Monday, October 6, 2014

Meet the Cast of #blessed: Jillian Barron

As we move in toward #blessed, the first show of our second season (running October 17th - November 2nd at the Evergreen Theatre), we thought it might be fun for everyone to meet the cast. Check out the blog every Monday and Wednesday for Q and A's to help you get to know our company a little bit better!

Jillian Barron - Dana

Hello! What's your name, and what's the role you are playing in #blessed? 

My name is Jillian Barron and I'm playing the role of Dana.

Where are you from ? What do you consider to be your hometown?

I'm from Illinois, and I consider my hometown to be Herrin even though I've moved throughout the state.

What first drew you to acting?

My mom wanted my brothers and I to do some sort of summer camp my eighth grade year. There was a theatre one going on, so I said "That one, let's do it." and now I'm doing plays all the time [laughs]!

Where did you receive your training?

I got my bachelor's degree in theatre performance from Union University.

Who were your mentors? Who do you admire and look up to, either on-stage or in all aspects of your life?

For theatre and acting, I look up to Kevin Anderton. He was a professor of mine at Union, and I also did several shows under his direction. He expanded my approach to acting in ways that I had never even considered. Other than acting, my parents are huge influences on me when it comes to working hard and doing the best at whatever it is I'm doing.

What's your favorite part of the theatrical process?

I love rehearsal [laughs]. I love being able to just dig in and find all the little details in every aspect of whatever show is going on and just getting to explore and try all kinds of things, whether they work or not. I mean I love performing, but once you are performing it's set in stone and I love that part when you're just discovering what is going on.

What's your least favorite part?

Memorizing lines [laughs]. Followed closely by tech rehearsal.

What are some of your favorite past roles?

Catherine in Proof is a definite favorite. Gertrude McFuzz in Seussical, the musical was so much fun. And my role in The Visit, I was The Professor, and it was a very challenging role, so it helped me grow a lot.

How would you define your style. What do you like to focus on as you prepare a character?

I don't think at this point I have a definite approach. I start by just going through the lines and approaching it like I would if it was just me, like if I was just saying that, and from there I try to discover "Who is this person?" because they aren't me. They might be similar to me, but they're not me. So from there I start finding all the different shades and colors to who they are as a person... or an animal... or whatever it is I'm playing [laughs].

When you're not working with Threepenny Theatre, how do you spend your time?

Work... and yoga... and canning food... and that's it [laughs].

How do you like the Threepenny process?

I love it. It's very different from anything I've done here. It reminds me a lot actually of a troupe I was in under Kevin Anderton, in that it was actors doing their own plays for themselves: artists doing art because they love it, not for the sake of "well, we need to get this many people in the seats" or "we need to be sure to make this much money" or "we need to make sure we win these awards and are recognized for this." We're just doing it because we love to do it, and I think it's very freeing in that sense, and you get a lot of great talent that you can work with and just work off of each other and just grow stronger. I love it.

The "Big" Question: why do you continue to do what you do onstage, and once you are all said and done, what would you like to have accomplished with your art, not just in this show, but in your life?

For me, on maybe the most basic of levels, it's a great emotional release because in so many aspects of our life you have to be a certain "face". You have to be "pleasant". You have to be "happy". You can't really show everything else that is going on inside of you because that's not "OK" or "PC". Someone saying "You are the face of this business, or this school, or this company." By doing theatre I get to explore all sorts of emotional aspects of myself and also of the human nature that I otherwise wouldn't get to fully experience.

Big picture, throughout my career I would love to have been able to give enough for other people to take what I have given artistically and keep going with it. Whether that's in direct contact in a play, like just being able to give a fellow actor something to keep playing with and to remember and use with somebody else. Indirectly, for someone who sees something I was in, I want to give them something to take with them: to give them a little grain of something that makes them think.

Anyone you'd like to send some love out to?

Shout out to mom and dad, I love you. Colt Dixon, you keep me grounded. Heather Nicholas, you keep me alive for theatre. Mike and Davis, you help feed me [laughs]. And anyone else who takes the time to say "hello" [laughs].

Always be closing. Any final words to people about #blessed?

It is a really fun, modern interpretation of a timeless classic.

 And to wrap up, some quick-fire "Inside the Actor's Studio" questions!

What is your favorite word? Knickerbocker
What is your least favorite word? Decision
What turns you on: creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Hans Zimmer
What turns you off? P.C. bologna
What's one thing you love about Memphis? Overton Square
What sound or noise do you love? a wooden bat hitting a baseball
What sound or noise do you hate? ice cubes rubbing together
What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt? Yoga instructor
What profession would you not like to do? Tax accounting

Finally, if Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
"Good job" [laughs]

Thank you, Jillian. Check the blog on Wednesday for another interview!

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