What I really like about this blog is not only do I get to write and share about the interesting adventures and experiances I encounter, but I also get to highlight some of the interesting and unique people I encounter along the way! Once a month I plan to highlight a fellow explorer — giving a glimpse into their world and hopefully planting a seed of inspiration along the way!
This month Im kicking out a interview with the lovely Jasmine Bracey.
— I wrote briefly about Jasmine in the previous post “ShakeSpeare In the Park.” Jasmine was referred to my salon through Steppenwolf Theater Company – do to my profession and the way my environment is set up, I get to connect with my clients on an intimate level. Jasmine and I hit it off immediately sharing some of our interest and other fun/corky stuff! She’d invited me to her performance in George Orwell’s Animal Farm at Steppenwolf but I was not able to attend. I was so happy when she told me about “Shakes in the Park” and that she was performing at Columbus Park, a local park located less than 10 min from where I work. I knew I couldn’t missed the opportunity!
Check it out!
At what age did you know you wanted to be an actress?
The earliest I remember wanting to act was at the age of 6 years old. I used to be an avid tv watcher (especially of Nickelodeon) and watching shows like “You can’t do that on Tevlevision” and “I dream of Genie” I knew I wanted to be a storyteller.
Once your gift/desire to pursue theater was discovered – how was it cultivated/supported?
I tried to get involved with the drama club in 4th grade but didn’t make it into an official production until 6th grade. From then on I was constantly involved in theatre and then once I went to college I struggled to find my major, until I saw a production from FSU’s School of Theatre. I declared my major and since then it’s been a beautiful journey of discovery and support thru education (I have my MFA in Classical Acting and a professional certificate in Musical Theatre from The American Musical and Dramatic Academy). Also thanks to professors, my mother, and other actors that i’ve met along the way. It’s imperative that an actor develop a creative family that supports them throughout their career and I have been very blessed with mine.
Shakespeare is a really complex yet beautiful catalog of work, you really have to have an understanding of it to appreciate it’s purpose. Why Shakespeare as a theatrical focus?How long have you’ve been a actress?
- The language. It seems as a society we move further and further from a focus on language. Being able to express and work thru the gamut of emotions using words has been a wonderful experience. Shakespeare’s Characters define themselves with the words they use, and meant to be listened to not read. The more I listen and study Shakespeare the more I fall in love with him. If you take Ophelia’s “O what a noble mind is here o’erthrown” speech from Hamlet and go thru the speech only using the vowels you find that Ophelia is crying thru the speech. She has a long list of emotional vowels then when they string together create a series of crying noises. There’s a lot of that in Shakespeare. In my mind he is without a doubt one of the greats.
- What are some of the ways you prepare for the stage?
Of course, reading the play and memorizing lines. But one of the most important things for me is understanding the story the play is telling. The deeper the understanding of the story the better the actors will be at doing what needs to be done in order to be effective with the audience (especially with Shakespeare) so everyone knows how their character fits into the story/why their character was even written.
Can you recall a moment during a performance that really moved you?
There are so many. Theatre by it’s nature is meant to stir the humanity within us all; whether it makes us laugh, cry, question, etc. If you leave a production not feeling anything, then that show didn’t live up to what it was supposed to. I’m constantly moved by performances even ones i don’t like because they cause me to think about why i didn’t like it (knowing that someone else in the audience may have loved it).
- I’m so intrigue and appreciative of the Art in the Park initiative – can you elaborate a little on the purpose of bringing theater to local parks in the Chicago area?
Chicago is a huge city and while there are a lot of theatres and arts all around sometimes people need the arts to come to them. Just as there are food deserts we have culture deserts in our city. The Parks initiative brings communities together by providing a number of events in the parks for free. Shakespeare is no exception. Not everyone can make it to Navy Pier to see a show at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre on Navy Pier and for others it’s not even on their radar. Shakespeare in the parks gives communities exposure to something they might have never tried and might like.
- Lastly, A question I like to ask often: Using only one word for each, tell us 5 things that inspires you?
Thanks for sharing a glimpse of your life with us!
- Until next time,
- Happy Journeying