Lydia Real stars as Maddy/Medea in Bliss (or Emily Post is Dead!) by Jami Brandli. Lydia answered some questions with AAD Callie Prendiville about her process:
CP: Were you familiar with Greek mythology prior to working on this project? What has surprised you the most about the source material for these characters?
LR: Yes, I was familiar with Greek mythology prior to working on this project. In fact, Medea is my favorite tragic heroines in Greek Mythology. I love that she is a foreigner, I love that she is a sorceress, I love that even in her madness, she is always driven by love. This directly links to what I love about Maddy. She has sacrificed so much and continues to do so for love. Is it misguided? Yes. Is it irrational? Hell yes. However, Maddy makes her decisions with so much conviction and passion. Maddy (and Medea) is the power in her relationship, the strength in her family. She just makes things happen, as Jamie writes, “No matter the sacrifice. No matter the cost.”
CP: What is your favorite thing about Maddy? What’s the most challenging thing about her?
LR: What is most challenging about her? I believe I can answer this best in relation to the entire rehearsal process. As a character, she has so many layers, and in being set in the 1960’s, I wanted to make sure that I honored her strength and not make her into a caricature. The playwright did such an amazing job showing power and strength in all of these women, despite being set in an era where female empowerment and individuality was a rarity. As an actor, I was TERRIFIED about singing and playing the ukulele. Singing in front of people is actually a phobia of mine that I have actively been trying to overcome for the past couple of years. Delicia lovingly gave me a “come to Jesus” bit of advice during rehearsal about owning my art and playing with abandonment. “Fake it till you make it.” she said, and seriously, it f*#king worked! I faked confidence every time I had to sing, and now I feel no fear. Thank you D!
CP: What do you hope audiences walk away with after seeing Bliss?
The message of this show is so relevant for our America today. In our current social climate, the surge of desire for diversity, equal rights and individual empowerment resonate so strongly in this play. I want audiences to walk away remembering that we as individuals have so much power to change the world, that our thoughts and actions have a profound effect on everyone who we connect with. Our lives matter and we can break the cycles set by society, our families, and ourselves.