TAKE A TEN with GABBY PEREZ!

March 25, 2018

One Thousand Nights and One Day Actor, GABBY PEREZ, answers 5 big questions and 5 little ones while on break!

TAKE A TEN!

1) Who or what inspired you to become a performer or enter into Theatre Arts?

I never had that one moment as a child that crystallized for me, “I want to be an actor!”. I had plenty of incredible mentors and teachers, but none that inspired me to pursue this as a career. For me, it was always a given. Theater was — and is — the source of the greatest joy I’ve ever felt. As a child, dancing around the house, writing my own songs, and putting on shows was a daily occurrence. It was just so fun. It made me so, so happy. And that simply didn’t change; in fact, that joy solidified into purpose once I got older and began taking class. I realized that there was a technique to creation and performance, and that I could pursue it for my entire life. Not only was that worthwhile, it’s the most fun I’ve ever had. 

2) Why is Theatre important to you?

I honestly believe it can change lives. Obviously, it has changed my life in that it has given it purpose and passion. Theatre creates community and a sense of belonging. It brings actors, creatives, and crews together into a temporary family, and then we extend that sense of community to our audience. We go on a journey together in performance that only happens in real time; for the time that we are all in a theater space together (performing or witnessing), we are sharing a singular human experience that cannot be replicated ever again. It feels almost magical because it’s so important and fleeting and ephemeral. I can remember shows that I saw over ten years ago; it only lasted a few hours, but left a huge impact on me. Second, theatre can change minds. I love a funny musical with show tunes you can hum on your way home, but the most important work is the show that makes you question things you thought you knew, or plops some great truth about the human experience into your lap. 

3) This show is so relevant to current events- what do you hope audiences take away from it?

This one will make you think. It will make you uncomfortable and then make you laugh out loud. I hope audiences can see themselves in our show, regardless of their background. I hope they can take a step back and look at themselves, what they think they know and assume. We all learn things, be it in a school classroom, from parents, or from what we see on the evening news. This show is inviting the audience to not only identify what they have been taught, where they learned those lessons (and question whether they were even aware that they were being taught them), but also to assess if those lessons are really “right”. The assumptions and black-and-white answers from individual minds accumulate to our society’s collective narrative, and that holds real power. 

4) Who would you most like to work with?

I don’t know that I have a concrete list of names. Obviously, I admire many well-known theater artists, but I really just want to be in a room with kind people who are interested in making honest, pure art. I have absolutely found that in the cast and creative team for this show, “One Thousand Nights and One Day”. It is so important to me that everyone is open, generous, and trusts each other, and above all, that we all deeply care about the piece we’re creating. Love of discovery and play (without judgement) creates a sacred environment in which one can try anything, laugh a lot, and be vulnerable — all in service of the text we’re performing. 

5) What is coming up next for you?

This summer, I’ll be heading to Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre to perform as Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady” and Lady Percy in “Henry IV”. After that, I’ll be heading to the Newport Music Festival in Rhode Island for a “West Side Story” concert series celebrating Leonard Bernstein. And hopefully a vacation! 

— 5 till places!—

6) Favorite album in high school?

I’m an old soul: I grew up listening to Bob Dylan, Santana, Aretha Franklin, and B. B. King. In high school, I was probably listening to some latin or blues album that dropped decades before I was born. 

7) Cats or Dogs?

Cats.

8) What are you reading?

I usually read historical fiction, but right now I’m reading “The Power of Habit”. It’s an examination of how the routines we unknowingly fall into shape our lives, and what it would take to recognize those habits and alter them for the better. It’s a bit scientific and clinical, but I find that it absolutely applies to my work as an artist.

9) Best way to spend your day off?

I am a huge proponent of self care. For me, that’s staying in my apartment or neighborhood, being with my favorite people, eating healthy food, sleeping in, yoga, getting a massage, reading, taking a bath. It’s different for every person, but finding those few things that help you to reset your brain and body to gear up for the coming week of rehearsals is key. 

10) What is the best advice you have ever been given?

The following is a quote that I re-visit very often as an artist. It is my reminder that even if I have a bad audition, a bad rehearsal, a low point of self-esteem, what matters is that we artists spend our lives discovering and bathing in the inarticulable truths of what it means to be a human being. To me, that is a very noble cause.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. 

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, 

whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; 

who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; 

but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; 

who spends himself in a worthy cause; 

who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, 

and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” 

— Theodore Roosevelt 

Thank you ten!!!

Gabby Pérez (Virgin Bride, Others) is an actor who sings, dances, and choreographs. She enjoys noodling on her ukulele and doing crossword puzzles. NY credits: ART/NY, Radio City, Joe’s Pub, Fringe Festival. National tour: Anything Goes. Regional credits include: Nina Rosario ( In the Heights ), Marian Paroo ( Music Man ), Portia ( Julius Caesar ), Anita ( West Side Story ). She is a big fan of rehearsals that thrill, challenge, and shock her; thank you to this visionary team for the joyous exploration.

About the show:

In mythic Persia, a daring young woman spins tales to save the kingdom and her life. In modern-day New York, a Jewish man and Palestinian woman fight to find love in a fractured world. This world premiere musical, adapted from Jason Grote’s critically-acclaimed play 1001, reinvents “The Arabian Nights,” colliding the contemporary and the ancient. Through a genre-bending score, it questions past and present images of the Middle East, exploring the power of story in our everyday lives.

How can I see it??

Performances for One Thousand Nights and One Day are Tuesday at 7PM, Wednesday at 7PM, Thursday at 8PM, Friday at 8PM, Saturday at 2PM and 8PM (no matinee April 7), and Sunday at 2PM (April 8 there is an added 7PM Sunday show, April 15 the matinee is at 5PM). Single Tickets are $25 – $55, with special rates available to Prospect Members. Tickets can be purchased by visiting: http://www.ProspectTheater.org or calling 212-352-3101.

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