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Messenger No. 4 – Dramatis Personae – Philip Olson

Name: Philip Olson

Where are you from originally?
I was born in Pasadena California, just down the street from the famous Hollywood Graveyard (where Michael Jackson lives). I spent much of my youth living in the deserts of Albuquerque, NM

How long have you been in Austin?
15 years, I moved here before all the cedars turned into strip malls.

Who are some of the the folks you’re playing in Messenger No. 4?
I play Messenger No. 15, best friend to Messenger No. 4. I work in tech support, and don’t really enjoy my cubicle life. I make it a personal mission to keep No. 4 out of trouble, no matter the cost.

I also get to play a love-struck Demetrius from Midsummer, Apollo god of the Sun, and Menalaeus king of Sparta !

What was the very first show you did ever in your entire life?
My very first play was Crazy for You by Ira Gershwin. I was seventeen, and it was my junior year of high school. I was actually to scared to audition for a large part, but I ended up reading for one anyway by sort of a fluke. After going from a shy, introverted artist to being in the spotlight, I was hooked. Most of my peers had been acting their whole lives, so it took some time for me to catch up.

What is the single most fun thing you’ve ever gotten to do on stage?
Ok, this is going to sound really weird but…

I was in a play in college called Slaughter City. It’s about workers in a pork processing plant. Very gritty, dark, and rough. My character was unable to connect to people in a real way, and he had a vivid imagination. He has a crush on a woman twice his age, so he re-enacts a seduction scene… with a pig carcass. There was this big rock-musical number when it came down from the ceiling on a hydraulic hook, and that number/scene was the craziest/coolest moment I’ve ever experienced on a stage.

What moment on stage do you wish you could go back and erase from history?
A musical I was in two years ago based on the Odyssey by Homer. It was such an  embarrassing mess, and everybody that came and saw me was too embarrassed to even talk to me about it. It was boring, corny, too long, and with unending rock ballad after rock ballad. I played the son of Odysseyus, and I spent the whole play trying to kick these drunk suitors out of the house. I ultimately have a power ballad, and kill them all. ‘Nuff said.

What about Messenger No. 4 are you most excited to be sharing with an audience?
The amazing ensemble work, and how dynamic every single actor is. It’s great to have the set and the props have a life of their own, and I love watching that. Chorus work can be drudgery… or the best part of the show. I hope that Messenger No. 4 will really surprise and excite audience members with its group work.

Messenger No. 4 – Dramatis Personae – Karina Domiguez

Name: Karina Dominguez

Where are you from originally?
El Paso by way of southern Arizona by way of northern Mexico.

How long have you been in Austin?
Since 1997, with a 1 1/2 year stint on the west coast after college.

Who are some of the the folks you’re playing in Messenger No. 4?
Receptionist, Klytemnaistra, Medea, Lady M.

What was the very first show you did ever in your entire life?
I was in the Christmas Pageant for my Kindergarten.
I got to play a sugar plum fairy. I remember being so excited to wear a tutu and makeup. I didn’t have ballet slippers, but my mom bought me a beautiful pair of plum colored flats to wear on the day of the show. We didn’t really rehearse the dance sequence prior to the show and then my nerves took over and so when I supposed to move right, I moved left instead and stepped on my scene partners foot.

What is the single most fun thing you’ve ever gotten to do on stage?
I played the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele in a musical at the Vortex a few years ago. I got a dance solo while surrounded by some really good looking merpeople.

What moment on stage do you wish you could go back and erase from history?
Messing up a scene in a Greek tragedy that nearly derailed the play.

What about Messenger No. 4 are you most excited to be sharing with an audience?
Tan tan taaaaaaaaan!

Messenger No. 4 – Dramatis Personae – Jessica Allen

Name: Jessica Allen

Where are you from originally?
Devine, TX
It’s a town consisting of 4,000 people south of San Antonio, and yes, the name says it all.

How long have you been in Austin?
I actually live in San Marcos, and have been there for almost 10 years.

Who are some of the the folks you’re playing in Messenger No. 4?
Helena from Midsummer, Dionysus, and if course sexy security guard.

What was the very first show you did ever in your entire life?
I was 13 and it was a play called ‘This is a Test’. I was on stage maybe two minutes, and still got All Star Cast!

What is the single most fun thing you’ve ever gotten to do on stage?
Wear a giant red wig, and take my bloomers off.

