Driscoll is Wickedly Acerbic and Consistently Funny
That’s what the UT San Diego review of her performance in MOXIE’s Mud Blue Sky says. “DeAnna Driscoll has long been one of San Diego’s best actors, but rarely has she had a part as rich and multifaceted as Beth. Driscoll’s wickedly acerbic and consistently funny performance is the highlight of the show.”- UT SAN DIEGO
MOXIE can’t say they’re the least surprised by the outstanding press she’s receiving for her performance. After casting her in another Wegrzyn play, The Butcher of Baraboo which she also received rave reviews for, the company was eager to work with her again. “We never auditioned for the role of Beth. I had worked on stage with DeAnna a few times and seen her work all over San Diego. When I read Mud Blue Sky I offered her the role immediately. She brings truth and humanity to every character she plays and it helps that she’s funny as hell,” says Mud Blue Sky director and MOXIE co-founder, Jennifer Eve Thorn.
MOXIE caught up with DeAnna Driscoll between the show and school. She’s also a teacher at High Tech Middle where she teaches drama and wins the hearts of her dedicated students.
When would San Diego audiences recently have seen you on stage before Mud Blue Sky?
I was last seen in the show, BETHANY at the Old Globe Theater.
How are you like your character in Mud Blue Sky?
I love playing the character, Beth. She is very different than I am in so many ways and it has been challenging. As an actor I am always seeking that challenge to take me to the next level of my work and not let me ‘sit back and ride it out’. The character Beth does exactly that. The funny part is, even though I thought she was so vastly different than me, there are some ways we are very much alike. Beth likes her privacy, as do I. She leads a busy life and is constantly dealing with people and their issues. As a teacher, when not on stage acting, I am consistently dealing with student issues. Like Beth, sometimes I want to be a ‘slam locker’.
What have you learned during the rehearsal/performance process of Mud Blue Sky?
Even though these characters look easy to portray on the page, once we dug into rehearsals I was reminded of the depth that Marissa Wegrzyn writes with. None of the characters are simple minded, one dimensional, or easily portrayed. Every single character goes through a metamorphosis in this one evening that the audience gets to witness unfold in front of them.
What is the hardest moment in the show for you to not break character and laugh?
There is more than one since Marissa’s comedy is smart and catches you a bit off guard. One of the best is when JoAnne’s character asks me if I am having a stroke based on the physical gesture I make just previous to that line. I see her face and I can hardly keep mine from cracking. The other moment is when JoAnne’s character discovers that a porn movie is playing on my t.v. and I have to explain to her why it’s playing. It’s all about the writing and then relies heavily on the comedic timing of the actors.
What made you want to be a part of this production?
Simple. Being with the Moxie ladies once again. It’s always a privilege working with a group of women who are as passionate about theater as I am. I have had the honor of sharing the stage with Jennifer Eve Thorn in the past, but never the honor of being directed by her. She gives freedom for the actors to go about their process, but at the same time asks tough questions and makes you work for those moments. She doesn’t allow actors to do extraneous things with their work and I love a director with that trait. I also love the fact that I am once again sharing the stage with Jo Anne Glover as well as having the new experience of working with Melissa Fernandes, whose work I have admired for years, and discovering the enormous natural talent that exists in Tyler Jones. And, ever so important to any successful show is a stage manager that guides you with a firm, yet kind hand, and we have the honor of that being the lovely Brent Beavers.
What is most surprising to you about this play?
The humanity and layers in each character and the unfolding of their journey. Trying to explain the show to people is difficult. The good old question, “Oh, what is the show about?” should be simple to answer, but with this show it isn’t and I love that! Comedy looks easy to audience members and yet it’s the hardest thing for actors to do well, so it’s my favorite thing to be faced with on stage. When in rehearsal and saying the lines over and over and over you can forget how sharp and funny the piece is. Then you get it in front of an audience who is roaring with laughter and you go, ‘Oh yeah, this show is really damn funny!”
See for yourself just how “damn funny” Mud Blue Sky is. Playing now through June 8, 2014 at MOXIE Theatre. Tickets available online at http://www.moxietheatre.com or over the phone at 858-598-7620