by Katie Berger
Hello FreeFall fans!! I hope that if you haven’t been able to see Mame yet that you have your tickets because they are going fast! This production has an all-star cast full of veterans and new faces alike. This week, I have the pleasure of introducing you to my good friend Maya! Maya plays various roles in the show and is fantastic as all of them. I was able to ask her some questions about this experience — her very first at FreeFall!
1. How did you find out about freeFall?
I became aware of freeFall through their production of The Burnt Part Boys last season. My partner, Nick Lerew, was playing the part of ”Jake,” and through him I was able to hear about the process of creating that show, and how it seemed to be hitting audiences in a meaningful way. Nick told me how much he was enjoying working at this small, innovative theatre in St. Petersburg, and so we made plans to
attend the 2014/2015 season auditions. While we were down here for the audition, we got a chance to see One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,
which confirmed for me every good thing Nick had said about this theatre.
2. What’s your favorite part about working here?
I love the transformative nature of the black box space. The most interesting, innovative theatrical decisions often come out of having to problem solve, or having the typical avenues stripped away. The basic limitations of an intimate space force imagination to the forefront, and then possibilities are truly endless. I think the artistic team at freeFall really understands the unique magic of theatre, and they continue to push themselves to explore the boundaries of what can be done artistically. It’s an incredibly inspiring atmosphere to create in, and as an actor, I’ve felt encouraged to challenge my own ideas of what I can do.
3. What is something unique to St. Pete that you love?
I grew up in the Midwest, so my favorite part of living in St. Pete is the access to all kinds of spectacular wildlife! I love taking long walks here and stopping to notice all of the different plants and lizards and birds and insects! I can spend hours and hours at the beach swimming and studying seashells. When it comes to nature, I have an insatiable curiosity. Yesterday I went kayaking in Fort DeSoto, and it was such a magical experience! We came up on a manatee who was having a lovely mid-day float, and it brought me to tears.
4. What is a show you would like to see done on the freeFall stage?
I’m really looking forward to this upcoming season, because so many of the pieces I would love to see on the freeFall stage are in the works! I was at the season announcement party in February, and as Eric presented each show, I got more and more excited…The Importance ofBeing Earnest (with Zombies!), Peter and the Starcatcher, Mr. Burns, a post-electric play, Light in the Piazza! I don’t think I’ve ever beenmore inspired by a single theatrical season. Other than those shows, I would love to see a freeFall production of a Chekhov play, perhaps Three Sisters or Uncle Vanya. Chekhov’s stories are meant to be seen close up, and the emotional lives of the characters should seep into the skin of the audience. That’s when they are the most alive, and the most dangerous.
5. Can you share a funny moment that has happened onstage during MAME?
In our show, Younger Patrick, the orphaned nephew who comes to live with his Auntie Mame, is played by the absolutely phenomenal Will Garrabrant, who is 8 years old. I get to have a scene with him at the end of the play, which is my favorite part of the whole show, because he REALLY keeps me on my toes. He has an innate understanding of how to be truthful in the moment, and he is also dangerously aware of how adorable he is. He likes to watch my face for how his lines land on me, and if I’m near laughter, push it just a tiny bit further. More often than not, we end the scene in giggles, which is really lovely and such a great way to close a show all about celebrating life and living to the fullest.
Thanks Maya!! I hope that all of you get a chance to see Maya and the rest of this phenomenal cast in MAME, closing August 9th!