Pigpen Profiles: Natalie Payan

PER OPENS TONIGHT! So wrapping up our cast profiles, our nosy neighbor and nurturing nurse, Natalie Payan.

What is your theatre background?

I have been involved in the performing arts since I was two, but my first experience with theatre was in Costa Rica at the age of 5. High school is when I truly immersed myself into the art and now I am a theatre major at Mesa Community College (MCC). Although I began as an actor, I aspire to be a director in this industry. Being Latina and Female, there will be challenges to get to my career goal, but MCC has given me the knowledge and connections I need to succeed. To this date, I have worked with various theatres in the valley such as Stray Cat Theatre, MCC (Mainstage and Blackbox), Mesa Encore Theatre (MET), and now Laughing Pig Theatre. To round out my education, I have branched out to other areas such as Costume Construction, Improv, Stage Management, Costume Design, and Production Management. As long as I am in the environment surrounded by passionate artists, I am happy 🙂

How do you feel about true crime?

It’s kind of funny considering the theme of Per, but I am very easily scared. I am that person that will watch with my hands over my eyes including just enough space between my fingers to see. I find it intriguing enough to sit through, but I won’t do it often. When I read the script for auditions, I enjoyed the story so much that I decided to get over my fear to be a part of the telling of it.

What is a favorite family memory you have?

I can’t pinpoint an exact moment, but I do vividly remember multiple times where all five of us (two parents, three children) would gather on one bed and just laugh at whatever was happening. It was really goofy. I also appreciate that they all come to support me whenever they can to see the shows I am involved in.

What’s next for you in theatre?

I am actually super fortunate this year to have three shows already lined up. I am currently in the process of Costume Designing for Scapino (MCC), Assistant Directing Dangerous Liaisons in the Spring (MCC), and making my debut at Phoenix Theatre as an Assistant Director for Red (BLK BOX PHX)In addition to these productions, I am also the Improv coordinator for Stage Door Players and work at the MCC Theatre Costume Shop as a First Hand. I love to surround myself with as much theatre as I can get, so more shows will hopefully be added as I audition throughout the season #CastMe

What’s something you love that you wish you got to talk about more?

I can talk theatre all day, but another thing I am really passionate about is travelling. By the end of this year, I will have been to over 30 countries across 4 continents. I am less interested in sightseeing and more about experiencing the area as a whole. I’ve spent a collective of two years living in South America and nothing compares to immersing myself in different cultures and getting to know all sorts of people. The opportunity to taste the flavors of every area I visit is also a plus. Last year I was able to combine my two loves and introduce theatre to children in the Galapagos Islands.

Just for fun: Tacos, Burgers, or Pizza?

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Get your tickets now for Per, playing Friday-Saturday nights September 20-28 at 7:30 in the Mesa Arts Center Acting Studio. Discounts available for students, educators, veterans and theatre artists!

April Writing Workshop Tonight! and other related thoughts.

pexels-photo-273222.jpegHappy Friday the 13th everybody. Today is the day we gather with friends and family to go camping at locations where literally hundreds of people have been murdered in the past to laugh, party, and get inevitably butchered ignoring the desperate warnings of your teenage honor student niece.

Tonight is the night of our monthly workshop series, and my fellow board members have asked me to lead one about writing. What a huge, ephemeral topic. I quite frankly wasn’t sure where I was going to go with it. Do you focus on strengthening one concept, like character or conflict? Do you assume participants have written before or are starting from scratch?

Eventually we decided to go with a devised theatre-style approach, which you will see firsthand once you arrive at the Mesa Arts Center Drama Studio at 7:30 PM with $8 or whatever you can.

The real question is, why am I writing a blog post abut this now, mere hours from the event ‘s beginning? “Shouldn’t you have written this days ago to help advertise the event, like you said you would?” my fellow board members will say.

Well, I wanted to use this as a point of reflection: At this moment, I am unsure of how the participants will react to the workshop. I am unsure of who will attend. I am unsure if my lesson plan makes any sense or has any artistic merit.

But I am very excited. I think it has the potential to be fun, informative and creatively stimulating. I spent a lot of time staring at a blank page thinking of how I wanted to express my ideas, and I am really glad I went in the direction I did.

Laughing Pig is all about transparency and accessibility. We don’t pretend to be anything beyond who we are. We are experienced, but we don’t pretend to be experts. We just want to give people a chance to express themselves and have a good time.

Tomorrow I will write a new post reflecting how the workshop went, how I would change it and if any of the feelings I’m writing about now are still valid. Laughing Pig isn’t just the finished product, its every step along the way.

And to that, I think my fellow board members would say, “Oh, so you just decided not to advertise like you promised? Cool.”