In Part 4 in a series of interviews with the cast of McLean Community Players’ Comic Potential, meet Caity Brown.
Joel: Introduce yourself and tell us where else we have seen you performing in the area.
I’m Caity Brown, and I’ve been acting in non-professional theatre in the metro area pretty steadily since moving here seven years ago. Most recently, I was in Enchanted April at the Greenbelt Arts Center and Private Eyes at Silver Spring Stage. Regular patrons of McLean Community Players might recognize me from Barefoot in the Park or Perfect Wedding.
Who is your character and what do they do in the show?
I play Jacie, who is an actoid. That means she’s an android who is used as an actor; in her case, she plays young female characters in a variety of daytime soap operas. What differentiates Jacie from the other actoids, however, is that she is capable of independent thought and action, allowing her to develop, over the course of the play, her own character and identity. The play is about many things, but the central plot concerns how the humans around Jacie react to her evolution, and how she herself handles the process of becoming more and more “human.”
What is your favorite scene in the play, and what do you enjoy most that you get to do?
There are a lot of fun scenes in the show, but the one that I like best is the one that challenges me the most as an actor. As it is essentially the climax of the play, I can’t give too much away. Through a series of events—involving, among other things, an interaction with a prostitute, a knife fight with a pimp, and an argument with the man she has fallen in love with—Jacie is forced to grapple with the enormity of what is happening to her. The scene requires me to be at the top of my game; Jacie just keeps getting bombarded with new obstacles, new stimuli and new emotions, and there isn’t ever a chance for me, as the actor, to anticipate or prepare for anything. But what’s great about that is that it perfectly mimics what Jacie is experiencing at the moment. So when I do it right, this is the scene in which I most connect with my character.
What is your favorite line? What is your favorite line of another character?
My favorite lines for Jacie don’t make much sense out of context, but this one can stand alone: “I don’t know what else to talk about. All I have is my past life.” I also enjoy this line of Prim, who is one of the technicians who works on Jacie: “Now I’m a nurse who sleeps in hotels with strange men. God, this will make my mother so happy.”
Were there any particular challenges you encountered in realizing your character?
There are several instances in the play where Jacie momentarily reverts into one of the many (often colorful) characters she’s played in her soap opera roles. The challenge here was to create these distinct characters that I could easily slip into and out of without confusing the audience or telegraphing the transformation, as the director and I wanted the reversions to be practically instantaneous. The bigger challenge in playing Jacie, however, has involved getting used to listening, reacting and thinking as a character who isn’t fully human. Then, as the play progresses and Jacie becomes more humanlike, the task becomes playing a character who is experiencing genuine emotions for the first time.
This is an area premiere of a not well known (in the US) play. Did you have any hesitation about auditioning for it?
I rarely hesitate in auditioning for any show, since I know that there is always a very good chance I won’t be cast! But I also don’t hesitate to accept roles in good shows that are not well-known. In fact, I think there are advantages to working on a show into which we know the audience will not come with any preconceived notions or expectations (aside from the expectation to be entertained). It gives those of us in the show more freedom to explore and create something that is our own. Rather than trying to approximate someone else’s example, we get to set the standard.
Comic Potential plays from October 7-22, 2016 at McLean Community Players performing at The McLean Community Center’s Alden Theatre – 1234 Ingleside Avenue, in McLean, VA. For tickets, call Ovations Tix at (866) 811-4111, or purchase them online. Here are directions to the Alden Theatre.
Interviews with the Cast of McLean Community Players’ ‘Comic Potential’ Part 1: Frank Gorrell by Joel Markowitz.
Interviews with the Cast of McLean Community Players’ ‘Comic Potential’ Part 2: Scott Duvall by Joel Markowitz.
Interviews with the Cast of McLean Community Players’ ‘Comic Potential’ Part 3: Mike Scott by Joel Markowitz.
Interviews with the Cast of McLean Community Players’ ‘Comic Potential’ Part 4: Caity Brown by Joel Markowitz.
Note: The play contains adult situations and language. It’s suitable for those 17 and older