Jun 3

Hey there – I’m Dana, one of the Resident Artists here at Variations Theatre Group. More specifically I’m an Actor although here at Variations we all work together and wear many hats to keep this show running. The quote that is at the top of this post is one that I heard a long time ago and have never forgotten but was reminded of it last night which watching a performance of Potted Potter.

I realized I wanted to be an actor somewhere around the age of 8.  My school had a theater program which was open to all students in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades and I, of course, had to be a part of it.  The show was Annie and I remember just having a ball.  I got to dance, sing and play with my friends on stage in front of the entire community.  I tortured my parents for weeks upon weeks watching the movie on VHS over and over again.  Constantly rewinding and fast forwarding to my favorite parts and playing dress up and acting out the movie with my friends.  At the age of 8 in my elementary school it wasn’t about the craft or the action or the motivation behind every line I was saying – it was about having fun.  And we did just that – so much so that many of the friends I made at that time grew up to become active in theatre still to this day.

Last night, while watching Potted Potter at the Little Shubert Theatre, I was brought back to that feeling of childhood fun and was reminded of why I became an actor.  It wasn’t because I wanted to be rich and famous or because I wanted to win an Oscar or a Tony. It’s because acting was so much fun.  I loved rehearsing and working through scenes, learning songs and dances, and spending time with people who loved the same things I loved.  It was because for a few minutes every night I got to escape into a world which I had a part in creating and bring the characters of the play to life.

The actors and creators of Potted Potter, Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, have brought the fun that is a child’s dress up game to life in their parody re-enactment of the seven Harry Potter novels. The energy and excitement that was exuding from the stage was infectious and within minutes of the show starting, the entire audience was engaged and looking forward to their next bit.  Dan and Jeff made me, as an audience member, want to jump on stage with them and participate.  The show is extremely interactive and the audience played right along with them as moments of true spontaneity happened on stage throughout the performance.  The need to get every inch of blocking perfect and every word of every sentence correct was non-existent.  It was the fun of the game that made the show what it is and it really did bring me back and remind me of all the reasons I love being an actor.

After years and years of studying and hard work have taken me miles from where that young child was while doing Annie, it really is nice to know that the spark which started it all is still there. The 8 year old version of me is still living inside me, excited to play.

Nov 18

As we continue to watch the 2nd Semi-Final shows, let’s take a moment to announce that in approximately 4 hours we will be announcing our Five (5) finalists. Tomorrow night we will add one (1) more show to our finals. That will give us six (6) shows that will perform in front of a packed house, a panel of judges, and hopefully you! Come on out and support your favorite show! And then we will have our closing ceremony! The ceremony is sure to be a great time! Remember Saturday is a day to look your best. I know I’m wearing my tux!