Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Actor's Life // NEA interview with Christina Augello

As The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) chairman Rocco Landesmen toured the country over the past few months, the blog at the NEA's site kept up with him documenting his encounters with artists across the country. One of the many gems off their blog is this short interview with Christina Augello, actor and director of EXIT Theatre Company. Full interview excerpted below. Visit the NEA arts blog by following this link.


The Actor’s Life: A Q&A with Christina Augello of EXIT Theatre
March 19, 2010
Washington, DC

[Photo at above right: Christina Augello as pirate queen Grace O’Malley in A Most Notorious Woman, a one-woman show by Maggie Cronin. Photo by Laurie Gallant]

As Rocco heads back from his Art Works trip to California, we’re taking a closer look at a few of the state’s artists and arts organizations. Christina Augello, founder and artistic director of San Francisco’s EXIT Theatre, chatted with us via e-mail about life as a working actor.

NEA: What led you to start EXIT Theatre?

CHRISTINA AUGELLO: I love theater in intimate venues and realized as an actor I could create my own opportunities in my own theater and choose the work I do.

NEA: Why is theater important?

AUGELLO: Theater is live performance, entertaining in an engaged way. It’s a communal experience for both artists and audience, which offers [a rare] intimacy. A room full of people laughing, crying, enjoying together is good magic.

NEA: What do you think makes a great performance?

AUGELLO: Truth, commitment, passion, imagination, trust, collaboration, and an audience.

NEA: Your theater is based in San Francisco. What do you think of the city’s audiences?

AUGELLO: San Francisco audiences are very open to new experimental work and are willing to support the smaller venues.

NEA: What do you love about being an actor?

AUGELLO: The playfulness, the passion, the magic, the high when all energies merge.

NEA: What’s the hardest thing about being an actor?

AUGELLO: Learning lines and having a day job.

NEA: Do you have a favorite line you’ve had to deliver?

CHRISTINA: “I need to pee.”

NEA: What do you think would surprise people about life as an actor?

AUGELLO: It’s a way of changing the world.

NEA: Overall, why are the arts important to you?

AUGELLO: The arts are a creative force that infuse life into ideas and emotions allowing our imaginations to flourish. I think this energy is necessary to balance the destructive forces that humanity struggles with.

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