Pigpen Profile

Pigpen Profiles: Shake-Smash Ensemble Pt. 2

We’re back with the second half of our ensemble, four performers directed by Artistic Director Taylor Moschetti, tackling six shows: The Role of the Actor, Frost/Macbeth, The Petition, Pray for Us! They Sent Jim Cantore, The Ills We Do, and Hamlet’s Revenge!

Erin Coté

Bailiff- The Petition

Elaine- Pray for Us! They Sent Jim Cantore

Mona- The Ills We Do

•What is your performance background?

Been acting since I could walk. graduated with a BFA from the University of Montana. Studied at The Groundlings and A Noise Within. Will perform any change I get!

•What is your favorite Shakespeare play?

Romeo and Juliet (it’s perfect. I’m a sucker for romance)

•Which of your characters do you most relate to?

I enjoy the bailiff’s relationship with the Doge. I love playing a sidekick. I imagine myself at the little king from Alice in Wonderland or the little laughing creature next to Jabba The Hut.

•Which do you prefer: Comedy or Tragedy?

Comedy

•What is a favorite quote from one of the shows?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

•Completely unrelated: What is your favorite kind of pie?

My mom’s sugar pie. It’s so effff……efffffffffffff….. darn delicious. Also pumpkin and chocolate.

•What is one thing people should know about you?

I love Harrison Ford. Probably too much. 

Leonard Muhammad

Macbeth- Frost/Macbeth

Doge- The Petition

Ghost- Hamlet’s Revenge

What is your performance background?

I’ve been training for the past 3 years. I started with Meisner training. The studio I train with now teaches Method acting. I learned acting in grade and middle school, and decided to return a few years ago.

What is your favorite Shakespeare play?

Othello.

Which of your characters do you most relate to?

Probably the Doge. I relate to his arrogance and laziness.

Which do you prefer: Comedy or Tragedy?

When it comes to classical plays, tragedies.

What is a favorite quote from one of the shows?

“How did I father such an idiot?”

Completely unrelated: What is your favorite kind of pie?

Pizza (yes, it’s a pie).

What is one thing people should know about you?

I am an introvert who likes the stage. (I don’t get it either.)

Aleksandra Marinkovic

Voice- The Role of the Actor

Jessica- The Petition

Emma- The Ills We Do

What is your performance background?

I study theatre and performing arts at Arizona Actors Academy. I graduated from the Torch Theatre in long form improv and have performed with various improv ensembles. I was recently part of my first Shakespeare Festival in a production called “Take Up The Paper” and first Scene Festival performing a Noel Coward piece called “Fallen Angels.”

What is your favorite Shakespeare play?

As You Like It

Which of your characters do you most relate to?

Jessica- The Petition

Which do you prefer: Comedy or Tragedy?

Both, I love Shakespeare and so I’ve come to appreciate a good Comedy and a good Tragedy because of him.

What is a favorite quote from one of the shows?

“In converting Jews to Christians, you raise the price of pork.”

– The Petition

Completely unrelated: What is your favorite kind of pie?

Key Lime Pie!

•What is one thing people should know about you?

I am a huge fan of my fiancé, Ryan! I am so thankful for his patience and for his continued support in me and the craft. We are excited for our wedding in May! 🙂

Casey Anderson

Actor- The Role of the Actor

Frost- Frost/Macbeth

Jerry- Pray for Us! They Sent Jim Cantore

Hamlet- Hamlet’s Revenge

•What is your performance background?

My performance background is entirely with Laughing Pig Theatre, and I’ve loved every moment.

•What is your favorite Shakespeare play?

My favorite Shakespeare play is King Lear. Love that bit with the mirror or feather at the end. Just cracks me up.

•Which of your characters do you most relate to?

I relate most to the character of The Actor. He wants to be taken seriously but doesn’t take himself seriously enough for the respect he wants.

•Which do you prefer: Comedy or Tragedy?

I prefer Tragedy over comedy generally, but man, I like goofing off so much.

•What is a favorite quote from one of the shows?

