Individuation by Avah Pevlor Johnson
Hello everyone, Threepenny is opening a new show this Friday when we present Brilliant Traces by Cindy Lou Johnson, running June 19-June 28th at TheatreWorks, 8:00pm start time for Fridays and Saturdays, 2:00pm on Sundays, and a performance on Monday night, June 22nd at 8:00pm.
Brilliant Traces is an short two-person show with a very strange premise. Henry Harry is a reclusive man living alone in the Alaskan wilderness. His isolation is interrupted during a snow storm by the arrival of a woman clad only in a wedding dress and flimsy satin shoes. What follows is an intimate look at the power of trauma and the difficulty in finding real human connection in this world. Let's meet the actors.
|Meghan Lisi - Rosannah DeLuce|
Welcome to the blog! What's your name and who are you playing?
My name is Meghan Lisi and I am playing Rosannah DeLuce
Meghan, you're fairly well known to Threepenny audiences. What's your association with the company?
I started working with the company during Macbeth, when I played Lady Macbeth. Then I was Dido, in Dido, Queen of Carthage. I also handle marketing for the company now, so a lot of times when you see posts up on the Threepenny Facebook page, they may or may not be from me.
What drew you to the company?
I saw Threepenny's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream that happened at the University of Memphis two summers ago (editor's note: and was brought back by popular demand last summer). I saw the Monday night show, which was very, very exciting because I was in a show at that time and wouldn't have been able to see it otherwise, and I was really blown away. Not just because the actors were awesome, but from start to finish I could see the director's hand in everything. I could see what he had done. I could see the choices that he had made, and I could see the actors not only making those choices but having a great time doing it, and I just thought "I want to work with this company." So I did.
How did you get into acting in general?
I am one of those creepy people who have been acting all of their lives. My very first role was the Little Chick in Old MacDonald's Barnyard when I was in Pre-K, so I've kind of been doing it ever since. It's just always been part of my life. I went to undergrad at Florida State and got my B.A. in theatre, and then after going out into the big scary world of Los Angeles for a while, I went back and got a M.F.A. in acting from the University of Alabama through the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.
What do you do when you're not performing?
When I'm not performing I spend my time fundraising for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Memphis is really cool like that. I get to make a huge impact on the world, and still get to do my art, so that's pretty awesome.
Brilliant Traces: what are your thoughts on this play?
My thoughts on this play are that it is a very difficult play from an actor's perspective. This was something I hadn't realized, because I'd never done a two person play before. When you're doing a monologue or soliloquy, you are in charge of you, and you get through it. When you're doing an ensemble piece with a lot of actors, you're in charge of you and being were you need to be, and you get through. When you are doing a show with just you and another actor, you are in charge of everything. Because if you mess up, even a single word or emotional cue, if you get lost, then there is only one other person there to save you, and when you screw up you are doing a disservice to everything. So it's a very meticulous process, but the play itself has been, shockingly, a joy to work on. I wasn't so sure at the first read. I was thinking "Wow, this is a really strangely written play." The language is very heightened, but once you start getting into it, you realize Cindy Lou Johnson's language feeds into the incredible awkwardness of two people being trapped in house with about 900 tons of emotional baggage. It's amazing how well she captured this feeling of "Well, this is awkward."
This play, when I read it, it just strikes me that it is all about trauma and the nature of what causes trauma. How do you think a play like this is beneficial to Memphis audiences?
Memphis has been through a lot of trauma itself, you know. It's interesting, Michael made a comment in his interview about his character being a walking scar and my character being an open wound. That made a lot of sense to me, but it also makes a lot of sense in relation to Memphis. This town has scars, but we wear them proudly. And I think that part of the process of this play is these two people learning to deal with wounds that they have. And it's a thing that all people have to deal with. And it's Cindy Lou Johnson's ability to capture that idea that, I think, makes her such an excellent writer. She finds a way for two people on stage to strip away their need to hide and just deal with the hand that life has dealt them. And that's something everyone has to deal with in their life: interacting with people while dealing with our own baggage. This is just a highly theatrical version of that common situation.
Any last words to audiences coming to see Brilliant Traces?
I want to say like "Get excited, Memphis. WOOOO," but really this is something Memphis audiences don't get to see every day. Just two people, and Michael's brilliant and Matt's direction has been amazing. Every person who has touched this show has just really put their heart into it. There just aren't too many opportunities to watch two people open up, take a slice of life, and just reflect it on stage. Anyone who's lived though even half-a-minute of life will understand, in some way, what these two are going through, and because of that, maybe understand themselves a little better.
Thank you Meghan! We hope to see you all at Brilliant Traces, opening tomorrow at TheatreWorks. First show is at 8pm, then again on Saturday at 8, Sunday at 2, and Monday at 8. Every show is Set-Your-Own-Admission!