Born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley, VA, I had the pleasure of experiencing Shakespeare at a young age, having the world-renowned ‘Blackfriars’ theater at my fingertips. I remember going to shows at the Blackfriars Playhouse since the 6th Grade, although the words they spoke were “Greek to me”. My high school theater experience was one that many Shakespearean actors and enthusiasts would envy for a few reasons. One, being the strong emphasis on Shakespeare, since my professor, Brett Santry, was a graduate student at Mary Baldwin’s MFA program in Shakespeare and Performance. Brett reshaped the school’s theater into a Black Box Theater, and would have us perform upwards of three full Shakespeare plays a year. It’s clear to me that Brett played a major role in triggering my passion for Shakespearean theater.
This past summer, at Sweet Tea Shakespeare, in Fayetteville, NC, I had the amazing opportunity to get to know and learn from Dennis Henry and Rick Blunt. I could not have found two better individuals who were so gifted and talented in all aspects of Shakespearean theater. After completing the performances for “Othello” at Sweet Tea, I was given the opportunity to come to Grand Rapids to perform for Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company. I have learned so much about myself while acting in Pigeon Creek’s “Midsummer”, “Julius Cesar”, and “Cymbeline”. From day one I felt a sense of camaraderie, and professionalism from the cast, most especially from Dennis Henry, Katherine Mayberry, and Scott Lange. I am most appreciative for their enduring patience for my endless questions about our mutual love, SHAKESPEARE! Aside from the every-day rehearsals and learning process, I am grateful I was able to participate in Katherine Mayberry’s workshop on “Text and Movement”.
Three adjectives that I would choose to describe ‘Posthumous’ would be loyal, sensitive, and questioning of faith. I have come to realize that many aspects of my own personality are parallel to those of ‘Posthumous’. Posthumous embodies all that many of us strive to be in our relationships with others. He is, however, an example to us all that every well-intentioned being can be vulnerable and manipulated by evil forces.
When creating a Shakespeare character, I always start from the inside first. To me, it just feels more natural to start with what I already have and think I know. For me, my best acting comes from the inside by drawing parallels between the character and my own life experiences. That leads me to fully embrace the role, resulting in my sense that I’m not even acting. This is how I make the relationship to the role I’m playing authentic, as well as, therapeutic since I am reprocessing past emotions and experiences. All of this feeds my continued existential struggle to understand the meaning of life…which I love!!!