Well, having participated two years ago, I can say that my return to Medicine Ball has been extremely positive! As a performing artist, I welcome the opportunity to engage with artists who express their creative passions through visual and written media – and of course the competitive aspect entices me as well! Medicine Ball is all about artists giving artists what they want/can afford: bragging rights…and Two-Buck Chuck.
That aside, I find that the best way to explain Medicine Ball is to say it is a “collaborative experience” – the visual art inspires the playwrights and poets – the written works inspire the performers – and the audience experiences the consummation of the entire process at the performances. This is different than anything else out there, and I’m thrilled to participate in bringing this innovative project to life!
How are you participating in this event? What are you most excited about sharing with audiences?
I am one of the performers on the “Legion of Boom” team…the thing I am most excited to share with audiences is the passion and excitement that we all feel in bringing completely new works to life. We [performers] have NO IDEA what we will be working with until we take our first look at the scripts. There are no stage directions, no YouTube videos to reference…everything is done from scratch. We create the “recipe” for these scenes as we go along – I can’t wait to share our “a la carte” offerings with the audience.
How does participating in an event like this stretch you as an artist?
Most of my background is in musical theater and live music performance – so this definitely deviates from the norm for me. Instead of being handed a book and liberetto, I am handed a short play and a poem. There are no pre-concieved notions, artistically, which is at the same time exciting, and vulnerable. I feel exposed – and I firmly believe that when we step out of our “creative” comfort zones, we grow. No risk, no reward.
That’s got to be Vitamin “R”. Rainier Beer! I’m a Seattle native…I grew up on those commercials, enough said!
This edition of Medicine Ball: Playwrights v. Poets tackles the theme of (D)Constructing Seattle. What is one aspects of living in Seattle that you either love or hate – and why?
I love Seattle – it is my hometown – I love the PNW lifestyle – the mountains, the coffee, the craft beers, the Seahawks, the sandals with socks…but I HATE the traffic. Anyone who tries to get anywhere in Seattle during rush hour, if there’s a game, on the weekends, when it rains, or it’s sunny out…basically anytime between the hours of 5am-9pm feels my pain. And I hate parking downtown. Basically if it involves driving a car, Seattle – you need to get it together.
What do you think audiences will take away after seeing Medicine Ball: Playwrights v. Poets?
I believe, well I hope, that audiences will leave inspired. Inspired by art, creative processes. And hey, maybe make a massive donation to Seattle Theater Works to see more works like this produced here in Seattle! Maybe? Well, I’m just putting it out there.
Can you tell us something about your aesthetic and approach as a writer, actor, or visual artist?
I would say that my aesthetic is to understand the universal theme(s) of a piece – and I use the approach (dialogue, music, dance…silence…you get the idea) I am employing to express those themes through the character I represent, as well as the energy and relationships that ensue between present characters and the audience. What it really comes down to is being open and vulnerable enough to live in the moment, while staying ever-present and aware of the energy-exchange that is vital to live performance.
It’s about the journey…whether I’m up on stage or in a crowded bar…whether the story is happy, sad, angry, scared…I have the opportunity to take the audience with me, and for a moment, we all share the same path. Theater is “live art”: we laugh & cry…and the applause, to me, is an acknowledgement of the collective experience. I love that my art, performing, affects people…there is nothing else quite like it
This is Stephanie’s second time “in the ring” for Medicine Ball (2014 – actress) and she is thrilled to be back! Her favorite shows/roles include: “Karen Carpenter/Laura Danker” in Are You There God It’s Me Karen Carpenter (StageRIGHT), “Magenta” in Rocky Horror Show (Seattle Musical Theater), and “Becky-Two Shoes” in Urinetown (Renton Civic Theater). Most recently, she’s been seen performing around Seattle with some of Seattle’s favorite drag queens – Pride 2015 (James Majesty), In The Drink (Sparkle Leigh), and BangOver! (Venus La Penus). She is currently choreographing ANNIE at Issaquah High School, and will be opening “How I Became a Pirate” at SecondStory Rep in Redmond on Feb. 27th. Her newest venture is as newest member of Shelley and the Curves – Seattles favorite party band – www.curvesband.com
Steph would like to thank Daniel for inviting her back to participate, her Legion of Boom team, writers, artists, Matt, dad, and the support of family and friends who have indulged my (slightly obsessive) creative, artistic endeavors.
Medicine Ball: Playwrights v. Poets plays February 5 – 6 at the Erickson Theatre on Capitol Hill. Friday performance is at 7:30 and Saturday at 7:30 pm. and 10:00 pm. Tickets are available here: http://seattletheatreworks.org/