My favorite quote is probably, The Actor tring to figure out somebody who may have payed Hamlet. He falls pretty flat on his face, it’s great.

•Completely unrelated: What is your favorite kind of pie?

Mud pie! Always and forever will be my kind of pie.

•What is one thing people should know about you?

Something people should know about me: yes, I really am that pretentious all of the time.

Don’t forget you can only see these fantastic shows December 7, 8, and 9, so get your tickets today!

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Pigpen Profile

Pigpen Profiles: The Shake-Smash Ensemble

The first Shake-Smash is right around the corner (if that corner took four days to turn around)! To continue our tradition of spotlighting the fantastic people we work with, we want to profile our whole nine-person ensemble cast for this show!

The ensemble has been broken into two smaller casts that each handle half the shows. The first group is directed by our Outreach Director,Tony Moschetti, and performs the shows The Tragedy of Ravenna Rose, How Much of Me is You, Casting Call, The Tragedy of Beth and Mac, and The Shakespeare Project:

Thomas F. Graca

Painter/Suitor- The Tragedy of Ravenna Rose

Antony- How Much of Me is You

Martin- Casting Call

Witch- The Tragedy of Beth and Mac

Romeo (Bill)- The Shakespeare Project

•What is your performance background?

I’ve been performing around the valley for 13 years in both community and youth theatre and I’ve even been recognized by both the AriZoni Awards and the National Youth Arts Awards.

•What is your favorite Shakespeare play?

My favorite play by dear Bill has got to be Twelfth Night.

•Which of your characters do you most relate to?

The character I most relate to in these shows is probably Bill as Romeo. Even though I didn’t drop out of high school and have never been in a student film.

•Which do you prefer: Comedy or Tragedy?

When it comes to the question of Comedy or Tragedy, I find Comedies with a hint of tragedy, it Tragedies with comedic moments to really hit the sweet spot.

•What is a favorite quote from one of the shows?

The line that stands out to me the most, is “Routine dulls love’s dagger” in the play Casting Call.

•Completely unrelated: What is your favorite kind of pie?

My favorite kind of pie is admittedly Peach Cobbler.

•What is one thing people should know about you?

Something most folks should know about me is that old movies are a way of life. They are the fuel of my inspiration, and the soothing of my soul.

Dolores Mendoza

Grandmother- The Tragedy of Ravenna Rose

Fulvia- How Much of Me is You

Witch- The Tragedy of Beth and Mac

Mrs. Peterson- The Shakespeare Project

What is your performance background?

I’m a student actor.  I had previously only acted in one community play after being in a few high school productions back in my hometown of El Paso, TX before taking a 10-year hiatus from theater to work in retail, then corporate America here in the Valley.  After realizing how much I missed it, I was lucky to be cast in a few roles at Mesa Community College and do some properties and set dressing design work, before most recently being cast in my third professional production as Blythe Donnelly in Stray Cat Theater’s upcoming show, “Two Mile Hollow”.

What is your favorite Shakespeare play?

I’m sure it’s cliche, but Midsummer Night’s Dream will always hold a special place in my heart.  It was the very first play I was cast in (the ONLY 6th grader who landed a speaking part, thank you very much).  The mistaken love, fairies, the trickster Puck, a play within a play… It’s just so fun, a great introduction to the worlds of Shakespeare!

Which of your characters do you most relate to?

There is actually a lot of myself in all of the characters I get to play, but if I had to pick one, I probably relate the most to Jan Peterson in “The Shakespeare Project”.  She’s friendly, supportive, softspoken, underestimated, and willing to stand up for herself and those she cares about when it’s needed.

Which do you prefer: Comedy or Tragedy?

Oh man, there are so many fun parts to both, but I’m going to have to say comedy.  It’s pretty easy to make people feel sad (difficult to make them cry, and that’s SO great when you can do it), but it takes timing, subtly, and skill to make them laugh.  There’s no feeling in the world quiet like making an audience laugh.  I don’t do drugs, but I imagine it’s like drugs.

What is a favorite quote from one of the shows?

