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Interview: Deidre Cochran of SHREK at Artistry Theater

This production runs July 15th through August 14th

Interview: Deidre Cochran of SHREK at Artistry Theater Based on the Oscar-winning, DreamWorks animated film, Shrek The Musical is big summer fun for the whole family! Artistry invites you on a hero's journey with everyone's favorite lovable green ogre! Shrek The Musical is the ultimate fairy tale mashup for the kid in all of us! We'll take you on a side-splitting, feel-good ride about loving ourselves, accepting others, and the importance of friendship along the way.

We chat with Deidre Cochran who plays Fiona in the Artisty's production of Shrek!

How does it feel to have live audiences and theatres back?

Having theatre back is so exciting! I think live theatre is such an important art form as it gives people a chance to experience a story they've never seen or, even better, see themselves up onstage. Not only that, but the opportunity to be in a room with other humans and share an experience. There's nothing like it.

The other layer to this is seeing how theatre has changed since the onset of Covid-19. Many theatre companies are doing DE&I work to ensure theatre is accessible and tells a wide range of stories. We want theatre to be an art form for everyone. There were also many business practices that didn't necessarily lend themselves to work-life balance for theatre-makers. It's been nice to see some of those changes coming to life.

What inspired you to pursue performing?

I was very lucky to have parents who were passionate about the arts. I remember going to see Little Shop of Horrors in New York and being mesmerized by how the actors had the audience in the palm of their hand. I wanted to learn how to do that. As I got older, I saw the profound effect theatre could have on people. It can open their eyes to things they've never seen or learned. Or they can see a story similar to theirs told onstage and feel seen. That's so important and it's truly an honor to be able to do that for someone.

How does this role compare to other roles you've played?

This is my first time playing a principal role, so my approach has been a lot different. Usually I'm in the ensemble so I'm learning lots of harmonies and dances. With Fiona, I've been focusing on a lot of scene work, the character's arc, and the storytelling I'm doing within her songs.

It's also really exciting to be a person of color playing a princess. I think there are a lot of preconceived notions about what a Princess should look like and you typically see the same kind of princess in movies and TV. Getting to be on stage, telling this story, and break the norm of what a Princess looks like has been such a great opportunity.

What was your process for developing your character?

My first step was diving into the script. I look over her dialogue and see if any of the words give me information on who she is. Are there any phrases she says multiple times? How does she interact with other characters? This helps me sketch out some base information. The rest happens through rehearsal. I'll meld together what I've started to create with the director's vision and how the other actors are crafting their characters. It's fun to play off of other actors in the scene and let that help guide some of my choices.

Do you have a favorite song in the show?

'I Think I Got You Beat' is one of my favorites right now. It delves a little deeper into Fiona's story and gives the audience some perspective on what it was really like for her to be locked in that tower. She was up there alone for 20 years! To go through that and still be hopeful and have a positive outlook on life is pretty awesome. It's also when we first see Fiona and Shrek truly start to connect on a different level and watch that relationship develop.

Did you face any challenges with your character or the production?

I think the biggest challenge with this character is that she's someone the audience is familiar with before seeing the show. I wanted to infuse some of what people will maybe be expecting from Fiona but also put my own spin on the character.

How was working with the cast and the creative team?

This cast is incredible. During the first read and sing-through, my jaw was on the floor. Every single actor has these defined, layered characters that make each scene so much fun to watch. I catch something new and funny every time we run the show!

Working with Quinn has been a dream. He's so open to trying new things in scenes so we've had a lot of fun finding out what it looks like when a Princess and an ogre start to fall in love.

This is my third show with Angie and she's so wonderful. When people think of musicals, the singing and dancing usually come to mind first, but Angie really takes time with the scene work so it doesn't feel like the audience is just waiting for the next song. It gives the show such a strong foundation.

What do you hope the audience takes away from seeing this production?

The main message I hope audiences take away from this show is that it's okay to be different. Those differences are what make you, 'you' and you'll connect with others who love everything about you inside and out.

What are your favorite local spots?

We had most of our rehearsal period at the Center for Performing Arts in Uptown. The rehearsal rooms had these giant windows and you could see my absolute favorite restaurant in the Cities: Rincón 38. It's a tapas restaurant and I try to tell everyone I know about it!

Thank you Deidre for your time!

For more ticket and show information, please click on the ticket button below

Photo courtesy of Artistry




From This Author - Jared Fessler

Jared [He/Him] is originally from Iowa and resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He grew up doing theatre and studied music, dance, and theatre with additional training in BFA musical theatre.

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