Some great reviews have been coming out about BUS STOP, get your tickets fast! Now, continuing our blog interviews with BUS STOP cast members we have Jacque Troy. Jacque not only plays Grace in BUS STOP, but she is also the Education Director/Literary Manager for Milwaukee Chamber Theatre.
What is it like “going back” to a semi-academic theatre setting with this BUS STOP collaboration?
As the Education Director here at MCT, I’ve had several fantastic opportunities to work with young artists; recently during our collaborations with UW-Milwaukee for PICNIC and with Marquette for LION IN WINTER. I also have the rare joy of producing MCT’s Young Playwrights Festival, which allows me to mentor high school students from all over the city in writing one acts and then employing college students as actors, designers and stage managers. Michael Wright’s devotion to this part of our mission is a huge part of what attracted me to this company when I joined the staff six years ago.
Would you like to share any memories of your academic theatre experience?
I chose the University of Iowa as an undergrad very specifically because they have an internationally recognized Playwright’s Festival. And even though I knew I wanted to be an actor, I also knew that I wanted to work on new plays. The script itself has always fascinated me as the ultimate tool for creating a character. I’m also kind of a groupie when it comes to playwrights. They’re like movie stars to me. But I can vividly remember my first audition at U of I. It was for a musical, which is decidedly NOT my niche. But I was full of youthful optimism and joined the 100 undergraduate and grad students in trying to land a role. I failed. You can imagine that my 19 year-old self was devastated and consequently questioned my choice of study. Luckily, I would later be very successful in landing roles, which is what led me to this place in my life. I learned so much during my time there and still owe a huge debt of gratitude to my mentors during that time. Ironically, I was just chatting about one of them with our director, Lisa Kornetsky. She had asked me to be sure I was vocally balanced with the other actors. So, she was saying I’m too much of a loud mouth!! I laughed because this is a note I get frequently. My voice teacher at U of I, Kate Burke, trained me to have a HUGE vocal instrument. I’m so grateful to her for that, but continue to have to learn to control it.
What lesson do you hope comes out of this collaboration between UW-Parkside and MCT? Do you feel that you have learned something as well?
I hope it continues to demonstrate to our audience MCT’s real commitment to nurturing young artists. It’s a part of our mission that makes us very proud. And I learn something every time I work on a play. When it’s with young artists, I am reminded of all the wonder and awe that a good production can generate. It keeps me excited about this profession and gives me enormous optimism about the amazing work we’re going to see from the next generation of actors and theatre artisans.
Tell us your first reaction upon reading BUS STOP.
The students were amazing…nearly off book…which made us “old timers” joke that they were making us look bad!! Also, Lisa Kornetsky allowed me to go “all the way” with the thick rural, Midwestern dialect that I inherited from my maternal relatives. It’s something I’ve been carefully suppressing my whole life, so it was a blast to “let the beast out”. Of course, we’ve pulled the dialect way back since that first reading. We want the audience to be able to understand what Grace is saying. But it’s still really fun to honor my kin with the hints of that distinctive sound. I also don’t think I’ve ever laughed--with my fellow artists--so much on the very first day. I’m thrilled to report that we haven’t stopped laughing and enjoying each other’s company for even a day since.