I came to New York with a mission to tell stories, believing that stories contain the essence of what makes us human beings. Through stories we learn to empathize. We begin dialogue. We alike the caracters's trajedies and triumphs to our own. The art of story telling in an exciting and riveting new way is my constant search. Through stories we learn to empathize. We begin dialogue. Stories I was always drawn to storytelling, with a special affection for ghost stories and folklore. Having grown up on a sheep farm in rural New Jersey and often left to my own devices, I played in the woods, creating magic with my mind.
My passions lie in both film, and in the Theater. Theater has the power bring human beings together, in a common space, for a brief moment and offer up a shared experience. Scientists have yet to discover a way in which to digitize that authentically, spontaneous experience; the one of a kind and unrepeatable, energetic exchange between a live audience and performers. Theater sparks empathy and creates dialogue. I believe that Theater, more than ever, is crucial to create and to preserve in our modern society.
THE MYTH, that is ACTING
I am a trained actor and singer. I studied acting in London and New York. I trained as a classical singer from the best (a Julliard trained master named Steven Schnurman). I started out how every young and hungry performer in New York starts out; I auditioned, I started a theater company with my friends, I attended readings, 'pay-to-plays', the whole bit.
I also found myself waiting for hours at cattle calls, among countless other actresses, fighting for parts labeled as "hot girl", and posted by webisode producers, on Backstage.com. I soon found myself working on projects that did little to inspire me. In one particular instance, a male director literally told me to stop thinking and "just smile and play the nice girl". I thought, "These isn't a role written for me or any female person, but rather, it's written (by a man) in order to service the male heroes of their stories. To me, these weren't real women, they were caricatures of women; ideas of a stereotype. I am certain, this is a common discovery for actresses just starting out in their careers. Although knowing that this was the way it was, did little to make my pursuit of my career any less frustrating and dehumanizing.
Still, it isn't all bad. I worked hard, and I booked respectable gigs as well, landing roles in projects for Lifetime, CBS, ABC and Turner Broadcasting, along with several short and feature independent films and downtown theater projects. Now that my director friends are all coming up in their careers, I find myself working now on wonderful fulfilling projects as of late. Especially the female driven narratives that I have been blessed to be a part of. As devastating our current social climate may seem, there are still sparks of change and progress all around.
TEACHING AS A GIFT
I stumbled upon teaching over a decade ago and I feel blessed to have done so. At acting school, on the night of our final showcase, a girlfriend approached me backstage and asked me if I had ever been interested teaching. I said, "Teaching? Why not." At the time she ran an after school program for grade school kids.
For nearly a decade, I directed and musical directed children's theater, at the Richard Rodgers School for Arts and Technology on Manhattan's Upper West Side. I put every ounce of creative juice that I could muster into teaching those kids. I used the same trope on my student, that my high school drama teacher would often say, which is, "I don't direct children's theater, I direct actors." I held my students up to high standards, but I loved them all dearly.
I opened a private voice and acting studio, where I trained children and adults to sing and coached them for their auditions. I helped my students attend prestigious, New York, performing arts schools, such as PPAS and LaGuardia Highschool of Music, Art and the Performing Arts. A few of my students have gone on to perform on Broadway.
My first film as a producer, which I acted in as well, was called 79'Parts, directed by Ari Taub. I auditioned for this film, was cast. When the financial crash of '08 happened, and all of the investors pulled out of the picture, it came to a screeching halt. I was left waiting for the green light for months, into years, when I finally told Mr. Taub, that I would help him produce his film, if he would teach me. He said he would, and thus, I began my work on the other side of things. Once I decided to come in as a producer, some of his investors stepped back in and after a painfully long production process, months of editing, working on contracts and pitching this film, '79 Parts was made, picture locked and finally finished. It won the Audience Award for Best Feature at the Soho International Film Festival in 2016.
I have since, signed on as an associate producer for several films, including Bite Me, directed by Meredith Edwards, and Paradise City, directed by John Lopez. Both of these films are currently in post-production. I also recently co-wrote and starred in a short, written and directed by Catriona Rubenis-Stevens called "E.ro.sion Noun", which is circulating 2018-2019 film festivals, both in the States and Abroad.
Onward and Upward
A decade of acting, teaching, directing children's theater and producing indie films, I cannot help but feel incredibly blessed for the opportunities I have had, and for the hard lessons learned; a decade of life lessons! I am excited to say that I am now beginning to circle back to my original mission: it is time I tell my own stories.
For more than a year now, I have been focusing solely, on my own projects. I am currently writing and developing several original film projects. I am also developing a musical for stage from my adaptation of a Dylan Thomas screenplay, called "The Doctor and the Devils". More info. at www.doctorandthedevils.com