Threepenny Theatre's one weekend run of one act plays will feature the works of three of the greatest modern playwrights (Edward Albee, Harold Pinter and Tennessee Williams). Today we will meet the first of our actors. This is her second time performing for Threepenny (she previously appeared as Juno, queen of the gods in Threepenny's Dido, Queen of Carthage collaboration with the Opera Memphis's Midtown Opera Festival). She has been a member of the Memphis theatre community since relocating here from Houston, Texas in 2007. Meet Jaclyn Suffel.
|Jaclyn Suffel - Woman|
Welcome to the blog. What is your name and what show are you performing in?
My name is Jaclyn Suffel. I play Woman in "Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen" by Tennessee Williams
How did you first get started performing in theatre?
In elementary school, we did these really strange, almost like canned musicals. They were musicals that were written specifically to be performed by elementary school kids. So I started with those. I played Spots the Leopard and a character just called "The Boss" in a Christmas show, which was my first taste of being a villain. I loved it, and I've never looked back *laughs*.
Where did you get your more formal training?
In Texas, there is a UIL one-act competition, which is this competitive form of theatre that we do. It's a heightened form of high school theatre that requires theatre production on a very rigorous level. So that started my training and then I went on to Southwestern University on a theatre performance scholarship and majored in theatre there.
How did you first encounter Threepenny?
All my besties are in it *laughs*. All of my good friends helped found it. The first Threepenny show I saw was A Midsummer Night's Dream and it was a phenomenal production that was done on a low budget and I was really impressed with it. What this company does is amazing.
How do you go about preparing for a role?
I spend a lot of time with my script. I believe in deep script and character analysis. I take a lot of notes and mark my script up. I really like to think characters through, practicing deliveries on my own, reading the script multiple, multiple times aloud before the rehearsal process begins. Then, when rehearsals begin, which is my favorite part of any production, I quickly want to create a relationship with the director where I can ask questions and we can go back and forth. I can learn their vision and expand mine.
What are your thoughts on Tennessee Williams and this play, particularly?
I love Tennessee Williams. I think he's one of the most amazing playwrights in existence. I think most theatre folks would say the same. Even his stage directions are poetry. The way even the most minute of his details holds weight and has importance. And I think his ability to write about the weakness and vulnerability of humans is accessible in a way that not many playwrights can touch, probably because it so truthfully came from his own vulnerability. With this play in particular, it's a really intense and heartbreaking little one act that explores codependency and two people's codependency on one another.You just get sort of a glimpse, a snapshot of what that looks like on a daily basis and how heartbreaking it really is.
How does it feel to be performing a short 10 minute piece as opposed to a long-form play. Especially considering how Williams puts so much emphasis on creating a mood. Is it more or less pressure?
I feel a lot of pressure, but I think it mostly has to do with the arch of the story being so condensed. You have this very tiny moment to make this massive emotional journey. It means you have to be incredibly precise about everything that you do and there is no room for error and there is no room to make an unclear choice.
Any last words to the audience about the play or the beer or anything else?
I mean, plays are always awesome and plays plus beer only makes life better. In general, I think it's really important to support local theatre. This theatre was started by some local people who just had a passion for doing traditional good, solid written work. Not everyone does the kind of theatre Threepenny does, and we need them to continue producing, so for those of you who come support this and grab a beer... we appreciate you.
Thank you Jaclyn. Check back later this week to meet another performer! And be sure to come check out Threepenny and Memphis Made Brewing Company's Beer Flight Theatre Night, opening August 26th at Evergreen Theatre. One Weekend Only!