BWW Blog: Amanda Grillo - Getting to Know You: Theatre Ice Breakers
Making friends is not always easy for people. Sometimes you just can't think of the right conversation starter. Sometimes you crave a more interesting introduction at a table read or meet up than "Name, Role, Fun Fact about yourself". If you're like me, you don't know what fact about yourself would be considered fun. You can learn a lot about someone as a person and as a performer if you just ask the right ice breakers. I've learned more about cast mates and fellow crew members from talking to them and asking these questions than any random fun fact could ever bring me. These are a few favorites of mine, including answers from yours truly (Because why not take this opportunity to introduce myself)! Here we go!
- What is your favorite costume you have ever gotten to wear on stage?
During my junior year of high school at Lauralton Hall, the fall musical was Cats. I was in the ensemble and that leotard was easily one of the best costumes I ever got to wear on stage. We got to wear these awesome fur accent pieces, elaborate makeup, and wigs. My wig looked like a mullet, so my jellicle name was "Billy Ray Catrus".
- What is the role you are most proud of?
The role I am most proud of was my portrayal of Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream with the West Haven Council on the Arts/Theatre West last summer. This was my first Shakespeare play as well as one of the larger roles I have had. I have played mostly ensemble roles in the past, which required me to make my own back story in rehearsal preparation with only a few given circumstances to follow. In regards to Helena, I had many more given circumstances to help guide my character development to show how dynamic of a character Helena truly is throughout the course of the play.
- If you could play one role the rest of your life, regardless of type casting or age limitations, who would it be?
Without a doubt, my answer is Rosie from Mamma Mia. She is such a fun loving, shameless character. She is an absolute dream role of mine and I strive every day to be the best I can, so one day I will be at the level I need to be to do the role justice.
And who wouldn't want to get to know their crew as well? I got my start in theatre as tech crew and still have an undying love for everything that happens behind the scenes to put a show together.
- Do you have a dream show to direct? If so, what?
My dream show to direct would be Craig Sodaro's 'Til Death do Us Part. This was the show that gave me my start back stage and in theatre in general. I owe a lot to this show. I've grown a lot from being a stage hand in sixth grade. I feel getting to direct this show would help to bring it full circle as a part of my theatre career.
- What is your favorite part of tech?
My favorite part of tech is the collaboration that takes part in the design process. The director's vision is created and designers have the role of helping to submerge actors into this world that they live in for the duration of the play.
- What's the weirdest/most annoying thing an actor has ever done backstage?
I once had an actor pose the challenge of always trying to hide when I would give the 15, 10, and 5 minute call. Whenever I made my rounds I always saw a quick blur of their colorful costume sneak by attempting to dodge me as quickly as possible. Since I had to make sure that all actors knew when I would make the calls, I had to start making my presence less obvious, so that I could pop up to give the call before they ran.
You learn so much about a person and about life if you just ask the right questions. Bonding in a cast and crew is honestly one of the most important parts of a successful production. Everyone doesn't have to be the closest of friends, but these ice breakers can open a line of communication for trust that is needed to go in a show. I'm finishing my sophomore year at the University of New Haven and I learn new things about classmates and professors every day. The answers are out there. You just have to ask the right questions.
Join me for the adventures of a theatre major as we explore tech week survival, juggling school work, and a behind the scenes look at University of New Haven productions!
Coming soon: The Theatre Bug Infects the Campus