Jackie is playing Rocco in The Art of Living. Here, we asked her a few questions about musicals, the show, and that perfect moment when things start coming together.
Q: What was your first acting experience?
A: My first acting experience was in my sophomore year of high school. It was a play about teen pregnancy called Dolls.
Q: What’s your favorite show?
A: There are too many to count, but some of them are Chicago, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Little Shop of Horrors, Spamalot, Legally Blonde, and The Drowsy Chaperone.
Q: What’s the best part of performing?
A: Hearing the audience laugh or cheer for the first time. When rehearsing a show, you do it over and over with no feedback, all the while hoping that when they finally see it, they’ll love it. As theater actors, we crave that audience response to what we’re doing on stage, whether it’s trying to make them laugh, cry, or be audibly wowed.
Q: What’s your favorite part of the process?
A: I have two (favorites are hard for me!). The first is the read through. The first rehearsal. That’s when the bond of the cast begins. The silliness, the private jokes, the excitement of hearing the characters voiced. I love it. The second is a little more difficult to explain, because it can happen at different times for every production, sometimes more than once in a production. But the second is the click. The click that happens when you’ve run a scene over and over and it finally clicks into place. Or the click that happens when you understand something in the script that you never understood before, and it makes your character better. Or the click that happens when a dance routine cleans up so well that it makes the whole show step up a notch. The click that happens when the cast struggles with the harmonies in a song, and then one day, everyone finds their note. The click.
Q: What’s your favorite place inside a theater building?
A: My favorite place in the theater is in a seat front and center, or an aisle seat house right or house left, second row, after a rehearsal has finished and the stage is clear. It’s a great thinking spot.
Q: Do you have any particular techniques you rely on for getting into character?
A: If you mean right before I go on stage, it’s usually a pose that has to do with my character. A hand gesture, a facial expression, etc. I get into the pose in the wing, and it helps me center myself before walking onto the stage with it.
Q: Is there anything about playing Rocco that has you particularly excited?
A: I’m a chick gangster with boys to boss around and a gun…. what’s not to like? 😉
Jacqueline Robertin has been doing theater for over 20 years. Daughter of an Air Force veteran, she spent her childhood in various parts of Italy, Greece, and Turkey, always in love with the different cultural styles of dance. She fell in love with theater though, here in America, while she was in high school, and has had a passion for it ever since. Over the past 17 years, she has choreographed over 70 shows, and over the past 12 years, directed over 40, for community theater groups and high school drama clubs all over the North Country.