June 2015 “Actor Stealing the Spotlight” (ASS)
Hiya! Welcome to a regular feature at TBO. Every month we highlight an Actor who is currently Stealing the Spotlight (or, the ASS). This is someone from our community who particularly stood out for their performance or body of work the previous month (obviously from the shows that we actually reviewed). We think it’s fun to shine some light on those who continue to make the Baltimore theater scene just fucking great.
AND THE ASS FOR JUNE 2015 GOES TO:
(Photoby Tyler Lyons Photography)
First of all, I apologize to you and to Elizabeth that this is a liiiitle bit late. It’s too hot, y’all. I’m getting drowsy. In any case, though, Elizabeth Scollan is, in fact, our hot ASS for hot June of 2015. I first saw Elizabeth in The Hyacinth Girl and Other Broken Images and I luuurved her performance. I’ve since seen her in The Well of Horniness, Iron Crow’s gut busting season-ender, where she played Vicki, a perfectly pastel-colored sapphic dream come true. Here’s what I said about Elizabeth in my review of Horniness:
” I last saw Elizabeth Scollan in The Hyacinth Girl and Other Broken Images and pegged her as one to watch and since I’m never wrong, I was right. She tip tappies around the stage in white kitten heels, squeaking and playing that pearl necklace for all it’s worth, the wide-eyed, eager new girl in the pink cardigan looking to get bad.
I conned Elizabeth into an interview, so here’s what she said.
How’s it going today, Elizabeth?
I just finished teaching yoga, a great way to start a Friday morning.
Where do you teach?
I teach for Charm City Yoga, mostly. I teach beginners classes and a partner yoga, like a acrobatic yoga class, too.
So. Well of Horniness. Hysterical. Loved the show, so funny, so unexpected. What did you think when you read the script for the first time?
I remember finishing it and thinking “That was an experience.” I felt like I was on an acid trip. It was very fun, very funny, completely out there. I was stoked when they told me I would get to be a part of it.
Can you talk a little about working with Julianne Franz as a director? What was the process? Did you guys just constantly have the giggles?
Pretty much the entire time, it definitely didn’t feel like work. Julianne was amazing to work with she’s very collaborative. She created a container and a space for us to play. She never put the kibosh on anything, we tried everything, which seems apropos for the show. She created this ensemble of people, who prior to working together, didn’t know each other that well. Eight women working together could have gone bad.
Did your parents come and see the show?
My mom came and saw the show. My dad did not.
What was your mom’s reaction?
You know what’s funny? I think I almost oversold it. She was like, “Well, that wasn’t nearly as raunchy as you said it was going to be.” I was like, “Mom, I simulated an orgasm on stage.” Apparently I prepared her too well, she thought it was tame. I don’t know what she was expecting.
Makes me wonder what on earth she was picturing.
I know, that’s what I want to know! Maybe she was imagining borderline pornography or something.
Did you have BFF among the cast?
Honestly, that’s a tough one, because every single one of those women had a different impact on my experience. Maranda [Kosten] was the cast mom. Every day she would bring us snacks and chocolates and if someone was sick, she had band-aids and Tylenol. Chloe [Mikala] and Katie [Hileman] and I were like The Three Musketeers. They’re hilarious, I was like the puppy dog following around. I was pretty amazed working with them, the level of skill they bring to comedy. I had a talent crush on both of them, they were constantly keeping me laughing.
You guys just looked like you were having such a good time. It was so fun to watch.
That was exactly what the experience was like. Going to rehearsal every night was like adult playtime. It was fantastic.
You had a lot of fun, funny parts in the show. What was the part that was the most fun, the part you looked most forward to every night?
The scene with Ann [Turiano] at the Vixen’s Den where I lose my fork under the table and find “other things” was my favorite part. Some nights I wished it was later on in the show because it was such a strong part, I was like, “Where do we go from here?” It was just so funny.
You really missed out, because you couldn’t see Ann’s reactions under there. I swear to God, I really just lost it. My husband was like, “You have to be quiet. You’re laughing too loud.” I couldn’t even handle it. Everybody really went for it. Anyway. You have a great range. Hyacinth Girl was very intense and I was drawn to that. And then Horniness was so silly and comic. Which do you prefer?
I think my comfort zone is in more serious, darker, pieces. Dark inspiration is what I lean towards. Comedy is super challenging. I feel like fish out of water, but I learn a lot from it. If I had my druthers, give me the dark, depressing, leave- everyone-feeling-alienated-by-the-end-of-the-show pieces.
Can you say a few words about ParityFest, you are involved in that?
I’m proud of Baltimore in a lot of ways, the way that our theater scene has developed. It’s exciting to see an event that revolves around getting women’s voices heard. There should be more of a focus in the theater world on getting more new voices heard across the board, but especially women’s voices. I think that this is the time and the place for theater to expand outward. The importance of exposing audiences to strong female artists and the vantage, the perspective that they have.
Who do you think the best actor in Baltimore is?
Gosh. That is really hard. Well. Last year’s best actor in Baltimore is actually my ex-husband, Paul Diem. I’m really, really proud of him, how he’s grown as an artist from the person I met however long ago. I think he brings integrity and heart to every role that he plays. That was a well earned honor. In terms of women, well. I was really impressed with Ann. I think she has a tremendous range. She brings a level of professionalism and also joy to the work that she does. Working with her was dream. You see the qualities in other people that you want to bring to your own work, I definitely see that in her.
What do you have coming up next?
We’re hoping to bring Hyacinth Girl to Fringe Fest in Baltimore with Small Batch Theatre. I love working with Leah [Englund Brick] her aesthetic is so on point, the pieces she puts together are stunning. And then, after that, will be next June, I’m working with Single Carrot for the first time, a devised piece, a world premiere.
Anything else you’d like to say to the Baltimore theater scene?
Just thanks for continuing to support the grassroots scene that makes Baltimore so unique. I lived in L.A. for six years, I didn’t do a lick of theater while I was gone. When I got back, I found that Baltimore had arisen in terms of support for local artists who want to do something outside of the usual. I’m thrilled to be a part of what’s happening in Baltimore. Keep supporting so that we can keep making exciting, adventurous art.
Got someone you’d like to nominate for next month’s ASS? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.