All of these pieces have so many wonderful nuggets of prose, but my personal favorites are from the little bits of wisdom Grandmother in “Ravenna Rose” shares that I think many of us need to be reminded of, especially in today’s society:  “Do not fear age, fear ugliness of heart.  What matters?  Are you kind as you are fair?  For beauty lives with kindness, they’re a pair.”  And, “With mirth and laughter, let old wrinkles come…”  Age isn’t something to fear if it is filled with a life of joy, and a kind heart is the most beautiful of all.

Completely unrelated: What is your favorite kind of pie?

Lemon Meringue is the best pie.  No contest.

What is one thing people should know about you?

I am often unnecessarily verbose.

Arielle Hurst

Ravenna- The Tragedy of Ravenna Rose

Witch- How Much of Me is You

Juliet(Krista)- The Shakespeare Project

What is your performance background?

I got my start in acting with the Laughing Pig Theatre, first taking their acting classes, then participating in performances like the Monologue Café and now, Shake-Smash!

What is your favorite Shakespeare play?

My favorite Shakespearian play is definitely Much Ado About Nothing! I still remember reading it in high school and ~finally~ understanding what was being said well enough to laugh at a joke in the text. That moment turned Shakespeare into art that was interesting and relevant, rather than something to gloss over with Spark Notes.

Which of your characters do you most relate to?

I think Ravenna Rose has a really understandable perspective. Our society is so obsessed with beauty and youth, it’s no surprise an impressionable young woman would wish she were forever young!

Which do you prefer: Comedy or Tragedy?

I’m not one for tear-jerkers and comedies at least give me a chance at a happy ending!

What is a favorite quote from one of the shows?

It’s a long one, but I love shade Cleopatra throws at her lover’s wife, Fulvia:

But she, I’d wager, is of some hardy stock,

That can be got all year round regardless

Of climes, wealth, or elevation. Livestock!

That can be roasted, cured, ground or salted!

For any occasion! If I’m a fig, she’s beef.

Completely unrelated: What is your favorite kind of pie?

Hands down, bourbon banana cream pie.

What is one thing people should know about you?

I have a black belt in taekwondo! I got it when I was 14, so It’s a little rusty, but I still like to consider myself lethal 💪

Michael Rodriguez

Ruddock- The Tragedy of Ravenna Rose

Benjamin- Casting Call

Mac- The Tragedy of Beth and Mac

Michael- The Shakespeare Project

•What is your performance background?

My performance history is pretty slim outside of high school, although I have done a lot of shows while in high school. These include 12th Night, Romeo and Juliet, Wait Until Dark, and The Laramie Project.

•What is your favorite Shakespeare play?

Favorite Shakespeare play would probably be Macbeth. It’s a dream role of mine. Which is why I’m glad I’m sort of playing him in this production!

•Which of your characters do you most relate to?

I relate most to Mac. I am very vulnerable to peer pressure.

•Which do you prefer: Comedy or Tragedy?

Tragedy all the way!

•What is a favorite quote from one of the shows?

.“Shmucks, I tell you!”

•Completely unrelated: What is your favorite kind of pie?

Chocolate pie!

•What is one thing people should know about you?

One thing people should know about me is that i’m much more introverted than my characters make me out it be.

Trejon Dunkley

Cleopatra- How Much of Me is You

Beth- The Tragedy of Beth and Mac

Mrs. Label- The Shakespeare Project

What is your performance background?

I’ve been performing since I was 7. Choir, orchestra, drama, film, standup, you name it, I’ve probably done it. I studied film theory in college, which helped me learn not just how to perform but why we perform. The past three years, I’ve been a stand up comic, and I’m super excited to be back onstage!

What is your favorite Shakespeare play?

I LOVE Macbeth. I love works about guilt and crime, messed-up marriages, and just a taste of magic, and Macbeth has it all. Lady Macbeth is probably one of my favorite characters ever in anything, she’s just such a great example of twisted ambition, and what happens when we limit women.

Which of your characters do you most relate to?

