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Meet Actor Debra Lyman

Debra is performing in Feminist Horror Stories by Alice Stanley Jr., the next #newworkshop selection in Now & Then's 3rd season. Artistic Director John Perovich had a chance to speak with Debra about her role and her process for the workshop. Feminist Horror Stories by Alice Stanley Jr. will be presented to audiences this Friday, October 25 at 7:30PM and Saturday, October 26 at 11:00AM.

John Perovich (JP): Debra! It's great to have you back with us at Now & Then. Thank you for being a part of our first production—Medea—in 2017. Can you share a bit about yourself and your performance experience?

Debra Lyman (DL): John, you are going to make me date myself. Back in the 70’s, I began my adventure at Central High School with a very gifted teacher, Mrs. Pamela Fields. After high school, I went to Phoenix College where I learned more about theatre addiction at Phoenix College from Dr. John Paul and Dr. Larry Soller. I bring up my valued beginnings to show the amount of time I have lived in the Valley and my ability to watch theatre grow in the Valley as an audience member and actor. I have also had the opportunity as an older woman to play some great roles that I don’t think would have been available to me back then—a crazy ol’ blind lady, dust witch, Cheshire Cat, Meth Queen, a town-woman, Calpurnia, a whore, a hippie, and of course my beloved Nurse in Medea.

JP: I didn't know that Pam Fields was your teacher in high school! That's fantastic! I met Pam in 2014 when I first moved to Arizona. She was in the first play that I wrote while at ASU. Please tell us a bit about your process as an actor. How has it been different for this workshop?

DL:  Part of my process involves hand writing my character’s lines over and over. Another thing I do is interview the character about the play: life in general, conflicts, etc. You can imagine the room of characters in the interviews from Feminist Horror Stories. This particular workshop process has been different because Alice’s play is in progress, and discussion and reflections and modifications are underway throughout the whole process. So, it’s a continuous flow of a work in progress and the shaping of the characters; ensemble work has to be very fluid with quick adaptability, and concentrated listening to the dialogue going on about the intent and objective of the story and stories. It has been a great education, very fun—and I have gone home every night since Sunday happy and fulfilled.

JP: One quality that I really value in working with you as a performer is that you are consistently open to the adventure and possibilities of the process. Your thoughtful approach enriches the work—and inspires me to think more deeply about my process. Final question: there are so many options for seeing theatre in the valley or staying at home to stream. Why should audiences check out Feminist Horror Stories?

DL: There are quite a number of new shows and in-progress productions that everyone wants to see this weekend—I know I want to see. But I think this workshop showcase of Alice’s scary stories is a new and renewed view on select events/times in the female life that are revealed in such a pleasurable, wakening and thrilling way. I think if you come to the show on Friday or Saturday, that you will find lots of “Aha!” moments, gape for more than a moment, definitely laugh, glance at your theatre mate or friend sitting next to you, and maybe you will even fall off your chair. I know that when I go to a theatre show, dance, comic interlude, whatever, I want to do one of these things. And I think you will. Plus, Saturday morning at 11:00AM is a great time to see theatre...and then you have your Saturday night free for another great show in the Valley this weekend!

Feminist Horror Stories by Alice Stanley Jr. will be presented to audiences this Friday, October 25 at 7:30PM and Saturday, October 26 at 11:00AM. For info and tickets, click here.