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BWW Blog: Originally From MILTON

BWW Blog: Originally From MILTON

With rehearsals well underway at the University of Texas, the illustrious team of 'Milton, MI' continues to persist in the delightfully challenging experience of creating a brand new play. I took a moment to chat with Sophia Quiroga, who portrays a struggling poet named Leah, and Dani Consoldane, who steps into the role of Amber, a sprightly college student. These two leading ladies shared insight on their journey of building the universes and personalities of Leah and Amber.

The experience of originating a character is a rather rare opportunity, especially for actors as young as Sophia and Dani. But with the UT New Theatre season, college students are able to explore that specific process. Dani's experience has been a mix of enthused gratitude and bravery. "I feel like I'm the Alpha Amber Clone," she says. "Future Ambers are probably going to be held up in comparison to me. Which is awesome and also terrifying, because I feel like part of originating a role is actually bringing a character to life and cementing who they are." Sophia contemplates the way in which this fits into the theatre actor's experience in the grand scheme: "I think every role should feel new to the actor, not matter how many time this character has been performed. What I think is so wonderful about acting in theatre is that every production is different and therefore even when performing roles that have already been established, the actor still has an amazing opportunity to discover their character as a brand new one and bring something new to the table." Both girls are humbled to have been selected to be the ones to breathe life into these characters for the first time. Dani adds, "It's like, wow, Paz and Adam saw something in me that made them want me specifically to bring this character to life."

Working with playwright Paz Pardo in the room has made this experience different from rehearsing a play that is already published. "Rehearsing a new play is actually so much fun because Paz is totally free to add to or change the script to tailor and develop the characters even more, whereas an already published play can't really be messed with," Dani explains. The actors agree that this makes for unpredictability that encourages exploration. Leah agrees, "It's always so fun when a new scene gets added or moved to different spot in the script and all of a sudden, you know why your character does or says something. All of a sudden, a new discovery seems obvious and I think this specific type of discovery is unique to new work."

When thinking about how this experience has influenced her as an artist, Dani decides that it empowered her to take more risks. She says, "The whole process is essentially seeing if things work. And if they don't, finding a new way to go about it." Similarly, Sophia also has discovered valuable takeaways. "This experience, so far, has really inspired me to be more confident with, 'I don't know,'" she shares. "It's okay to not have the answers to everything right away, it's okay to acknowledge that I may not know, but, if I keep digging, I'll find the answer - and that is the most fun part." Working on 'Milton, MI' has encouraged Sophia to specify a new career goal. "I really want to continue to work on new works and new pieces, so this show has really given me a new career route to pursue! I think there's something new to learn in every production I'm a part of and I know that I'm learning new things through Milton, MI that I'll carry with me as I pursue my career goals." When Dani is asked about how this opportunity will impact her career in the long run, she is ready with an answer: "I expect to win a Tony for my performance when we get to Broadway."

And who knows? Perhaps Dani's prediction will prove to come true. Perhaps this play will someday grace a stage on the Great White Way. But, in the present moment, it is still being meticulously and merrily tended to by the brilliant students like Sophia and Dani. These young artists spend night after night creating this story... and have found that, along the way, they've begun to write their own.

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