We sat down with the stars of our upcoming production Parallel Lives to ask them some questions about themselves and the show. Check out what they had to say! Get your tickets to spend an evening with them during the run of Parallel Lives: May 13th- June 7th, 2015.
How did you find your way to acting and to Asheville?
Neela: I started as a music major in college because I love to sing. When I got my first job at SETC it was an improv gig. I fell in love with improv and comedy and I knew I wanted to move from music into theatre. While I was studying at the University of South Florida, I met my now husband Billy and we both worked at Flatrock Playhouse. We met Charlie in Virginia before NC Stage even existed…around 1998. Later, Billy and I were able to produce Fully Committed at NC Stage in 2004. We have both been longtime friends and fans of NC Stage.
Nichole: I have been acting since I was about 9 years old. I stuck with it in college, majoring in theatre and then I went to graduate school. I am excited to be doing what I love! I have been based in Atlanta for about a year now, but I have always been intrigued by Asheville and I love the seasons of theatre that NC Stage puts together. At my audition, Charlie recognized Tim Altmeyer on my resume, my acting coach and Charlie’s old graduate school friend. This is my NC Stage, Asheville and North Carolina debut!
What is exciting to you about this play?
Neela: This material really gives me a better understanding of myself as a woman and as an actor. This is my first two person play as an actor. The show is full of contrast, characterization and comedy!
Nichole: I was introduced to this play in college and I have loved it ever since. It can be hard as an actor to find strong female characters and this play is nothing but. I knew I wanted to be involved!
How do you approach working on a comedy?
Neela: Well, in many ways it is the same as working on any production. You have to discover what makes the characters tick…what do they want? After a while you realize, oh I know this person or I have seen that person before. I also like to splat out weird ideas and just see what sticks. I come from a family of misfit toys. We love comedy. In fact my twin brother and I used to have these comedy-off competitions where we would try to get my older brother to squirt milk out of his nose. My twin brother ended up in theatre too!
Nichole: Big faces and getting laughs (she says dryly.) No really, you have to play the character’s intent and find the rhythm.
What makes this show relevant?
Neela: With any kind of inequality there needs to be a voice to say so and in this case you get to laugh in the process!
Nichole: I feel like there is this female movement that has been hibernating for a while, but it is picking up steam again. I was really blown away by the Patricia Arquette Oscar Speech. I think this show is echoing these feelings of empowering women. There is more awareness now.
Why should someone come see this show?
Neela: Because I’m in it….(laughs). Okay really- It’s a good piece with plenty of opportunities to laugh.
Nichole: It is so funny! You will definitely recognize yourself or someone you know or a situation you’ve been in. It is really a reminder to laugh at ourselves.
Any final thoughts?
Neela: Yes, something profound… It is really important to share and celebrate in the arts. We are a community and life would be boring without it. Come and participate with us!
Nichole: I really love Asheville. I love the backdrop, the landscape and the support of the community! I feel privileged to get to work with a professional company in this community. Come and get a piece if you haven’t!