Live in Theater Actors Series : Nicole Orabona
Live in Theater’s NYC outdoor interactive experiences are based on the streets of the Lower East Side. Our unique Off-Broadway interactive plays feature amazing actors who bring our experiences to life! We are starting a new blog series here at LIT to showcase our actors so you can learn more about them and their experiences with interactive theater!
Our first actor is Nicole Orabona!
Q: How did you become a part of the Live in Theater cast?
A: I met Carlo working with another interactive theater company, The Interactive PlayLab with Jeff Wirth. It was a natural progression to start working with Live In after we spent many months training together in interactive technique.
Q: What are the differences between interactive theatre and traditional theater?
A: Most obviously is that it's a completely different form of spectatorship. Traditional theater is generally a pretty passive experience for the audience, while interactive encourages and empowers the audience to play and participate. Interactive erases the fourth wall and makes the audience part of the show. There's also the aspect that you never know what is going to happen, as an actor. So much of interactive theater is improvised, you can't just memorize and recite lines. You get to listen and respond in real time to what the audience is doing. It keeps you on your toes and is also a ton of fun.
Q: What is your favorite element of interactive work?
A: I think that element of the unexpected. The moments when both audience and actor become surprised by something happening that they didn't think was going to happen. It's pretty magical.
Q: What is your experience with acting on the streets of New York?
A: Honestly, people in New York are so desensitized to the craziness of the city that 80% of the time people don't even notice. When I'm playing Trixie, I do get a lot of concerned looks. Now and again someone (usually a woman) will approach me and ask if I'm ok and I have to explain I'm an actor. One time a woman shielded her young daughters eyes and issued a warning about me. I get a few more looks while dressed as a bloody midwife. Someone even called the cops on me once when we were in the UWS! The streets of New York become another character, another thing to respond to in the course of the show. I love performing out there. It can be a challenge, with noise and distractions and all that, but I think it makes for a super unique audience experience.
Q: Who would be one historical figure in history you would like to play?
A: Oh man. Amelia Earhart, I think. She was so amazing and pioneering and then there's the mystery about the whole thing.
Q: What do you love about the character(s) you play?
A: I love that they're all interesting, complex humans. None of them are perfect. They all have flaws and strengths, and they're all a little larger than life. There's just so much room to play
Q: What’s the biggest challenge about taking on your character(s)?
A: It depends on the show. Often times I'm doing 2-3 person shows where you're playing 2-3 characters. During those shows it's making sure that each character is differentiated and has a clear, unique personality. I'd also say making sure that each time I do the street beat it's fresh. I've done each show many times, and within each show you do the same "beat" anywhere from 1-9 times. It can become exhausting to do the same beat so often, so there's always the challenge so stay fresh, to not become rote, and to listen to the last group an engage with them just as much as you did the first.
Q: What’s the last thing you do before an experience begins?
A: Close my eyes, take a deep breath in and out, and release whatever else is going on in my life for 2 hours.
Q: What did you add to the persona of the character during the interactive experience? ( a trait, a habit, a bio fact).
When I play the midwife I always eat some of the placenta and try to get the audience to try some, too. As Trixie I like to bum a cigarette off someone since they never have actual drugs to give me. (that'd be concerning if they did...)
Q: What do you do when you’re not doing theater?
A: I live on a boat with my partner and our cat, so I guess I'm usually just hanging out there with them and watching Star Trek or bad Nic Cage movies.
Q: If you had a magic wand, what show would you do next?
A: Angels in America. Harper has always been a dream role.
If you have any questions for Nicole about interactive theater, current projects, or anything else ... Please leave a comment below!
You can check Nicole out in her most recent project called Nine Cases: Colonel's Row. It's an interactive show taking place on Governor's Island July 11-15th. More Info here.