In every neighborhood, there is someone who makes the Arts a part of their life, and our community. You'd be surprised to discover how many different people use the arts to improve the quality of life in our hometown. EAT MORE ART! VEGAS will feature them regularly in our series "10 Bites."
What kinds of art do you enjoy, create, or perform in?
I'm currently the co-founder and Artistic Director of 'Bard at the Bar' right here in Las Vegas. I'm the primary director of our productions (which I love), but I'm also the co-editor and writer of our scripts. Along with my mother, Ann (who's the acting President of the company and an all-around stupidly talented chemist who creates computer code by day and cuts Shakespearean text by night), we pare down Shakespeare's greatest works from roughly three hour pieces to one hour productions. With roughly ten characters and 9,000 words, Bard at the Bar manages to provide audiences with an up close and personal telling of the Bard's works in a manner that makes them accessible and relatable. We keep the language and the story, but perform Shakespeare's pieces in such a way that everyone can understand and enjoy them. Oh, and I'm an actress.
Why do you do it?
Growing up, my mother actually started a children's theater company back in New Hampshire simply so I could have a place to perform. She along with other members of the community managed to set up Kids' Coop Theater that emphasized giving children ages 8 to 18 from all backgrounds the chance to express themselves on and off stage regardless of pedigree, financial background, or performance training. I not only performed on stage, I learned the production side of theater ranging from running the box office to house managing. I even learned how to direct and choreograph simply by constantly being in the presence of artists and directors. I pursued a degree in advertising and public relations in college, but my heart was always in theater.
When I came out to Las Vegas four years ago with no plan or set job, I fell in with the Shakespeare Institute of Nevada and realized that there was a huge need to make the Bard's works accessible outside of the classroom. I loved Shakespeare and understood his works easily, but I knew that wasn't the case with mine and older generations. While SIN was pushing Shakespeare in the classroom (elementary to high school) I thought that we were missing a huge opportunity in catering to the older crowds that maybe didn't get that sort of education. These works are timeless for a reason and so embedded in our culture and I wanted to provide audiences outside of the classroom with the opportunity to see that. Along with Gregory Korin, we started Bard at the Bar in the summer of 2018 and premiered a shortened version of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' at the Velveteen Rabbit. The response we got was insane and the rest is history.
What’s your favorite production/performance experience so far?
I have a special place in my heart for Mercutio, which I get to reprise this February in Bard at the Bar's 'Romeo and Juliet.' While he's this over the top happy go lucky seeming guy, there's this inherent sadness that comes from a lack of direction and purpose that really plagues him. He's such a deep character and makes an enormous impression with very little stage time and I love getting to play with that.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist, or what do you do when you are "at work?"
I actually have a degree and background in advertising and public relations (with accidental minors in french and theater because I took too many classes). Being from New Hampshire, I worked a lot of political campaigns as well as on AM radio. When I lived in Chicago, I worked at the PR firm 'Two By Four' and then moved on to working at the no-kill cat shelter 'Treehouse Humane Society.' Needless to say, I've had a lot of different experiences throughout my years.
What is an Arts experience that you will never forget or a memorable response to your work?
The most memorable response I've had to my work with Bard at the Bar has been the post-show response of complete strangers and non-theater people saying that not only did they fully understand the performance, but they also enjoyed it. For me, theater isn't just about the actors and artists, it's about the audience. That's why I do what I do.
What would you be doing if you weren't performing, creating, or enjoying the Arts in Las Vegas?
I'm such an animal person and I'd probably be back at my old job working at a no-kill shelter doing marketing and social media!
Name something you love about Las Vegas, and why.
Besides the strong arts community, I really love how there's the 'city' but then there's the mountains and all of this nature that you can easily explore. I'm from New Hampshire initially, so while I enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city experience, I need wide open spaces and fresh air to explore and enjoy.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
The best piece of advice I've been given has probably been from my mother that no matter how good you are at something, there's always someone better out there. You can't worry about other people and being the best, you need to focus on yourself and doing the best that you can do.
What superpower would you have and why?
Is cloning a superpower? Because I'd definitely like to have multiples of me to get everything done that I want! If not, then could I request the use of a Timeturner?
What future projects are you looking forward to?
I'm all in with Bard at the Bar and I'm wicked excited about what we have in store for the 2020 season. Ten shows in ten months and we've got three new ones this season that I'm directing! I'm actually incredibly excited to get 'Caesar and Cleopatra' (a mashup of 'Julius Caesar' and 'Antony and Cleopatra') up and running since the cast is so amazing and it's going to be one of the best challenges I've ever had. That show goes up at the Velveteen Rabbit on the actual Ides of March, Sunday March 15th.
Find out more about Bard at the Bar on thebard-at-thebar.com.
Are you a local artist of any discipline? Do you work with a company as a designer, stagehand or administrative staff? Do you love to experience it as the audience? We'd love to get your 10 Bites to share. Fill out a form here, and you might be featured in a post!