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BWW Interview: Theresa Thomas of ELEVEN MONTHS OF NUCLEAR SUMMER at DeBartolo Performing Arts Center At University Of Notre Dame

the staff is just starting to settle into their roles at Camp Aster when an unfortunately-timed nuclear apocalypse derails their summer plans and strands them in the Main

BWW Interview: Theresa  Thomas of ELEVEN MONTHS OF NUCLEAR SUMMER at DeBartolo Performing Arts Center At University Of Notre Dame

Eleven Months of Nuclear Summer is running from April 1st through April 3rd at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, located on the campus of The University of Notre Dame. In an original play written by Sophie McIntosh, the staff is just starting to settle into their roles at Camp Aster when an unfortunately-timed nuclear apocalypse derails their summer plans and strands them in the Maine wilderness. As the months wear on and the hope of rescue grows slimmer, camp director Dawn and her team of young employees must fight for survival while navigating interpersonal relationships, decision-making responsibilities, and disaster after endless disaster. This is the world premiere of this show and it is an all-women's cast featuring original music and underscores. We had a chance to interview one of the cast members from the show and here's what she shared with us:

BWW Detroit: Can you give our readers a brief background of yourself and your theatre career as an introduction?

Theresa: I am a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame and am a local of South Bend. I spent my youngest years training at Southold Dance Theater in ballet and other styles while performing in beloved ballet classics such as The Nutcracker, Don Quixote, and Sleeping Beauty. My first theatre performance was as a jet in West Side Story and my other roles include Esmeralda in Hunchback of Notre Dame, the Minstrel in Something Rotten, and Cosette in Les Miserables.

If this is your first show back since the covid, How does it feel to be back in the theatre after a 2-year break?

This is fortunately not my first show back since covid, but it is my first show where audience members don't have to wear masks since the pandemic began. I am ecstatic to be able to see the audiences' physical reactions to the show again and be able to connect with the audience. There is something so beautiful about live theatre and being able to see how your work is affecting someone and if it is bringing them joy, sadness, frustration, or comfort. I've greatly missed performing for audiences and this is my first straight play ever so I am very much looking forward to seeing the audience's reactions.

This is an original show, how would you describe Eleven Months of Nuclear Summer in your own words?

Eleven Months of Nuclear Summer is a show dedicated to exploring human relationships and more specifically, the ways of female relationships. It examines the different ways in which women interact and the strength and weaknesses that can be found throughout those relationships. Additionally, there is an emphasis on the bigger picture aspects of living in the world we do with regards to war and political imbalance. It puts the audience in the position of asking hard questions that are relevant to today's world.

What would you say to someone to get them to come out and see Eleven Months of Nuclear Summer?

I would say that this is a show that's going to show you a range of emotions and leave you with a bigger question"what would you do in that situation?" Also, you get to see me carry a bow and arrow...

Do you have a favorite moment in the show?

My sister, Rachel is in this show and we have a scene where we come head to head which is by far my favorite scene. The dialogue in that scene is very real and gritty which gives the scene a depth that adds to the reality of the play as a whole. Not only is it fun to act alongside her but the scene takes place at the climax of the show and involves heightened tension and fun lines for my character that make it extremely memorable.

What makes this show different from other plays?

This show emphasizes something we don't see enough of in theatre: real women characters. Women within theatre are often caricatures of themselves but in Eleven Months, we have real women handling problems in the ways that only women can. They struggle and fight; they're strong but vulnerable at the same time, showing the reality of what it is to be a woman.

Tell me about your character in the show.

Her name is Roz Jenkins and she's a real badass. She has her opinions and she's going to make them known whether you like it or not. Unfortunately, this means that she has a bit of temper that can get in the way a lot of the time but overall she's a toughie with a large vocabulary of obscene words that makes her extremely fun to portray. Her best qualities are her loyalty toward certain characters and her determination. She has her problems with anger but overall is just trying to figure herself out.

Do you see any similarities between your character and yourself?

Honestly, I am extremely different from my character. I like to avoid conflict while my character is normally the cause of conflict or tension. I think the biggest similarity we have is our loyalty. The character Roz is always standing up for the characters whom she has a strong relationship with, defending them when they're not there to defend themselves and I strongly connected to that. I come from a family of eleven and all through my life we were taught that our family is the biggest support system we have. This loyalty that has been ingrained in me is something that I can greatly relate to Roz. There are many aspects of Roz that differ greatly from me such as her decisiveness but I'd like to think that I am taking the best qualities of Roz that I lack such as assertiveness and confidence with me and bringing it more into my life.

Eleven Months of Nuclear Summer is running from April 1st through April 3rd at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, located on the campus of The University of Notre Dame. To order tickets, or for more information visit eleven-months-of-nuclear-summer/or call (574) 631-2800.

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