Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Spotlight On...Aya Aziz

Name: Aya Aziz

Hometown: New York City

Education: Brandeis University, Hunter College

Select Credits: Author and Composer of Sitting Regal by the Window at the Metro Al Madina theater in Beirut, Lebanon and at the New York International Fringe Festival.

Why theatre?: Life is theater! And I think the stage helps me better understand it. The stage is where I connect with people. It carries its own power and can shut down parts of my consciousness. I feel it enters me into some kind of flow where I can just “be” or “become”, and whatever happens, happens. It’s hardly perfect but oddly more honest than I can often comprehend. I also desperately want to believe that theater can create space for conversations that are difficult to have, specifically by igniting the back and forth that takes place within us.

Tell us about Eh Dah? Questions for My Father: Eh Dah follows a young woman as she tries to grow closer to her Egyptian father and his side of the family. It explores both the freedoms and the pressures associated with living in 20th century North America as an Arab American migrant. The magnificent awkwardness of teenage identities grown somewhere between “East” and “West” make the foreign familiar. Eh Dah? is a solo musical and work of “autobiographical fiction”, as a friend of mine once said. It’s an exaggeration of life moments that have been organized into a narrative arch rooted in personal truths. I’ve taken a whole lot of liberty with how I portray myself and my characters- all and nothing is real!

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: If it teaches me something, anything, it speaks to me. It’s difficult to pin point what specifically inspires me as an artist as just about everything sticks to me whether or not I’m aware of it- be it a melody, a facial expression, an interaction between strangers, the walk of a pigeon claiming his territory, the sound of a cicada in the trees, a compelling performance, a good book, it sticks. More specifically, an artist I look to for guidance as a solo performer and writer is Sarah Jones. I. love. Sarah. Jones. And Guatemalan performance artist and activist Regina Jose Galindo. Her courage and the ingenuity of her work is something I’ve thought about almost every day since seeing a video of her protest against the election of General Rios Montt.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I’ve always wanted to play Gladys Hotchkiss the witty, wacky, secretary in The Pajama Game (I know, but she’s just so fun).

What’s your favorite show tune?: Just about every song from West Side Story.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: If I was in anything with Viola Davis or Tatiana Maslany my life would be made. Just to watch and learn from their craft. Oh, just the thought. <3

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: "22 Down How Many More to Go?" Staring a 22 year old with an equally and uncomfortably expressive face.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: I’d see the Bernard Shaw play, Arms and the Man at the Barter Theatre circa 1950. My grandparents were actors and there in Abingdon Virginia my grandmother Virginia Mattis and my grandfather Charles Durand played across from each other.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Bright Half Life by Tanya Barfield, the play follows a lesbian couple over 25 years. It was one of the most beautiful love stories I’d seen.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Procrastinating with Orphan Black.

What’s up next?: Hopefully an EP of my songs. Stay tuned at https://soundcloud.com/aya-aziz-music-nyc