Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Girl Wrote It: Savvy Clement, Actor

Savvy Clement is performing with Wide Eyed Productions for the second time, having acted last summer in their production of The Trojan Women, directed by Kristin Skye Hoffman.  Savvy attended The National Theater Institute in 2007 and soon after made her way to New York City.  New York credits include: Operation Istanbul, Hamlettes, and Push to Mate (FullStop Collective), Golden Water (Dixon Place), Gardenplays (New York Theater Workshop), The Trojan Women (Wide Eyed Productions), and Over the Moon (American Globe Theater) for which she won a Best Actress Award.
  • You’ll be performing in Judith Goudsmit’s Robot as part of our upcoming production of A Girl Wrote It. Can you tell us some of your initial thoughts about the piece? How are rehearsals going?
My initial thoughts on Robot were, "Wow.  How refreshing. A monologue written for a woman that's not all about being a woman." The character Jona is not your ordinary girl and she does not have an ordinary view of the world. I also love playing kids/characters younger than myself, so I was really excited to work on this piece.

I always know that rehearsals are going well when I forget that I'm rehearsing, and that's exactly what has happened with Robot. The script is engaging and layered and Judy Merrick is a great director, so I've had as much fun working on it as I think people will when they see it.
  • When did you know that you wanted to be an actor? How did you get started?
I knew I wanted to be an actor way before I got up the nerve to audition. I think I was 9. I didn't tell anyone and didn't really want anyone to know, so I would just act out dramatic movie scenes in my bedroom. I've always been shy and I guess I didn't want people telling me I couldn't do it or it wasn't a good idea. Luckily, that hasn't happened yet.

I got started the way most actors do - auditioning for school plays, taking theatre classes, etc.  After high school I deferred from college to figure out what I really wanted to do.  Turns out I only wanted to act, so that's what I've been doing ever since.
  • Who or what do you consider to have been your biggest creative influences to date? Why?
Certain films have always left me humming with energy and a desire to be a part of that community, especially ones with characters I can respect and admire. Million Dollar Baby. The Missing. Girlfight. The Village. More recently, Winter's Bone. Those films make me feel strong, and after I've watched them all I want to do is make others feel that way, too.

I've also been hugely influenced by attending The National Theater Institute in Waterford, CT.  The teachers, the students, the environment, the rigorous schedule and amount of work they demand from you.  That program just breeds innovative and enthusiastic artists and I'm constantly revived when I meet another graduate here in New York.
  • What is your favorite part of the creative process before you perform for an audience? Do you have a particular pre-show ritual that you engage in before curtain? If so, can you share it with us?
My favorite part of the process would be the last few run-throughs before opening night.  (Hopefully) all the kinks have been worked out and the structure has been formed, so you get to play around and explore without the nerves that an audience brings on.  It's also when the butterflies in my stomach start to kick in, and I like that. In high school, my pre-show ritual was to go home and take a nap.  It was great.  Nowadays, the only particular ritual I can think of is the way I put my costume on.  It's my favorite thing to do while getting ready so I try to be really aware of each thing I put on and what it represents for the character.  Besides that I just try to take my time with everything and breathe.  The last thing I want to feel before a show is rushed.
  • Both you and Judy Merrick, your director for Robot, were in our production last summer of The Trojan Women.  Can you tell us a bit about that working relationship and how your experience on that production contrasts with this experience?
The Trojan Women was my first production with Wide Eyed so I didn't know Judy at all.  We didn't really interact with each other in the show, but we grew to be fast friends offstage and I admired her tenacity and strength as an actor. She has a certain way of harnessing power on stage that's really captivating to watch. With Robot, the experience has been just as enjoyable, but in a different way. We definitely trust and respect one another and the way we both work. Things have just flowed very smoothly - it's been like having one really great conversation…where one of you performs it for a bunch of strangers afterwards. 
  • Are you working on any additional projects at the moment? Care to share with us?
I've been saying for years that I want to write, direct, and act in movies so I've finally gotten off my butt and started doing it. I'm working with some friends on a few short films and figuring out what works, what doesn't, and our aesthetic. As soon as I know what the hell I'm doing, you will too. :) 

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