BWW Interviews: Laura Careless - Star of NUTCRACKER ROUGE
Company XIV is currently presenting a revival of their sexy hit holiday show, Nutcracker Rouge through January 18th Conceived, directed and choreographed by Austin McCormick, the show is on a limited engagement at Company XIV's new theatre-lounge home, XIV located in Noho. Company XIV's critically acclaimed Nutcracker Rouge is a sparkling reimagining of the beloved Nutcracker tale told with erotic, sensual and opulent flair - a Baroque-Burlesque confection of theatre, dance, live music, circus, opera andsumptuous design. You will be immersed in a hedonistic display of gorgeous and decadent winter entertainment in this unique fusion of nightlife and theatre. The show contains partial nudity. Guests twenty-one and over are admitted.
Laura Careless stars in Nutcracker Rouge as Marie Claire. She brings an impressive background in dance, acting and theatrical performance to the role. A graduate of Royal Ballet School in London and The Juillard School Dance Division in 2007, Careless received the school's prestigious John Erskine Prize for Academic and Artistic Excellence. A founding member of Company XIV, she has performed with the company in many select venues and has also served as a guest artist and choreographer for other productions. Broadwayworld.com had an opportunity to interview Laura Careless about her artistry, her career and Nutcracker Rouge.
We asked Careless about her earliest interest in dance. "My Mother sent me to dance class when I was two. I was a very petulant toddler and was only really happy when I was moving, so it was a way for her to get some peace while knowing that I wasn't screaming my head off. We moved when I was four, and I don't remember the house we lived in before then, but I remember the dance studio in detail. Movement is at the center of my identity and understanding of the world, and dance is the only profession I ever really considered."
Careless spoke about some the inspirations in her career. "My current fascination is with dancers who have sustained a performance career over many decades. I recently turned 30; young by most measures, but middle-aged or ancient in movement-based professions. The professional expectations and artistic approach I trained with are reasonable for a 23-year-old, but are not sustainable for the length of time I hope to be performing, so I am on the search for role models in the field. I love reading interviews with Wendy Whelan, who recently retired from New York City Ballet in her late forties in order to have even more artistic adventures.
Careless also stated, "I also find mentorship in the stories that I love; favorite characters and archetypes can also be great role models and teachers. For example, I play Marie Claire in Nutcracker Rouge, and in our telling of the tale she evolves from an innocent, virginal dreamer into the seductive, sexually mature Sugar Plum Fairy. Every night, Marie Claire teaches me that an open mind and heart are essential to dreaming, while the Sugar Plum Fairy reminds me of the satisfaction that comes with the manifestation of those dreams."
She spoke more about the distinctive work of the company. "Company XIV Director Austin McCormick creates movement with the expectation that performers will fill it in with our own imagination, stagecraft, and connection with the audience. Every performance has a slightly different feel; the work is designed to have that kind of natural variation and daily tailoring."
Carless also said, "XIV performances require great presence of mind and spirit as well as body. They require optimal levels of commitment and investment to be at their best. I love this about Austin's work; it's one of the things that first drew me to it when we started working together eleven years ago. But the fact that there is no auto-pilot button makes each show energetically expensive. If you are not organized about your priorities, it can feel like you are competing in the Olympics every day of your life! And this is not a sustainable energetic model. If a sprinter was also teaching, and rehearsing, and doing their own laundry and maintaining a personal life, you'd never expect her to come in with her best time six times a week. So I have to be very clear about the fact that I am an artist first, not an athlete. Physical feats are valuable to what I do only in so far as they serve my top priority: to use my body to tell a story and to facilitate an experience for the audience. The discipline to be discerning in that way is my greatest challenge currently. It is easy to get into a cycle of physical exhaustion and despair, and I prefer to create a personal soundtrack for myself that is about storytelling and pleasure."
Carless told us a little about her fellow company members/the cast of Nutcracker Rouge."They're amazing technicians, multi-faceted artists, some of the most generous performers in New York, my daily dose inspiration, and otherwise indescribable. You'll have to come to the show and see them for yourself."
We asked Carless about her plans for the future. "Company XIV is resident in our current venue through the end of July. The venue is in the process of expanding, and we have three more shows lined up to follow Nutcracker Rouge. It's an exciting time."
We asked Laura Carless if there was anything else she wanted Broadwayworld.com readers to know. "It is always a pleasure to hear from audience members, to answer questions and discuss the impact of the show. I can be reached through my website and blog. www.lauracareless.com or www.alchemyfornomads.wordpress.com
Nutcracker Rouge is currently being performed through January 18th at the Company XIV's new theatre-lounge home, XIV, located at 428 Lafayette Street in NoHo, across the street from The Public Theater in Colonnade Row. The Bar @ XIV is open for cocktails before, during and after the show. For more information visit, www.CompanyXIV.com
Photo Credit: Joshua Flannigan