What moment on stage do you wish you could go back and erase from history?
Well, I know that we learn from everything, and even the so called “bad” things are inherently good in the long run, but my senior year of high school we were disqualified in OAP at the district competition for going over time.

It was pretty devastating to my teenage heart, and I felt like it was my fault, because I was the last one on stage. But, hey I am stronger now because of it, and once in college I realized that it wasn’t really that big of a deal.
(Ed note: No. It is a big deal… I’m still not over my DQ in 93…)

What about Messenger No. 4 are you most excited to be sharing with an audience?
I love the characters we have all created. The script offered so much room to play, and it has been such a fun and hilarious process.

I am excited for other people to get in on the joke 🙂

Messenger No. 4 – Dramatis Personae – Rachel Wiese

Name: Rachel Wiese

Where are you from originally?
I’m from Arkansas. For the first 10 years of my life, I lived at the Heifer Project International learning and livestock center where volunteers from around the world came from weeks to years to help raise animals that were then shipped to third world countries as gifts that keep on giving (if you feed and water them). Then I moved from the commune to Petit Jean Mountain where my nearest neighbors were miles down the road and the nearest town was 22 miles away. SO, I went to the big city of Memphis for school- theatre and religious studies- and then it was off to New York to act and eat 3 for $1 fruit from street stands for three years. I moved to Austin for a guy.

How long have you been in Austin?
3 ½ years, I’m still with the guy.

Who are some of the folks you’re playing in Messenger No. 4?
“An unimportant Chorus Member”
(per Messenger #4, Will Hollis Snider)
(ED NOTE: She’s also Movement Choreographer, Messenger 23, Iphigenia, Shakespeare.)

What was the very first show you did ever in your entire life?
The role of baby Jesus in a Christmas Pageant, but for real my first play was called “Myths and Men” and although I really wanted to play Persephone because she had a pretty costume, I was cast as the Narrator because of my uncanny ability at a very young age to memorize lots of words regardless of comprehending them. My first line in the play was “This is where the sky gods live, they rule earth from here”. My voice was really high pitched and I was nicknamed Betty Boop from my fifth grade stage debut through graduation. The skill has served me well when I apply it- I once got out of a New Testament final in college by memorizing and publicly reciting 1st and 2nd Timothy.

What is the single most fun thing you’ve ever gotten to do on stage?
Fly.

What moment on stage do you wish you could go back and erase from history?
Well, it was sort of off-stage. I had a big fight with another actor in a high school production of “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying”, and I put ABC gum in the sandwich he had to eat on stage. It was my ABC gum… I’m not really proud of that, I guess he could of choked or something.

What about Messenger No. 4 are you most excited to be sharing with an audience?
The story is really clever and a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to telling it with this amazing ensemble.

You and you and nothing but you.

Well I hope you’ve been reading along as we’ve been introducing the cast of our upcoming Messenger No. 4 (Or…. How to Survive a Greek Tragedy). If you haven’t been following along you really should check it out, they’re delightful.

I’ve been asking them about their favorite and least favorite moments on stage because at its heart Messenger No. 4 is about the lengths we go to to create the former and erase the latter (both on stage and in life). Whether those erasable forgettable moments happen because it’s truly bad play or because of cosmic confluence – they never quite leave us… nor do those good moments… whether transcendent performance moments or crises managed with casts you adore.

I want to hear your war stories.

What was your favorite moment on stage?
What moment do you wish you could simply erase forever?

Drop them in the comments here or write a post of your own and link it in the comments below.

and here, a portrait of the artist as a young man as an old man.

Messenger No. 4 – Dramatis Personae –Joey Melcher

Name: Joey Melcher

victoria joey-3

Where are you from originally?
Houston, TX

How long have you been in Austin? 1 year

Who are some of the the folks you’re playing in Messenger No. 4?
Rogue Messenger, Orestes, Past Messenger No.4

What was the very first show you did ever in your entire life?
The Castaways. I played a homeless, singing child.

What is the single most fun thing you’ve ever gotten to do on stage?
While doing a children’s show in Houston, I accidentally picked a scab on my face. Classy, right? Well, the combo of sweat and blood streaming down my face and staining my clothes was pretty fun… What? Not the answer you’re looking for?

What moment on stage do you wish you could go back and erase from history?
While playing Cyrano in college, a crew member spilled spirit gum on my hands while reapplying to my prosthetic nose in between Acts. This made it extremely difficult to give Christian the letter Cyrano wrote to Roxanne.

What about Messenger No. 4 are you most excited to be sharing with an audience?
A dude who would never play Romeo playing Romeo.