I honestly relate most to Mrs Label. I admit, I can be a little “holier-than-thou” when it comes to literature and film, and can get pretty frustrated when I’m surrounded by people who aren’t taking things as seriously as I am. Sometimes it’s hard being a braniac!

Which do you prefer: Comedy or Tragedy?

I think comedy is harder to pull off correctly, but I thing tragedy is much more satisfying. Getting to feel these huge, often dark emotions is so cathartic, and I come off stage after a particularly heavy scene just feeling lighter in life.

What is a favorite quote from one of the shows?

“We are made kin by our betrayal by you/my fellow-captive, and my sister-wife” -Cleopatra, How Much of Me Is You

Completely unrelated: What is your favorite kind of pie?

Cherry!

What is one thing people should know about you?

When I’m not performing, I’m a huge granny who loves to knit!

Check out the rest of the cast tomorrow, and come see Shake-Smash this weekend only!

Pigpen Profile

Meet the Performers: Taylor Moschetti

They say a good leader leads from the front, and that extends to the pigpen! Our last reasons to be pretty profile is our very own Artistic Director, Taylor Moschetti. Taylor shared with us how she connects and humanizes an emotional Tesla coil like the female lead, STEPH.
What made you audition for reasons to be pretty?
I’ve always wanted to be apart of a Neil Labute show because I love the language and pacing. It’s such a challenge.
How do you relate to your character?
She is a fiesty little mama. I LOVE IT. I also possess some of the self doubt and insecurity about my appearance that she is seen struggling with throughout the show.
What do you dislike about your character?
She comes off as unintelligent at points. It doesn’t make sense to me.
What is your favorite part of the show?
I have two, I love when Kent cries over being beat up and the first scene. I love how it starts in such an explosion.
Who inspires you?
I always have such a hard time with this question. Wonderful artists and performers give me life. I love seeing people in their element and doing things they love.
How did you first get involved with performing?
When I was in elementary school, I was cast as Duke Ellington… which I now see, how problematic that was…
What is your dream role?
Tracy Turnblad!!!
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
A good ribeye or Tomahawk… because I’m bougie as hell.
What is your favorite fandom?
All things Harry Potter. I’m a proud Hufflepuff.
What has been your biggest takeaway from this show?
Don’t let anyone else decide your value. And if someone is treating you like you don’t have any, drop them! Bye forever haters. 🙂
Do you have any upcoming projects or social media plugs?
@laughingpigtheatre @borntoeatcupcakes
I will also be performing in Bridge’s upcoming staged reading called The Trauma Brain Project on Oct. 14th.

Also, Shake-smash is coming up! 🙂

Thank you Taylor for your candor. reasons to be pretty opens Friday September 28th at 7:30pm and closes October 6th. Get your tickets today!

Pigpen Profile

Meet the Performers: Clare Thompson

Are we on a Fantastic Voyage-style shrunken submarine traveling through a second-string Peanuts character? Because we just entered the Pigpen.

This time around we talk to recent AZ transplant Clare Thompson, about walking the tightrope of male expectations and self-worth that comes with playing CARLY.

What made you audition for reasons to be pretty?

I had a professor say to me once that I “need to do a Neil Labute play at least once, because if you can make Labute look good you can do anything.” So when I saw the posting for the audition I took it as a sign.

How do you relate to your character?

There aren’t many aspects of Carly that I relate too. But that’s the challenge and the fun part of being an actor, I get to play somebody who isn’t me.

What do you dislike about your character?

Carly is stuck in an abusive relationship. But mainly that she is the male “idea” of how a woman behaves.

What is your favorite part of the show?

My favorite part of show is when Kent get’s punched.

Who inspires you?

I’m not inspired not by anyone specifically, but rather the world that we live in. I’m inspired by the grass that grows through the concrete despite all odds being against it, the couple fighting in the grocery store over almond milk vs cashew milk, by long bus trips with so many lives that are riding together. Nature, People, and our Society is what truly drives my creativity.

How did you first get involved with performing?

I have been performing since my first role as Baby Jesus.

What is your dream role?

