Joy Gray: Why did you want to be a part of this production?
Rizcel Gagawanan: First of all, “all-female production”, enough said. Second, I’ve always wanted to act in a Shakespeare play. Growing up I wasn’t exposed to a lot of theatre but everyone knew Shakespeare or at least knew of it. These days to get my Shakespeare fix I watch National Theatre Live at the cinemas. The performances are so amazing but what would be even more inspiring would be to see more POC actors on a Shakespeare stage. So here I am!
Why did you want to be an actor?
My mum put me in the ‘Johnny Young Talent School’ when I was 4 because I was a handful, so I guess from a young age I started to love performing but mostly it was because I had no shame. However, I’ve only come back to acting in the last 4 years and it’s the same things that brought me back, loving to perform (and having no shame), but also the passion to create and tell stories. More specifically telling stories that matter to me and represent me. As I was growing up it was rare to see someone who looked like me on TV or on stage. These days that’s starting to change but we have a long way to go. I believe that my work as an actor is helping change that.
What are your hobbies?
I run long distance, I recently ran City2Surf, 14km in 95 minutes! I’m hoping to finish a half marathon some day (…some day). In my spare time I’m either sketching in an art gallery or having embroidery dates with friends, and Netflix is a hobby too right?
If you could be in any movie, what character would you play?
I think TV shows beat films in terms of great badass female lead characters. I’d like to play an action hero like a spy/assassin character like Maggie Q’s Nikita and Jodie Comer’s Villanelle in Killing Eve but with the comedy antics of Ali Wong. If only I could do my own stunt work.
What are your top 5 movies?
In no particular order: Crash, Coming To America, Crazy Rich Asians, Get Out, and all the Harry Potter movies.
Rizcel Gagawanan: Who has influenced you the most in your life?
Joy Gray: I would say my older sister has influenced me the most because she has always put me on a pedal stool and has consistently been the positive voice in my head when it comes to loving who I am, and going for my dreams. She has also influenced my decisions in occupations, as I am often in a care giving type of work environment, having followed her lead in life.
How has working with only women in the rehearsal room impacted the creative process for you?
Women can be great to work with in this capacity because we tend to have great emotional and intuitive intelligence. This intelligence can create an atmosphere of sincere relationships. Having sincerity on stage is important for the creative process because it allows an easier space to fully realize the way in which the actions and reactions given by your fellow cast mates are affecting the words being said and their meaning.
What was it about the play that made you want to audition?
I wanted to audition for this play because I wanted to do Shakespeare and I liked the idea of doing an all-female show. I also liked the musical aspect of the show. I auditioned because I wanted to challenge myself and gain experience as an actor. It was icing on the cake that this play is embracing women who want to destroy the status quo, and She Shakespeare is doing this by keeping all the unique elements of the play intact, but also keeping the characterizations that make women unique and beautiful.
What made you want to become an actor?
I have always been interested in how people communicate with each other, whether their through words, or the many kinds incremental gestures with their face and body. This fascination led me into the study of psychology and neuroscience. Underneath that academic attraction, I have also have a need to break out of my interior and exterior shell, and acting is the embodiment of changing who you are. I know I would rather just stay safe inside my head, inside my living room, with a Virtual Reality headset, but acting forces me to be social, to think about, and be in different scenarios; and it’s tough! On a lighter note, I grew up in a family who loved to go to the cinema, who loved music, dancing and technology. I married a man who is a musician and a philosopher, who also appreciates a myriad of live performance such as opera, spoken word, and of course stage acting.
What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen?
The worst movie I have ever seen is Tommy Wiseau’s The Room. It is also the funniest movie I have ever seen. I loved going to see it at a cinema full of people armed with plastic spoons for throwing, who are yelling the phrase “because you’re a woman!”. I liked the cringe worthy sex scenes that looked completely wrong and sounded hilarious to a repetitive cheesy, 90’s jazz music score. The absolute best thing about the movie is the horrendous acting and dialogue. It is infamous!
Rizcel Gagawanan and Joy Gray can be seen in Macbeth , by William Shakespeare.
Dates: 29 Aug – 8 Sep, 2018