Messenger No. 4 – Dramatis Personae – Vanessa Marroquin

Name: Vanessa Renae Marroquin

Vanessa

Where are you from originally?
Oh, just the best place in Texas to eat incredible Mexican Food, and it’s only 20 minutes north of the border!  McAllen, Texas.

How long have you been in Austin?
Technically I haven’t “been in” Austin, since I live in San Marcos right now, but I have lived in the central Texas area for about two years now and I absolutely love it.

Who are some of the the folks you’re playing in Messenger No. 4?
Well, I am playing some various Narrative Inc. employees, an elevator panel, trees, a fire alarm, and the like. Oh! And Chrysothemis, of course. She’s my favorite.

What was the very first show you did ever in your entire life?
It was a Christmas play my elementary school put on about an elf who became an Elvis Impersonator and was shunned from the rest of the elfish clan until Santa taught them the importance of following one’s dreams, no matter how weird they may be. I was Elf Number 3. It would have been a stellar performance if Elf Number 2 hadn’t been poking me and making fart noises throughout the entire show.

What is the single most fun thing you’ve ever gotten to do on stage?
At fifteen, I got to be a high spirited twelve year old blind girl who ran around stage laughing insanely while having the time of her life. It was so great. Oh, and I also got to tackle people to the ground. Did I mention I was blind?

What moment on stage do you wish you could go back and erase from history?
I would say the time I sang Stacie Orrico’s “More to Life” in my middle school talent show while wearing a pink newsboy hat and silver leather jacket; or the time I played King Herrod in my church’s Christmas play where I was forced to sing like a man and “tap dance”, but then I wouldn’t be the person I am today, so I won’t.  I know.  I’m so cliché.

What about Messenger No. 4 are you most excited to be sharing with an audience?
The original concept. When I first read the script, I was so intrigued and fell in love with the story. It was one I had never really read before, and it is just so exciting. I think when the audience watches it, they will know they are seeing something very special and unique from the very start.

Messenger No. 4 – Dramatis Personae – Camille Latour

Name:
Camille Latour

Where are you from originally?
I was born in a beautiful house here in Austin.  I’ve been a Southie pretty much my whole life.

How long have you been in Austin? 
I have been back for 5 years.  I got my (undergrad) liberal arts degree from Bennington College, VT, and Masters of Education from Loyola College, MD.

I have lived in Los Angeles, and have also enjoyed performing in San Francisco, New York, and Milan as well as Austin, Bastrop, Georgetown, and Lockhart.

Who are some of the the folks you’re playing in Messenger No. 4?
I’m psyched to be playing the mighty (and saucy) Goddess Artemis, as well as Aeschylus (the slightly curmudgeony father of Greek Tragedy – quite a claim, right?)  I also have an action-packed line of Gertrude’s from Hamlet that I totally love!!!  (:  Mainly, I am delighted to get to work collaboratively as a member of the Ensemble.  Those gals are a very talented riot.

What was the very first show you did ever in your entire life?
I think the first show I was ever inspired by (I was a child in the audience) was an Epic production of Winnie the Pooh – maybe at the Hyde Park Theater.  I marveled at the other children dressed up as woodland creatures coming through the aisles – it was an exciting magic that I knew I wanted to be part of.

In 2nd grade, I played Gertrude in Hamlet (quite an ambitious choice for 7 yr olds, no?!)  But I remember feeling jipped b/c I lost the coin toss over getting to play Ophelia.

What is the single most fun thing you’ve ever gotten to do on stage?
That is a tie between 2 experiences: In 4th grade I played Hermes and ran around in a sheet stealing sheep and stuff. (Now I just run around stealing valuables and sometimes the odd piece of luggage…)

Later, in 5th grade I went on to play “Kat” in an original adaptation we did of “Taming of the Shrew”.  I don’t remember much from that play, but I loved it.  Partly because my mom let me spray my hair but mostly because I got to slap somebody.

What moment on stage do you wish you could go back and erase from history?
Once in a summer musical in Vermont I was playing a partygoer, and the fellow playing the male lead actually whispered to me on stage (during a performance) “Don’t you dare upstage me!”

…so then I had to.  (;

What about Messenger No. 4 are you most excited to be sharing with an audience?
I love that I get to play.

That I get to do what I love with other brave folks who make it fun.

Plus, I’m really looking forward to kicking M4 out of my bar, yelling at him as Artemis, and messing up Apollo’s hair.

Thanks for asking.