I would love to play a character named Woyzeck. A man who becomes so completely overwhelmed by the pressures of society it leads him to kill his wife on the blood moon.

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

Pomegranates, fresh juicy pomegranates.

What is your favorite fandom?

I don’t have a fandom. I try not to get hyper obsessed with anything.

What has been your biggest takeaway from this show?

The people that I have met have been the biggest takeaway. Every rehearsal has been fun and entertaining.

Do you have any upcoming projects or social media plugs?

I’m shooting a movie in LA in November but can’t release any information at this time!

IG: @starvinglittleartist

Thank you Clare for your candor. reasons to be pretty opens Friday September 28th at 7:30pm and closes October 6th. Get your tickets today!

Pigpen Profile

Meet the Performers: Andre Johnson

Knock knock.

Who’s there?

Andre.

Andre who?

Oh, you are about to find out my buddies. We’re back with our next reasons to be pretty pigpen profile!

This time we have Andre Johnson, who will be playing our favorite small town alpha male: KENT.

What made you audition for reasons to be pretty?
Tony contacted me about auditioning. It sounded fun and I like Tony, so I decided to attend.
How do you relate to your character?
I don’t, haha. At all. Kent is pretty much the polar opposite of who I am as a person. I do enjoy baseball though.
What do you dislike about your character?
Literally everything. He cheats, he’s two-faced, he values people based on what they contribute to his own status, he’s super misogynistic, he’s hyper-masculine… He embodies pretty much everything I hate.
What is your favorite part of the show?
Probably when I’m describing Crystal to Greg and describing the color of her eyes in the most inept way possible.
Who inspires you?
Among people I know personally, definitely my mother. She’s a fantastic role model and a powerful person. When it comes to celebrities and that kind of folk, I really like Terry Crews, and the Internet personalities I follow most are the Game Grumps, who are pretty much living my dream every day.
How did you first get involved with performing?
A drama class in middle school got me interested, but what solidified it was taking drama classes in high school. A teacher from one such class was directing a school musical, and she offered me a role 2 weeks before opening, and I took it and loved the experience, so I just ran with it.
What is your dream role?
Seaweed from Hairspray would be so much fun, or George Washington or Aaron Burr from Hamilton. But then I’d have to learn how to actually sing.
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
Probably spaghetti. Or juice, if that’s an option. If I could be guaranteed to get all my required vitamins and nutrients and not get canker sores every day of my life, I would just drink juice forever.
What is your favorite fandom?
That’s tough, a lot of fandoms are kind of awful… I guess the Marvel Cinematic Universe fandom? They’re generally pretty agreeable and don’t gang up to bash people or nothing.
What has been your biggest takeaway from this show?
So many issues could be resolved with open and honest communication.
Do you have any upcoming projects or social media plugs?
Not at the moment. I am trying to force myself to write and record a video series about the psychological impacts of video games and media, which I’m going to upload to my YouTube channel CascoreGamer. As might be expected, it’s entirely video game related stuff, and lately I’m attempting to branch out into more thoughtful content than I’ve been putting up so far.
Thank you Andre Johnson for your candor. reasons to be pretty opens Friday September 28th at 7:30pm and closes October 6th. Get your tickets today!
Pigpen Profile

Meet the Performers: Casey Anderson

This week in the pigpen you will get to know the amazing cast of reasons to be pretty, opening this weekend!

 

Casey Anderson is playing the male lead of our production of reasons to be pretty by Neil Labute. Believe it or not, this is Casey’s first time on stage in a fully produced show. We asked Casey about how such a loving and intelligent human takes on the role of GREG, a guy who might think he is more loving and intelligent than he really is.

