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Interview with our Beatrice, Carey Van Driest

Role in the show? 

Brief background?
I moved to NYC seventeen years ago to pursue this crazy business and did my fair share of odd jobs (legal assistant, night shift customer service rep, chicken-wrangler for an off-Broadway play) for a few years.  Twelve years ago I was sent out for my first voiceover audition and booked it.  I was the voice of K-Y for 7 years.  No, not the State and no, I never got free product.  Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to voice a couple of campaigns and work on several commercials and am currently one of the voices of L’Oreal.  The rest of the business-y blah blah is on my resume and on my website:  Oh, and I love LOVE dogs, especially puppy-tails, Parenthood the TV show and pickles.  My mother used to say if I ate any more pickles I would turn into one.

Favorite Shakespeare play and why?
You really can’t get better than Much Ado for a perfectly structured comedy, and Beatrice is a bucket list role, but I am also a big fan of The Scottish Tragedy (even in writing I’m superstitious about the title) and I’d love to do King John only to tackle the role of Constance. 

Two words to describe Much Ado?
About Nothing.  Just kidding; I had to.  Great Play!  Or Witty Charm!        

What kind of preparation did you do for the role?
I asked a couple people who have done the role what their biggest challenges were in playing her, and what they found as the key access point for the character.  Then I read the show again since it had been awhile and did some thinking about who she was and how similar and how different she is from me.  That’s always my first step; figuring out where a character and I intersect and what I can use for a jump-off point.  Then everything’s in the text, and from there you just have to stay true to that.

What makes this adaptation different from another Shakespeare play you’ve been in?
The concept.  I’ve never used technology in a Shakespeare play before.  And I don’t think I’ve done a Shakespeare with such a small ensemble.  I’ve played Verges in another production of Much Ado that had a full cast and was barely cut as well as being done more traditionally.

What is the most difficult aspect of your role or the play?
Two things:

            One: Figuring out who Beatrice is in this world of people being plugged in.  She’s a logophile.  Words and communication are her currency.  So if she were alive in today’s society she’d be the one without a Facebook page and have a strong aversion to acronyms and emojis.  So thankfully Ross Williams, our director, has acknowledged that she’s an anomaly: I don’t touch technology except once in the show.

            Two: I think it’s very easy to stay on the surface with Beatrice and lean into the water-off-a-duck’s-back attitude with which she goes through the majority of her time on stage.  But that completely ignores why she’s got that defense mechanism in the first place.  So I’m still working on this, but finding the balance between the outward show of merry banter and the inner life that may encompass any number of things we humans feel – pain, loneliness, anger – is going to take some time.  It’s a process towards shaping a real human being on stage that will, as Devin (Haqq) and I discover the depth of the relationship between Beatrice and Benedick, reveal itself.