select Credits: The Three Sisters (Natasha, HiveMind Theatre); The Donner Party: A Country Musical (Mary Graves); Jenny Koons' "The Odyssey Project." Also, various productions with Rescue Agreement Theatre and web-series' out the wazoo.

Why theater?: Theater because 1) I enjoy immediate gratification, praise, and attention 2) (pushes spectacles up nose) "We tell ourselves stories in order to live," and combining the visual, auditory and textual applications of this mission just seems PRACTICAL amitire and 3) Theatre's elastic. It can comment on and champion and point at and break hearts very efficiently, and often in utterly new ways. It's a gas. It's more fun and better than most things.

Who do you play in Too Many Lenas 3?: MFA Lena! She's the next season. She's kind of a pretentious blowhard, but her intentions are good. She's earnest, like the rest of 'em.

Tell us about Too Many Lenas 3:
TML3 is an expansion pack on TML's 2, 1, etc. I think this show is neat because it's operating on a lot of levels: the "Lena coven" idea is our very cheeky, self-aware indictment of that whole selfish-Millenials-making-art-about-selfish-Millenials "movement"... but then the piece arrives in space in this highly stylized, thoughtful, visually bizarre language. In a nutshell, this is a play about a group of people who allegedly have no originality, but this lack of story is rendered in a wildly original spirit -- so in a strange way, TML3 has an optimistic take on the state of kids today. I really like this, as a use of irony. Optimism is so nice. All the Lenas are kind of damaged, but they sort of see why...meanwhile, we-the-cobblers have discovered what's funny and earnest about their (our) botched attempts to make things, and have...made something about it.

What is it like being a part of Too Many Lenas 3?: It's ridiculous, of course! But I'm very thrilled to be a part of it.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: The narrative kind. The funny kind. The detailed and present and sincere kind. The bizarre ...brand. But lately, I see a lot more comedy and read a lot more books than I go to the theatre, so: Zadie Smith, the improv troupe Doppelganger. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Joan Didion, David Foster Wallace, Carrie Brownstein, Gary Shteyngart. Key and Peele. Richard Linklater. Tami Sagher and Chelsea Peretti.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: Ms. Hannigan from Annie. Weirdly, Celia in As You Like It. Corruptible ingenues. A lot of people who haven't been written yet.

What’s your favorite showtune?: This question is especially difficult to answer because I am typing to you RIGHT NOW through a veil of tears inspired by the If/Then soundtrack...but I'ma be real, probably something from RENT. Isn't that why we all moved here?

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I haven't worked with most people! Shucks -- of the theatre I follow, a lot of my NYU teachers are making really exciting work -- like Rachel Chavkin, with the TEAM. No, suffice it to say: I want to be in most rooms that feel collaborative, curious, good for a laugh and challenging. And I mean challenging to the Man AND to the Me.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Oh Solange Knowles, no question. And "The Spectacular Now," unless this is taken.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: The last show I recommended to everyone was Dave Chappelle at Radio City Music Hall. Speaking of geniuses...

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: "Swim Club" by The Cave Singers.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Musical-theatre-related crying. Or, wait: Gossip-Girl related crying.

What’s up next?:
Going into fall, I'm working on some long fiction and a few essays -- these will probably be about race and comedy one way or another, despite my best creative intentions. I also hope to take more classes with the Uprights Citizens Brigade, and generate some sketch comedy. I hope to audition for new plays, and finally start that croon-y jazz band I'm always talking about. If you care to find me, look to the Western sky. Or, Twitter: Britt_Kathryn