What made you audition for reasons to be pretty?
C: I auditioned for reasons to be pretty thanks to the generous outreach of Tony, who was my acting teacher a year ago.
How do you relate to your character?
C: I relate to my character in that he can be pretty spineless in his attempt to just please everyone, though I feel he does so in a deceitful manner.
What do you dislike about your character?
C: I really dislike Greg’s reluctance to accept responsibility and to say sorry, even once.
What is your favorite part of the show?
C: My favorite part of the play is the opening scene. It just starts off with such high energy, it’s great.
Who inspires you?
C: The other players really inspire me. They’re naturals that have honed their craft. It’s so great performing with them and playing off their energy. Famous people: Well, Marion Cotillard has just the most beautiful nuanced performances.
How did you first get involved with performing?
C: This. This is how I got involved with performing. In my day-to-day life I’ve always had a more theatrical bent.
What is your dream role?
C: Well, after this I would really, really like to try something with a large cast and one where I have a more supporting role.
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
C: Chips and salsa. Back home in Washington we grow a garden and make over 100 gallons of fresh salsa. At peak consumption I was eating a quart of it a day.
What is your favorite fandom?
C: There’s a subreddit called trebuchet memes. Full of a bunch of idiots making really terrible jokes. My people.
What has been your biggest takeaway from this show?
C: Don’t think you can act just ’cause you think you can spot good acting. It’s hard.
Do you have any upcoming projects or social media plugs?
C: Terrence Malick
Just released his opus, The Tree of Life. Everyone should watch it. Not everyone will like it but it is the closest I think I have come to witnessing The Divine. Very difficult to watch. It challenges the viewer and conceptions about film.
Thank you Casey Anderson for your candor. reasons to be pretty opens Friday September 28th at 7:30pm and closes October 6th. Get your tickets today!

 

 

Pigpen Profile

Pigpen Profiles: Ilana Lydia

senseofwonderFBOOK

Ok, look, I’m not sold on the name either everybody. Maybe I’m forcing the porcine theme too much, I don’t know, we can revisit it later.

For now, we wanted to give you chance to learn a little more about Ilana Lydia, Artistic Director of B3 Productions and playwright of our upcoming staged reading A Sense of Wonder.

I asked Ilana a few questions about her views on theatre, and you can ask her some yourself next Friday, August 10 at 7:30 in the Mesa Arts Center Acting Studio. Tickets are $5 or pay-what-you-can. There will be a facilitated feedback session afterwards, so be ready to share your thoughts and help the creative process thrive!

•What is your theatrical background?

Ilana: I started as a director, being left alone with actors and my first notepad at the tender age of 11.  Luckily, I’ve been able to grow beyond almost all of my first experiences.  I’ve always valued people, relationships, and process over the end product, and so as a playwright, it’s experiences like this that keep me writing.

•What inspired you to write A Sense of Wonder?

Ilana: I had the image of a woman escaping from universe to universe in my mind, then I found her friend, and the rest pretty much wrote itself.  I enjoy science fiction, feminism, and comedy–this script seemed to fall together right across these lines for me.

•What appeals to you about using science fiction elements on stage?
Ilana: It’s not done as often as I think it should be.  Science fiction/fantasy is such a rich field, but many producing agents shy away from it.  I like to watch new ideas, and different worlds or universes are the perfect place to explore these.

 

•What are some themes you find yourself focusing on in your work?
Ilana: Metatheater is my big one–the play becoming aware of itself as a play, the characters understanding they are characters, or the audience suddenly seeing itself as an audience.  I think it’s safe to say that I explore feminist topics, as well.

 

•What do you think is unique about theatre in the Valley?
Ilana: What a vibrant community we have!  There’s so much going on every weekend all across the Valley–you could never spend an evening home, if you wanted.  We’re so lucky to have virtually every type of taste represented in our theaters, from Disney musicals to existential reflections on life.  There are so many opportunities here.  We just need to be sure to help each other along the way.

 

•What advice would you give someone interested in playwriting?

Ilana: Find a writer’s group.  Having to check in with new writing every so often will keep you producing.  Exchange with friends.  Exchange with acquaintances.  Keep going.  And above all, be grateful for whatever practice you have.  It’s an honor to be able to put down your words and come out with a script.

SENSEOFWONDERcast

Huge thanks to Ilana for submitting her work to be read. If you’d like us to consider your work for a future reading, you can share it through the New Work Submissions link. See you at the reading, and until then, keep creating!
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