Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Spotlight on... Emily Brown!

Emily Brown as "Maria" in Westside Story
at Santa Rosa Junior College, 2006.
Emily Brown


Constance North

Why acting? 

Acting helps me understand everything more deeply. Why humans do what we do, and feel how we feel, and commit both horrific and transcendent acts on a daily basis. With acting I get to delve deeply into the psychology and emotional life of a particular human, to immerse myself in a world outside of my own, sometimes in a real, specific history (a place and time), like we have in this show. I also get to trust a new group of individuals and form a community around the project we're working on together. And the beautiful thing about it is that it only lasts so long, and then the show is over, and we part ways, but every time I leave a show I feel I have gained new friends, new perspectives and new inspiration. It's a constant recycling and a constant development.

How and why did you get involved with SOME MOTHER'S SON?
The playwright, Darren Harned, sent me versions of the script as he was beginning to finalize the second act and complete the play. So I've had this particular show in the back of my mind for some time now. I auditioned, and was lucky enough to join this rock solid cast as the complicated woman who accuses Masha's son of murdering his best friend.

What has surprised, inspired, excited, and/or challenged you most throughout the process thus far? 

It has been thrilling to do some really deep character work with this cast, and watch these people emerge from each of the actors as we work together. Constance has been really interesting because she only makes a single short appearance in the play, but her presence and the results of her actions are such a constant in the telling of the story (no pun intended), so it's as if she never leaves. One of my favorite parts about acting is that I get to feel like a defense attorney for all the characters I play. No matter if they did something horrible, or even just something that's seemingly horrible, I get to look at this person and say--what was it that made them do this? If I can find the answer, then I can play the character without judgment, which, I hope, makes everything about her more interesting for the audience, and the other people standing with me onstage.

What is your favorite word? 


Emily Brown (far right) as "Isabella" in Measure for Measure 
at Oval House Theatre in London, 2009.
What is your least favorite word? 

What turns you on? 
Food, art and laughter.

What turns you off? 

What sound or noise do you love? 
A running stream.

What sound or noise do you hate? 
My alarm in the morning.

What is your favorite curse word? 
The torrent of curses Colin Firth utters in "The King's Speech". I couldn't pick just one.

What is something you want to do during your life? 

Go to the Fes Sacred Music Festival in Fes, Morocco.

Earliest memory of theatre? 

Sitting in Ives Park with my parents, watching Shakespeare...some of the earliest ones were Othello and 12th Night.

Why is theatre necessary? 

I'd almost be inclined it say it's more necessary for those doing it than those watching it. Certainly, as performers and artists we hope to have some positive effect on our audiences, and, of course, the community aspect of a cast, crew and audience joining together in energy to create a piece of art is a huge part of why I do this. I don't know why theater is necessary to the world, or to audiences or even to other actors, actually. It's necessary to me because it challenges me to do my best, it inspires me to acquire knowledge, and it enlivens me to be an agent of color, of song, of creative thought and action in the world. It gives my life meaning, and when I feel my purpose, I am able to transfer that sense of belonging, of inspiration, of alive-ness to others. That's the most important thing, I think: that we all give each other a reason to be excited, to feel understood, and to be inspired to make change.
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Emily Brown (Constance North) is an actor-singer-dancer with a passion for storytelling and performance. Originally from Sonoma County, California, Emily will graduate with a BA in Theatre from Smith College in the Spring of 2011. Prior to receiving her undergraduate degree, Emily completed a number of theatre and music training programs, including the California State Summer School for the Arts as a Vocal Major, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Summer Seminar for Juniors, and the British American Dramatic Academy in London, UK. She has performed in multiple productions with the Summer Repertory Theatre and Sonoma County Repertory Theater. This year, Emily will be involved in the creation and performance of an original work based on the lives such artists as Frida Kahlo, Virginia Woolf and Marilyn Monroe, exploring the artist's identity, her relationship to her art, and the intersecting pathways of artistic and personal passions. Favorite roles include: Maria in "West Side Story", Nancy Blake in "The Women", Sabine in "The Three Musketeers", Isabella in "Measure for Measure" and, of course, Una in Kendra Arimoto's "Shikataganai (It Can't Be Helped)."  Email for casting inquiries.

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