Lydia McBee Reed is a second-year MFA Performance and Pedagogy student playing the role of Ballet Girl in the upcoming production of "Elephant's Graveyard."
What drew you to the Texas Tech Theatre & Dance Program?
I was amazed by the amount of opportunities the program offers students. Students are constantly encouraged to test their limits and the strengths as artists. I was delighted to find a program that did not want its students to stay in their box, but rather break out of it. It's a truly unique program!
You participated in Prague this last summer. What was the experience like?
It was a truly fabulous experience. Nowhere is quite like Prague, such rich diversity of history and art. The Arts in Prague taught by Dr. Linda Donahue was challenging and exciting! The time I spent there was truly moving; I can honestly say I came away with a new world view and even more wanderlust than before! I highly recommend the course to anyone interested in broadening their artistic perspective.
You're one of the directors for The BurkTech Players show The Good Doctor. How has that been?
This is my second semester working with the BurkTech Players and I could not be happier to be back! I believe theatre has the ability to connect people in profound and moving ways; the BurkTech Players are a perfect example of this power. This semester's production of The Good Doctor by Neil Simon was a rousing success, a testament to the work being done by the Burkhart Center and the BurkTech Players and all of those who help to make this testament to the power of theatre possible.
Tell us about your Elephant's Graveyard character Ballet Girl?
The Ballet Girl represents the seductive pull of the circus, but she is really much more than that. Ballet Girl performs an act with Mary the elephant in Spark's Circus and is one of the characters most directly affected by Mary's death. Much of Ballet Girl's power, self-worth, and security is tied to her ability to work with Mary. At the top of the show she states "Diamonds? Diamonds are nothing. An elephant is a girl's best friend," a statement countered at the end of the show after Mary has been executed with, "I might need some diamonds after all." This intimates that she has lost her sparkle and identity along with Mary. In many ways Ballet Girl represents the unforeseen effects on those close to the persecuted after flawed or hasty justice has been dealt.
This play is performed outside a traditional theatre space. What has the cast done so far in rehearsals to prepare for the new space?
Mainly we have worked on being sure our voices are able to fill the space, without straining or over working them. The TTU Equestrian Center offers us an intriguing and very fitting space for this production, but because it is a massive area to fill with sound, we want to be sure that patrons don't miss a word. Also, this production is staged in the round which is always an exciting challenge. It will truly take the audience to the circus for a night!
What challenges have you had in preparing for this role?
Working with the corset is always a challenge, especially in such a physical show, but the beautiful costume design is worth it! The cotton candy pink hair-do has been a hoot too!