Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Julie Generes Finds Magic in the Theatre

Julie Generes
(Paul Wood Photography)
by Don Redman

Julie Generes has directed many shows at Slidell Little Theatre, her favorites include Evita, The Producers, and The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged). She also recently directed The Beauty Queen of Leenane at COPA in Covington.

Other past work includes directing and producing Beautiful Bastards in New Orleans and elsewhere, co-producing the first season of The Red Light District Variety Show at Le Chat Noir, managing La Nuit Theater, being Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, producing the southern premier of Pterodactyls, and goofing off with actor friends as Mrs. Markham in Move Over Mrs. Markham, and then more goofing off with friends in Rocky Horror as Dr. Frank. 

Q: What was your earliest involvement in theatre?

 GENERES: I was in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in grammar school. I played a tree and stood still for a long time.

Q: What attracted you to theatre to begin with?
GENERES: The really great pay. Actually, I always loved to write, and theatre is just another way to tell stories.

Q: What is it about theatre that holds your interest today?

GENERES: While I love to be on the stage telling a story, I love directing even more. There is nothing like watching something unfold from a read through at the beginning (which is always awful) to its becoming a real play as actors delve into their characters, the set goes up, the magic of the lights and sound enter in- it is truly magical.

Q: What are five plays that you’ll never forget and why?

1. The Lieutenant of Inishmore- exploding cats. What more could you want? 
2.  A Streetcar Named Desire- My sister and I both played Blanche. She was amazing.
3. Much Ado About Nothing- I met my fabulous husband.
4. Baal-It was positively awful.
5. Pterodactyls- In addition to it being a southern premiere, I built a giant T-Rex in my kitchen. Great conversation piece that made dinnertime super special for a while.
Q: What play do you think people should see, but probably haven’t?

GENERES: The Lieutenant of Inishmore- six gallons of blood, body parts being sawed off, exploding cats, torture, Irish accents, murder- and yet it is a comedy. I never laughed so hard in my life, and have loved Martin McDonagh ever since. I even got to direct his show "The Beauty Queen of Leenane" and enjoyed it thoroughly as well.

Q: What was the oddest play you ever saw, directed or starred in?
 GENERES: I cannot believe I am going to reveal this- but I did Deathtrap at Playmakers and played the psychic. The director cast two people to play one of the male roles (for reasons only known to him) and the first actor did Act 1 and the second actor played the part in Act 2. He made sure the audience knew they were the same character by pinning a big rubber pumpkin to each actor's belt, which had nothing to do with the play. I am not making this up. It was insane.

Q: What was the best advice you ever received about acting?

GENERES: "Act better."

Q: When did you first know you wanted to become an actor?

GENERES: I'm not sure if I've decided I want to be one yet.

Q: What was the first show you ever directed?

 GENERES: I honestly don't remember the name. It was something about Sherlock Holmes. 

Q: Name your top three roles as an actor and tell us why.

1. Maggie the Cat- I love her, and I love Tennessee Williams. He wrote some wonderful roles for women and to get to speak what amounts to poetry is lovely.
2.  Dr Frankenfurter- I loved Tim Curry in the movie and have so much fun doing that show.
3.  Mrs Markham- I like British accents. And I got to have fun with some awesome actors.

Q: What role would you love to play that you haven't yet?

GENERES: Eleanor of Aquitane. Really the answer is Hamlet, but I am not a big fan of the girls-playing-guy-roles thing as a choice. But he's awesome and has a sword.

Q: What is the scariest part of an audition?

GENERES: All of it. It makes me nicer to actors when I am in the director's chair though. I know how they feel.

Q: What is the strangest thing a role required you to do?

GENERES: I had to be a half man/half woman in a play written by Gary Mendoza. I actually had a great time with that, but I'd say it was strange. Only for you, Gary. Only for you.

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