Geeks A Gogo had a great time watching A Princess of Mars last Saturday, September 10, 2016. Located in the beautiful at Berger Park, the show was quite packed and the mesmerizing costumes and hand crafted set takes you on a journey to Barsoom.
1. What is it like to work with Otherworld Theatre's director and artistic director Tiffany Keane-Schafer, who also turns out to be one of your closest friends?
Working with Tiffany is a dream come true. Her ability to create worlds is truly rare and the ferocity with which she pursues her dreams inspires me every day. Very few people know me on the level that she does, and I feel that this aids us in our director/actor relationship. She is able to provide me with the direction I need to best tell our story. Being an actress is good. Telling a story is great. But transporting people to another world with your best friend is the best.
2. Where you excited to have Michael Bullaro (aka real-life S.O.) to be a part of the show?
I was SO excited for Michael Bullaro to be a part of this show! He’s a brilliant actor and one I am constantly learning from. When I first read the script, I knew he could hit this comedic villainous role of Sab Than out of the park. He has also been a long-time supporter of Otherworld Theatre Company and has been a joy to work with both on and off stage. Furthermore, he loves science fiction stories so I think he’s really enjoyed telling one of the greatest stories of all time. He’s a gem, and honestly, his hysterical performance in A Princess of Mars is not to be missed.
3. Do you see yourself in Deja Thoris (the character that Mary-Kate plays in the production).
I see so much of myself in Dejah, particularly the Dejah we have created for this show. In the book version, Dejah is significantly more of a damsel in distress. I wanted her to be stronger and play a much larger role in the saving of Barsoom. She can be aggressive and mouthy and a little too big for her britches at times, but she is also a princess who is used to having people respect and listen to her without question. For most of the play, Dejah is trying to fight herself out of a corner. She is literally someone’s prisoner for 90% of the story. At one point, John Carter says to her that she’s afraid of coming off like a woman who isn’t strong but she doesn’t need to be afraid of that because she is strong and anyone who thinks otherwise is off-base. I have that similar fear. My pride often stands in my way. Both Dejah and Mary-Kate are super flawed creatures. Another thing Dejah and I have in common is that we can go from irate to terrified to happy to petulant to loving in the drop of a hat. We are both a little nuts.
I feel so lucky to have played both a villain and a princess within the same year! What an exploration! However, I could argue that Countess Bathory was the victim and Dejah Thoris is the villain. I mean, Elizabeth Bathory was just acting on her goddess-like instincts and Dejah Thoris kidnapped a man and forced him to fight for an entire race of people. Who am I to say who is the antagonist and the protagonist?
But to answer your question, I love both women. They are both strong and vulnerable and both exist within my soul. I am glad I get to share them with our audiences- I hope that they find a small home in these characters as well.
5. About your blog, The Fantasy Realm of Chicago - you have mentioned to me before that you've been quite a believer of the "Shine Theory" (The idea that strong and powerful women make great friends, because they want to help other women they admire succeed too – not take them down.).
How does your blog play a role in spreading the word with regards to this?
I am definitely a HUGE believer in Shine Theory, and I think it heavily relates to what I hope to achieve in my art and with my blog, The Fantasy Realm of Chicago. Essentially Shine Theory is that, between women, if you don’t shine, I don’t shine. My success is dependant on another woman’s success. For one, my partner and director Tiffany Keane plays a huge role in my acting career. Her success is my success and my success is her success. I can’t do it without her. Also, Monica, as a fellow blogger, I learn so much from your work! When you are successful, it helps me become more successful. In a way, I created my blog to spread the good word about the fantasy happenings in Chicago. I am so lucky to be surrounded by such incredible women in my life, and I think that the more we support each other and our efforts, the more bad-ass stuff we can achieve. :)
Here's a few pictures from last Saturday's performance: