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Meet the Cast: Arielle

Hey Pigeon Creek supporters! It’s been a crazy long time since I’ve done a show here so I thought I’d start off by reintroducing myself. First of all I’m originally from Detroit. I studied theatre at Grand Valley State University, which is where I first got involved with pigeon Creek. After graduation I left Michigan in pursuit of a professional acting career. Since then I have received an MFA in Acting at Western Illinois University. It’s great to be back here for the summer performing in the original practice style before I’m off again to work with Milwaukee Repertory Theatre.

Since leaving Michigan I have worked with multiple theatres around the Midwest. I’ve worked with Tent Theatre of Springfield Missouri in You Can’t Take it with You as Rheba. At McLeod Summer Playhouse I played Ronny in Hair and Mrs. Greer in Annie. I have also toured with Madcap, a children’s puppet theatre based out of Cincinnati. It was a great experience working with all of these theatres but I think my favorite role is Queen Margaret in Henry VI 1, 2, & 3 at Western Illinois University. It was completely exhilarating playing a fierce queen like Margaret. I also got to wear a leather and chain male dress and that’s not too shabby either!

While it seems like my free time is often taken up by reading plays, I also love spending time making music and art. I would also never turn down a night of board games with friends. Fun facts about me? I’ve studied Japanese and have been to Japan. I’m a bartender and a bit of a beer connoisseur (which makes Grand Rapids a great city for me). I also very much enjoy weight lifting. Real girls lift heavy!

Alright! I’m officially a person! Now, in the Winter’s Tale my main character is Perdita. I think she’s a great ingénue. She’s witty, rational, and sports a weird combination of grace and awkwardness. Even though Perdita has been raised as a shepherd’s daughter, there is something inherently regal about her bearing that no one can quite understand, including her I believe. I think her brilliant use of rhetoric makes her stick out like a sore thumb in her community. But of course, being with Florizell, she is constantly reminded that she doesn’t fit with the nobility either. Throughout the play Perdita is constantly showing her self-worth and no one knows what to do with her; except for Florizell. He does the smart thing and loves her unconditionally for it. Perdita has a keen understanding of the way the world works in a way that Florizell does not. Even throughout her courtship with him she keeps a level head and calculates the possible consequences of their romance. She’s no Juliet. She knows better to run in blindly into something and expect things to instantly work out. I very much like that about her.

It’s fun working on the physical and vocal characteristics of Perdita. She’s young and bright. There’s a lightness to her. With her, I see a floating flower petal in the wind. She’s technically incomplete but she still has a beauty all her own. I think that movement should show when she’s dancing or having a happy moment with Florizell. I think the lightness of the floating petal image should be present in her voice as well. It’s an alternative to just thinking I should sound young. I’m also considering what kind of mannerisms she could naturally share with her brother Mamillius, whom I also play. I’d like to make some little connection between them.

It is an interesting process developing a Shakespearean character. When it comes to Shakespeare I think I tend to work from the inside out. This is not necessarily what I do with other types of theatre. With Shakespeare I have to do so much initial work on the text and understanding my character’s meaning and drive that it’s just natural to begin internally. Usually I can get a pretty clear idea about my character’s physical presence from there. And of course, having all that figured out, I can carry out my favorite original practice: audience contact. I love having that connection with the audience. They make soliloquies so much more interesting. Unfortunately I don’t get as many audience opportunities with Perdita as I have with other characters but I have some fun stuff with Mamillius and my other character, Time.

So I hope you all have enjoyed learning a little bit more about me and what I’m up to in Winter’s Tale. I’m sure I’ll see you at one of our performances, bright eyed and bushy tailed. I look forward to it!

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