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Sunday, October 20, 2013

17 Questions for Beth Tantanella, Actor



By Brian Walker
Entire contents are copyright © 2013, Brian Walker. All rights reserved.
Beth Tantanella is a recent graduate of University of Louisville and has quickly made herself known in the theatre community as a likeable, dedicated and talented actor to have in your production. She’s played one memorable character after another in productions with UofL, Theatre [502] and The Bard’s Town. She makes bold choices, and she can easily shift from supporting character to lead role effortlessly and succeed at both. She’s flirted with directing recently and is in love with yoga. Beth is currently rehearsing for The Bard's Town Theatre’s production of Kate Fodor’s RX opening in mid-October.

Brian Walker:  Hey, you!  I wanna do a 17 Questions with you!
Beth Tantanella:  Wow, really?
BW:  Yes, really. You’re totally a local rock star!
BT:  You just made my day!  Yes!
BW:  You are awesome, and I only cover awesomeness in 17 Questions. So thank you for agreeing to do it!  Okay, Number 1. You're starring in The Bard's upcoming productionof  RX. What's the play about for folks not familiar with it?  
BT:  This is a play dedicated to those who wake up every morning with Dreading Work Disease. It's for those who planned to do something big and meaningful with their lives but feel like their plan never came through. RX is about a woman who desperately hated her job and turned to a new developing drug to cure her disease, and in the process life finally happens for her, with all the pain, love, frustration, joy, pleasure and heartache life can bring. 
BW:  Number 2.  How would you describe your character?
BT:  I feel like Meena is the quintessential Everyman. She went to school for an M.F.A. in poetry, excited for all that would bring. And when it didn't bring much, she took a job as Managing Editor of American Cattle and Swine magazine -- which is a good job – but she is left unfulfilled. This is for anyone who has been on the great search for contentment. 
BW:  Number 3.  What was it about the role that made you want to do it? 
BT:  I think everyone can relate to Meena's story in some way. She just wants to feel happy with what she is doing. I also love that Meena is not aware of the passion she has and the passion of which she is capable. I sometimes feel this way about all people – that we are so unaware of the depths we can love – and when we get there it can be overwhelming. 
BW:  Yes, I totally agree with that.  She sounds like a great role!  Number 4.  Do you have any rituals you do when preparing a character, especially one as complex as that? 
BT:  When I was younger, I used to be a little bizarre in my routines for opening night, developing traditions that went from morning until right before the show. But now I just read the play before the show and focus on breathing. Don't forget to breathe. 
BW:  Number 5.  What advice would you give to someone looking to break into the local theatre scene? 
BT:  Go see theatre! We have such an amazing scene. I try to see as much as I can, and I still can't even come close to seeing it all. There are always opportunities to volunteer and work for companies and meet the artists. We have (I believe) a really supportive artist community. If you just reach out and say "I'm interested," I truly believe that our theatre community will open its arms to you. 
BW:  Number 6.  What is the latest you’ve left The Bard’s Town, and why was it so late?
BT:  I believe it was 5:30 or 6 in the morning – the holiday party. We work hard; we play hard. 
BW:  Number 7.  Do you have a dream play that you’re dying to get to be in? 
BT:  Honestly, I'm the worst singer in the world (you know if you've had the unfortunate opportunity to hear me in karaoke), so any musical would make me so happy to be in. 
BW:  Number 8.  If you could star in the remake of any movie, what would it be and what character would you play? 
BT:  This is absolutely silly, and I'm a little embarrassed to say this, but I'd love to play Jane Fonda's role in Cat Ballou.  I must have watched that movie a million times growing up. It's an old Western about a school teacher turned train robber. I'm always attracted to those silly melodrama style shows – they are just fun, light-hearted entertainment. 
BW:  Ha!  I love that movie! That’s officially my favorite answer to that question!  Number 9.  What do you do to calm your nerves before a performance? 
BT:  Usually I work the dinner shift and then run upstairs to do the show. It seems stressful, but actually it's been a blessing because I don't have time to focus on being nervous. And I can get insanely, uncomfortably nervous. Usually I question my decisions to be an actor right before I go on, like why I would torture myself this way; it is not worth the stress! But then you get out there and remember the magic. 

Beth Tantanella in Misses Strata. Photo – The Bard'sTown.
BW:  Number 10.  When you’re not at The Bard’s Town, what can you most often be found doing?
BT:  Yoga, yoga, yoga! I teach, I take, and I study – all of the above. I've also recently discovered barre classes and aerial silks classes, and I've just recently started teaching aerial yoga. And yes, you can do it! Anyone can, and it's so much fun – a whole new work out/meditation experience!
BW:  Number 11.  Any plans to leave Louisville? Or do we get to keep you all to ourselves?
BT:  When you make plans, the universe laughs. I am open to leaving if the opportunity comes up and the timing is right. But right now I'm sort of crazy in love with Louisville. 
BW:  (Yay!) Number 12.  What’s something you wish Doug would put on the menu?
BT:  Oh my goodness, when Schutte (as we lovingly call him) gets experimental with food,  life is good. He makes fabulous desserts and recently did a s'mores pizza. To. Die. For. 
BW:  Number 13.  What are you going to be for Halloween? 
BT:  I'm thinking a 1950s' style Stepford Wife. But I always change my mind last minute. 
BW:  Number 14.  What is it that makes you do theatre? 
BT:  Practicing theatre is a never-ending journey. I am a forever student learning something new every time I watch a show or act in one. 
BW:  Number 15.  What’s something you want to make sure you do in the next two years?
BT:  Get certified in Thai massage. And when I do, I will offer massages for actors and directors before shows. So keep me in mind!
BW:  You’re cast!  Number 16.  What is the most commonly ordered item when you're waiting tables?
BT:  The Bard Burger. It's so good, y'all. The Rigate Diablo, too, but try it with sausage instead of chicken. And of course, there is nothing more sinful than our Mac and Cheese. Nothing. Have you tried the Gooey Butter Cake? Oh, goodness, I could go on and on. Food is love, and we will love you so much at The Bard's Town. 
BW:  Number 17.  Who is someone who inspires you and why?
BT:  All of the people I have worked for, at the restaurant, yoga studios, theatres, etc., have been such an inspiration to me. The dedication to their careers, their passions, and showing me that it is possible to do what you love and love what you do. I've been so lucky to be surrounded by such incredible people. I want to pass that on. Louisville has heart – there's no doubt about that. 

The Bard’s Town presents RX by Kate Fodor
October 24-27, 31, and November 1, 2 (all at 7:30 p.m.)
Tickets $12-15, and available at
http://www.thebardstown.com/
The Bard's Town Theatre
1801 Bardstown Road
Louisville, KY 40205
(502) 749-5275

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