Music, theatre major discusses her ‘Passion’ at SU

BY VIRGINIA LISCINSKY, ASST. LIVING & ARTS EDITOR

You’re in the opera “Passion.” What is your part in it?

My role in “Passion” is the role of Fosca, which actually translates from Italian into “dark.” My character is just what my name suggests – very dark. She’s the most extreme hypochondriac. She’s late 20s, she suffers from many illnesses.

What’s it been like to play her?

It’s physically exhausting, especially this week in itself that we’ve just been running this show full-out. I find myself so tired all the time. It’s also a very different mindset. The things she does are very out of normal common sense ways to handle situations, which was an interesting way to find validity in that, for me as an actor to figure out how to validate that for myself, playing the role, when it’s so unlike anything that I would normally do in life.

What have you done to prepare for it?

Devyn Wells '15

Devyn Wells ’15

We auditioned in the fall semester, and so we got the roles in the fall semester. Over winter break I got my hands on the score, and I started learning the music ’cause I knew that that would be the trickiest part for me. Memorization-wise, I wanted to make sure that I had that down before learning lines ’cause I struggle a lot with memorization of just text. So I wanted to get fully comfortable with that.

What’s a typical practice like?

To warm up for rehearsals, I stretch a lot. I try not to sing too much because she screams a lot, and I’m singing in the main part of my range for a lot of the show, which is very vocally exhausting by the end of it all. So I just need to pace myself throughout the day in order to be able to have a successful and comfortable performance, so I’m not too exhausted throughout it just because I had a long day or something.

What do you do for your classes, both theatre and music?

I just recently declared my theatre major, and I had some interesting theatre as a freshman. I’ve taken a couple literature classes for theatre, but as for the production and design emphasis, I haven’t really begun taking those classes yet, so that will begin next year. As for the music major, I’m pretty much almost finished because I came into school as a music ed. major, and they really load you up on all those core classes. I’ve been very interested and excited to take the theatre classes to apply what I’ve already learned so much from the Music Department into those things. I want to work a lot behind the scenes in theatre through production and design, and with my music major, I feel like that could help immensely.

What else are you involved in on campus?

On campus I am also involved in the University Choir. I’m involved in chamber singers. I’m also a music director for Harmonic Combustion, the a capella group on campus, so I spend time arranging songs for the group, getting the group together, rehearsing — all that business of managing a group, having a cohesive sound. Everything that I’m involved in is music-based.

Do you have other hobbies that you like to do?

I like to draw. That’s pretty much it. I like to sing, but that’s not really a hobby, it’s more of a career choice now.

With your work in theatre and music, where do you see yourself going after SU?

After SU, I really would like to get a certification in sound design and work a lot with production of music. I think having the theatre production and design major that I have now, mixed with my music major, will give me a greater chance to produce live music and really get the sound design aspect through that for a lot of music. There are a lot of things that are booming right now, like Live at the Metropolitan Opera, that are played in movie theatres, and there’s sound designers doing that — taking the sound live as it’s happening to produce it for a movie theatre — and that’s something I’m very interested in.