By Byrne Harrison
A recent graduate of The Juilliard School and celebrated performer with choreographers such as Monica Bill Barnes and Larry Keigwin, Charlotte Bydwell makes her solo show debut with Woman of Leisure and Panic at the SoloNOVA Festival.
What is your theatrical background?
I trained as a dancer growing up and graduated from The Juilliard School with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance in 2009. I joined Monica Bill Barnes & Company shortly thereafter and have performed with them at a number of venues around the United States, including the Joyce Theatre in New York City. I started studying acting with Anthony Abeson in my final years of college and have since been auditioning and taking small jobs here and there to try my hand in the industry. Woman of Leisure and Panic grew out of my experiences both as an emerging dancer and as a budding actress.
How did you get involved in the solo format?
This is my first evening-length solo work, but I've been creating shorter solos on myself since a very early age. This show is actually an expansion of one such work that I created to commemorate my graduation from The Juilliard School. On this occasion, my classmates and I were each allowed to select any choreographer of our choosing to set a solo for us. I opted to return to my roots and rediscover the spontaneity and freedom I had always found in my own material. Through this experience, I was reminded of the joy there is in creating my own circumstances on stage and performing something I understand on a very instinctual level.
Who are your inspirations?
Margie Gillis, a famous Canadian solo-dance maker. She's made a career out of listening to the characters inside of her, following her impulses and trusting her creative inspiration. And, Meryl Streep, for her poise, elegance and sense of character.
Tell me a little bit about your show.
Woman of Leisure and Panic is a one-woman show based on my experiences as a performing artist and emerging adult in New York City. Using physicality and text, it conveys my quest to find balance in a life where every achievement seems to bring further uncertainty. The audience gets a very intimate look at my struggle to remain financially stable, physically fit, romantically satisfied and creatively stimulated. It’s very neurotic, but in the most enjoyable and charming way!
If you could get any person (living or dead, famous or not) to come see your show, who would you choose?
Tina Fey. Or the late Artistic Director Emeritus of my first dance school, Mr. Brydon Paige, who was the first person to notice my inclination towards theatricality and my quirky sense of humor.
What's next for you after soloNOVA?
I'll be performing at the Joyce Theater on June 2nd and 4th with Monica Bill Barnes & Co. Then, showing another work of mine at the Center for Performance Research at the end of June. But mostly, I’ll be trying to find ways to keep Woman of Leisure and Panic going, hopefully with new performance opportunities.
WOMAN OF LEISURE AND PANIC
Created and Performed by Charlotte Bydwell
Presented as part of the 8thAnnual soloNOVA Festival
P. S. 122 (150 1st Avenue)
Wednesday, May 11th at 9pm
Friday, May 13th at 7pm
Saturday, May 14th at 4pm
Wednesday, May 18th at 7pm
Thursday, May 19th at 9pm
Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.9thspace.org/ or by calling 212-352-3101.
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