Interviews from London Below: Inside Cohesion Theatre’s ‘Neverwhere’: Part 2: Cori Dioquino

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In Part Two of a series of interviews with cast members of Cohesion Theatre Company’s Neverwhere, meet Cori Dioquino.

Patricia: Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you on local stages and some roles you have played.

Cori Dioquino.
Cori Dioquino.

Cori: I am Cori Dioquino. I’ve worked throughout Baltimore, Maryland and also D.C. with companies such as Fells Point Corner Theatre (Top Girls as Lady Nijo, Kit and Nell), Centerstage (Ensemble of Amadeus), and Faction of Fools (Titus Andronicus as the Nurse and Young Lucius). I have also performed at the Capital Fringe Festival; my most recent appearance was in Violent Delights: A Shakespearean Brawlesque Sideshow (Maid) with Off The Quill.

Why did you want to become a member of the cast of Neverwhere?

I initially auditioned for Cohesion’s second season and got called back for Neverwhere to read for Door. I really liked the concept of Neverwhere and the more I read about the character Door, the more I really appreciated who she is.

Had you read Neverwhere prior to being cast in this play? Had you seen the BBC series?

I had never read the book nor watched the BBC series prior to being cast.  I did do research before I auditioned, but the bulk of my research was done after I was cast as Door. I eventually read the book – Cohesion held book clubs in the months leading up to the first rehearsal which was really helpful.

Briefly describe your character for those who may be unfamiliar with the story (no spoilers!).

Door is a strange, young lady from an ancient and noble family. It isn’t quite clear how young (or old) she is, but there is a bit of magic and mystery surrounding her. I honestly viewed her as what a stereotypical “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” truly is at her core: an individual who comes from a very dark place, literally and figuratively, and who has learned to transform that darkness into her own strength.

Does this character have any of your personality or character traits? Aside from her enviable “talent,” does Door have any traits you’d aspire to have?

We’re both small! And we both have outwardly quirky and adventurous personalities. I also think we are both extremely underestimated due to our size and demeanor. I’d like to think that I have Door’s capacity to lead when called upon to do so and think on her feet in pressing situations; if not, those are definitely traits I would aspire to have. Oh, and her ability to speak several languages, which include animal dialects!

You have an impressive resume, both with performing and teaching. I find your trip to Tanzania with New York’s Dramatic Adventure Theatre of particular interest. How did that come to pass and in what ways do you think the experience has impacted your acting and teaching?

Thank you! Traveling and theater have always been my two greatest passions and I try to do both as often as I can. A couple of years ago, I went on a homecoming trip to the Philippines and also backpacked through parts of Southeast Asia. I felt so inspired after my trek that I immediately began searching for ways to do both theater and travel abroad. An old college mate had introduced me to Dramatic Adventure Theatre a few years ago, so I applied to their Creative Treks Program and was accepted as an artist to work on a personal project while traveling with the company.

My experience with Dramatic Adventure definitely impacted my work as an actor and teacher. I think traveling in general really allowed me the opportunity to broaden my perspective of the world and those who inhabit it by stepping out of my comfort zone and exploring other ways of living. And that’s really what acting is about – exploring how other people live and think and move and why. And as a teacher, I think it’s allowed me to be more open-minded and empathetic to those that I teach, at least I hope it has.

What were some of the challenges you faced while learning your role and how did you work through them?

This character is so complex and she has so many layers that are shrouded in so much magic and history. Trying to find a way to connect with someone that comes from such a fantastic and fictional background was challenging but in a fun sort of way.  In the end, I just wanted to make her as human as possible.

What have you enjoyed most about this experience since beginning rehearsals?

Cori Dioquino in 'Neverwhere.' Photo by Shealyn Jae Photography.
Cori Dioquino in ‘Neverwhere.’ Photo by Shealyn Jae Photography.

Well, it’s my first stage appearance in two years, so that plus the sheer size and scope of this production has always been a little bit daunting. This is a huge undertaking and it’s incredibly ambitious, but that’s what drew me to it. It’s rare to work with a small theater company that dreams big and is able to follow through with its big dreams. I think Cohesion has definitely done just that and it’s been a real joy getting to know everyone involved; it’s like a mini family of dark, otherworldly creatures backstage!

What has impressed you most about your fellow cast members and/or crew?

We all have such different backgrounds. It’s been so amazing listening to other people’s stories, hearing how they got into theater despite their varying degrees and professions in other industries. One thing that I really appreciate is how kind everyone has been. We really do all look out for one another.

Why do you think audiences should come see the show?

Uhm… ‘cause it’s awesome! No sincerely, though, I do think this production has a lot to offer to everyone regardless of your interests. There is science fiction and fantasy, big moving set pieces, audience interaction, fun characters, scary monsters and nightmares… there is so much! Neil Gaiman is known for creating such wonderful characters in all of his stories and to have an opportunity to bring them to life in a live theater setting is really incredible for all involved.

What’s next for you? Do you have any upcoming roles, jobs, or life events you’d like to mention?

I’m continuing to teach throughout the summer with Young Audiences, but outside of that and some vacation plans nothing is set in stone. It’s audition season in the area, more or less, so I’m hoping to just focus on acting, go out and be seen. Please check out my website for more information on upcoming performances!

Neverwhere plays through June 19, 2016 at Cohesion Theatre, performing at United Evangelical Church – 3200 Dillon Street, in Baltimore, MD. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online.

LINKS:
Review of Neverwhere on DCMetroTheaterArts by Patricia Mitchell.

Interviews from London Below: Inside Cohesion Theatre’s ‘Neverwhere’: Part 1: Joseph Coracle.
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BIO: Cori Dioquino (Door) is excited to be making her Cohesion Theatre debut with this production of Neverwhere. Other Theatre Credits – Center Stage: Amadeus, “Ensemble”; Studio Theatre: The Wolfe Twins, “Raina (u/s)”; Fells Point Corner Theatre: Top Girls, “Lady Nijo/Kit/Nell”; Faction of Fools: Titus Andronicus, “Young Lucius/Nurse”; Off The Quill and DC Capitol Fringe: Violent Delights, “Maid”; DNA Theatre: The Tempest, “Miranda”; Glass Mind Theatre: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “Titania.” TV/Film – Deadly Affairs, Brooklyn Brothers Beat The Best, Safe.  Teaching – Single Carrot Theatre, Young Audiences, Unchained Talent, Creative Kids, Adventure Theatre MTC.  Education – BFA, Towson University.