April 7, 2010
SEATTLE - Liz Lay is one of the few individuals who can play a character during many different situations. Although she missed most of the year with a knee injury, Lay is the type of player on the basketball court who showed toughness when it comes to scoring points or defending, willing to do anything that will help the team win. Off the floor, the forward takes her passion to another location - the stage. The aspiring actress is taking her skills to another floor to conquer new challenges. Her hidden talents were discovered during high school and have blossomed into one of her career ambitions. Lay talked about her upcoming performance in "A U-Dubber's Night's Dream," which will be performed on May 25-June 6 at the Jones Playhouse on 4045 University Way, with GoHuskies.com correspondent Jerome Johnson.
GoHuskies.com: Can you give us a breakdown of the play?
Liz Lay: The play is a remake of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." What we did was take five University of Washington communities, athletes, ROTC, first generation students, returning students, and early admits students and incorporated those activities with the plot of the play. You are kind of seeing what it is like to be a University of Washington student. It is a really funny play. I think everyone that see's will also agree that it will be really funny.
GH: How are you preparing yourself for this play?
LL: I am preparing myself pretty well. My best friend Darnell Gant, he's a men's basketball player is also in it. We kind of just act all the time. Not necessarily about the play but because it's fun so we can focus on acting and keep that on our minds we just do random scenes with each other. It really helps me get focused acting. This is what we need to focus on for this period in time until the play is over.
GH: Could you give me an example of a random scene?
LL: One of the funniest scenes we have done was a Maury (Povich) segment, which is awkward. It was really fun. It was him and I and a few other people and we had our drama on the Maury show. We don't do anything really serious, we just do stuff that is really fun that we both really enjoy watching. You can be whatever and act however you want because it's Maury. There are crazy people on there. It's a win-win situation either way.
GH: Can you describe a typical practice?
LL: We get to practice and we usually do a warm up vocal exercises. Recently we have been doing read-throughs. Everyone will come and sit in a circle and read through the play. We won't do blocking, but we'll have our character and act like as if we were moving. Then we break into groups and we do our individual scenes. We just kind of learn part by part. It's a lot of repetition over and over until you get that scene down. Then you take a day or two off and come back and do the same thing over and over again.
GH: Are you practicing in that time off?
LL: I don't really have anyone help me with my lines, but I will try to remember what we did in my head and think about how I can improve it or do it differently. I am not ashamed to say, but I practice in the mirror.
GH: Can you elaborate on working with Darnell?
LL: This being my first university play, I think that having him in it with me made it the experience that it is and is becoming. We are already close off the floor, like off the stage and basketball floor. Having someone who is really [motivating] like `come on Liz! I know you know this part. Just deliver it.' Someone really encouraging to really get me to become more of my character is really nice. I am not really close with any other person in the play except for Darnell. Having him makes it, makes me want to go to rehearsal first off. He makes it fun. We rely on each other to hold each other accountable.
GH: Can you give us a breakdown of your character?
LL: I am part of the administrative dean. I am the administrative dean's assistant. I just do what the dean says. I follow her a little. I am new to UW so I am trying to learn my role and as every community is doing their little part, like ROTC and athletes, I am learning the spirit of the university.
GH: In the future will you be in more productions?
LL: I am hoping to be. I am hoping this will be my major. In order for that to happen I have to take a few more steps which require a few more plays.
GH: Do you have a favorite play?
LL: My favorite play I did in high school was Little Women. It was fun. I did it with all my high school friends. It was a great production. We kind of took the character and took it away from its typical movie character and changed it into something funny. It was awesome.
GH: How did you fall into this outlet of expressing yourself through acting?
LL: It began when I was a sophomore in high school and basketball started to get heavy, recruiting was a big part of my life and it was overwhelming. I need something else to balance me out and I entered into a drama class in my high school. I am dramatic in real life and realized it was a really fun outlet. I did my first play and loved it because it was relaxing and took me out of the recruiting Liz and made me a regular student acting Liz. It helped balanced out mentally stress and relaxation