Friday, February 7, 2014

Wide Eyed in the Field: Amy Lee Pearsall

We caught up with our own Amy Lee Pearsall to talk about the eventful end she had to 2013. Good things are coming up for 2014, as well. Keep an eye on her website for updates.

  • You were named an Indie Theater Now Person of the Year for 2013. (YAY!) They describe their People of the Year as artists that "represent the cream of contemporary independent theater…[who] have contributed in multiple ways to the diversity and vitality of NYC theater in the past 12 months." How does it feel to be recognized by an organization that describes their artists that way?
It's humbling. I'm enormously proud to be a part of the New York independent theatre community. 
  • What did you do that contributed to your receiving this recognition? 

photos courtesy of Boomerang Theatre Co./ Justin Hoch (2013)

In terms of my highlights for 2013, I was a frequent participant in Wide Eyed's "Winks" staged reading series; I played two very different roles in Boomerang Theatre Company's world premiere of Johnna Adams' LICKSPITTLES, BUTTONHOLERS, AND DAMNED PERNICIOUS GO-BETWEENS; I reviewed plays at the New York International Fringe Festival and the United Solo Festival. I went to a lot of plays and fundraisers, participated in last-minute readings, and was active in terms of supporting the independent theatre community. I think that in particular is what this all about: community building. We don't create theatre in a vacuum, even if the work is set in outer space. Theatre – especially independent theatre – is a collaborative art form, and I like to play with and support my fellow collaborators.
  • How did you initially get involved with Indie Theater Now, formerly 
Wide Eyed's artistic director, Kristin Skye Hoffmann, had been doing some reviewing for, and she knew that I am, among other things, a writer. She mentioned to me that the editors of the site, Martin and Rochelle Denton, were holding an open house for potential new reviewers, and the rest is history. Martin and Rochelle's focus on their work has changed in the last year, with priority now being given to the publication and distribution of new plays via the internet on Indie Theater Now, though they are still showcasing opinion pieces on their sub-site, Indie Theater Now is a pretty neat thing, if you're not familiar. It's a fantastic way to discover new voices in contemporary theatre. 
Wide Eyed's "Winks"/ Brianne Blessitt (2013)
Joining the League of Professional Theatre Women goes hand in hand with being acknowledged for my work in the independent theatre community by Indie Theater Now. It's really not about How is this going to serve me or shape me; it’s about being a member of a community. It's about having another opportunity to ask How may I be of service to my colleagues, to women in my field, to the stories we want to tell, and to the world we're creating? In this business, it’s easy to get stuck in the mindset of What can I get out of this? If I scratch your back, how will you scratch mine? but I think that's backwards. You get as good as you give, and really, the getting lies within the giving. I just look forward to contributing as best I can.
  •  What advice do you have for actors who are starting out or need inspiration to keep at it?
There is no shame in paying the bills and putting food on the table. Stay healthy. Just don't forget to continue to generate your art while you’re doing what you need to do in order to survive. There may be days when you feel like you may never work again, or like your own voice is failing you. It will pass. Get out of your own way, because self-sabotage is not sexy. Write the play, mount the show, take the class, upload the video, read the union contracts. We have so much more control these days over our own creative output than our predecessors. There's indie theatre and film, web series, plays in apartments and improv on the subways, dance installations in warehouses, internet publishing...the possibilities are endless. Just be true to yourself, be true to your calling, and make your art. 

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