This young company is not just promising: It’s delivering.
– Adam Feldman, TimeOutNY
Interview with our Borachio, DeAnna Supplee
Role in the show?
I play the deviously ambitious soldier Borachio.
I was born and raised in the Mount Airy section of the greatest city in the world: Philadelphia! It can have a bad reputation with many nonresidents due to headlines or what have you, but it really is the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection. My ability to empathize with and connect to characters and an audience is attributed to my many experiences in that city. I attended the University of Pennsylvania where I majored in Theatre Arts and English, I was then fortunate enough to be accepted into the Actors Studio Drama School in New York City where I earned my MFA in Acting. I have had the privilege of performing in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, studying at Oxford University's Magdalen College (BADA), and traveling the world--all of which has deepened my work as an artist and appreciation of the craft.
Favorite Shakespeare play and why?
My favorite would have to be the first Shakespeare play I was ever assigned to read on my own as a child: A Midsummer Night's Dream. It was then also the first of his plays I got to see live. It was purely magical, but not in the way one would think with glitter and optical illusions. The character of Puck was played by this fierce androgynous woman who completely stole the show for me. Mind you, I had no idea what "androgynous" meant at that age, but I knew there was a liberty, an audacity, in her stage presence, that I rarely observed in women! I wanted to be her on that stage, I wanted to be her in life. While Shakespeare wrote some pretty bad ass female characters over the course of his career, there is truly nothing like seeing a women take a traditionally played male role, and owning it!
2 words to describe Much Ado?
What kind of preparation did you do for the role?
I have been watching a bit of footage of female soldiers, as well as reading about their experiences in the armed forces. I think when tackling this role, it could be extremely easy to fall into playing an archetype or to just play "evil" or "mischievous," but there is so much more to this character-- especially with Ross' decision to have a female do the part. Yes she is manipulative and ruthless-- but why is she that way? Is it because she has had to find creative ways to fend for herself as a female in a male dominated environment? -- Asking myself questions like this so that even though her actions may be distasteful, they are not in vain or completely unwarranted. What makes this adaptation different from another Shakespeare play you’ve been in? I have done many modern adaptations of Shakespeare, but none where technology was such a present device in the story-telling. The presence of smart phones, digital communication, and VR goggles really challenges me to receive the text and the world of this play in a new way. Also from a practical standpoint, I have never done a production with this many union actors! This cast is extremely talented and diverse in training and experience. I do not believe I have ever learned so much by just watching actors rehearse and explore and play. The experience has been truly valuable.
What is the most difficult aspect of your role or the play?
While Borachio does a lot of reporting of news throughout this play, she also does a LOT of listening and observing. Both on the stage and in real life there is a tendency to get extremely passive when we listen. Therefore my challenge in this play (heck, in my life) is to always be an active participant even when not speaking or being watched. Additionally, I would say a difficult aspect of this production, as a whole, is how relevant it is. We are currently living in a time where individuals think there is such a thing as an "alternative fact." Political figures are unabashedly perpetuating lies and publicly shaming news outlets, thus preventing the press from accurately and freely doing their job. Much like in this play, what was once thought as objectively factual is now recognized as subjective. The blurring of this line, as you'll see in our production, has potentially dangerous ramifications. So while difficult, it is my hope and desire for this production (and all socially-conscience art) to challenge the way the audience thinks and inspire hope to make a change.