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BWW Blog: Tara Folio - Giulia Dunes's Balancing Act

At the beginning of the summer, I thought that moving from Atlanta to New Hampshire was a huge feat, but my "journey" is chump change compared to the distance Giulia Dunes has traveled in order to be at Interlakes this summer. Giulia Dunes is a native of Holland, who is quickly learning how to become a native New Yorker. This summer she is taking on the huge task of Assistant Directing a show that she is performing in, while simultaneously rehearsing for her lead role in the next show of the season. Did you follow that? Me neither. Let me break it down. Giulia is performing as "Missy" in 9 to 5 while rehearsing for her role as "Ulla" in The Producers. The constant character switch is enough to give anyone an identity crisis, and on top of that, English is not Giulia's first language. I had to sit down and talk to her to find out how she handles all of this insanity and chaos with such grace.

T: So Giulia, how did you end up at Interlakes for the summer?

G: "David, who is the choreographer and director for 9 to 5, was also my Stage Manager for my showcase in New York. He told me that Interlakes was doing 9 to 5 and The Producers and asked me if I wanted to audition, so I sent in a video. I was accepted, and on top of that, he asked me to assist him in directing, which is a huge opportunity for me. I said 'yes', and here I am!"

T: What would you say is the most challenging part of the season?

G: "I think for me, because I such a structured person, I like to know that I have eight hours of sleep, and that I have my meals prepared, and all that stuff, but you have to let that go. In Summer Stock anything can happen. For me, it was hard to just let go and let things happen however they come to you, which is a big learning point for me. In the real world outside of Summer Stock, it's not always going to be how you want it to be. Let go of being a perfectionist and just enjoy it."

T: You are multitasking in a huge way by rehearsing for The Producers during our performances of 9 to 5. You step off stage as "Missy" and use the act break to practice as "Ulla", which is insane! Is it hard to find the balance?

G: "It's really funny because you step into one show at the beginning of the night, and then all of a sudden I'm 'Ulla' during the break. I'm actually enjoying it because it means I get some more time with the director one-on-one. I'm just lucky that in 9 to 5 I just have one part, and I'm the Assistant Director, so there's not really that much that I need to think about to do that show. For now, I can handle it, but it's exhausting!"

T: What made you want to pursue theatre here in America?

G: "It's funny, right? They say 'the grass is always greener one the other side'. America, and especially New York, has always been the city of dreams, and I really truly believe in dreams. If you want them to come true, you have to pursue them, and they will happen. So, that's what I told myself, and I packed my bags and moved to New York. I felt like I was really able to be who I wanted to be. Holland has a great theatre scene, but I felt like I needed to tone it down a little with my dreams and aspirations in order to fit into that world. In New York, you are encouraged to dream as big as possible, and to just do it. My mentality just fits to New York and to America."

T: You mentioned that English is not your first language, is that a challenge when you constantly have new scripts to learn?

G: "Yes, it is challenging. It's getting better and better, but my initial thought is still a split second of Dutch. I'm very bad at cold readings because I get the text, and I just need a little more time to translate and get it into my system. But, I have to say that all of the musicals that are written...that are good, if you translated them to Dutch, it's horrible. Musicals are made to be in English. Even if you look at it technically with vowels, we have different vowels, and in the end you need to belt your face off with, like an 'e' vowel. Those kinds of things are hard, but I love English, it's beautiful, you can express yourself in so many different ways."

T: What is next for you after we close The Producers?

G: "Well, somethings that I can't say out loud yet because there's not a signature on a contract; I can't tell, but those things are exciting. I'll probably be singing the soundtrack of a movie for a young movie maker, which I love. This is his third movie, but you get to work together and try things for the first time. I'm really enjoying just doing different things. Here, I am doing real musical theatre, then it will be just my voice that is used, and maybe some modeling in between. I really like accessing those different things within myself."

T: What are some of your long-term goals that you want to achieve?

G: "This is always tricky because you have to compare reality and big dreaming. My parents always taught me to dream big, so I would love to be in a movie; it doesn't have to be a big movie, just a part that really speaks to me. My biggest dream, of course, I have to say being on Broadway. Hopefully everyone would say that. I'm really in it for the actual work, whether that is on the corner of the street or on Broadway. The essential thing of it, that's what I want to do, so yes, I should say my long-term would be Broadway because I could reach so many people. What I am doing right now, keeping myself busy with different things, and just being creative in musicals, singing, and dancing, that makes me very happy."

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Tara Folio is a senior B.F.A. Musical Theater student at Auburn University.  A theater enthusiast from a very early age, she has been performing since (read more...)