For an actress trying to make it big in theater, New York City is the place where dreams come true.
But for Susan Cella, a New York City actor in PlayMakers Repertory Company’s “Noises Off,” working in Chapel Hill has been the dream.
“It’s been a love affair,” she said. “It’s like being on vacation except you’re working a few hours a day.”
Cella, along with Andrea Cirie and Matthew Schneck, joined the PlayMakers company from New York City for the April production of “Noises Off,” which runs until April 22, as guest actors.
Cella — who plays bumbling actress Dotty Otley — said she will miss the break from the chaos of New York City.
“(Chapel Hill) is mellow,” she said. “We’re not hearing honking horns and smelling garbage.”
The actors said the camaraderie and creativity PlayMakers provided was refreshing.
“There are no divas or egomaniacs,” she said. “In some instances an actor would offer another actor a solution to a problem, which would never, ever happen in New York or most places.”
Cella, who said she knew very little about PlayMakers before auditioning for “Noises Off,” said the kindness of her local co-stars eased her apprehension about performing with the already-established company.
Cirie — who plays the peacemaking actress Belinda Blair — said the rapid pace of living in New York City can be taxing.
The solitude and quiet she found in Chapel Hill has felt more conducive to an artists’ lifestyle, she said.
“I wouldn’t trade living in New York for anything, but the pace of lifestyle there is so relentless,” she said. “It’s nice to have space here to think about the work you’re doing, or simply learn your lines.”
Schneck — who plays the hot-tempered actor Garry Lejeune — said the lack of competitiveness among the performers makes PlayMakers a theater utopia.
Because PlayMakers is a resident theater, the actors are consistently employed and regularly featured in productions.
This job security allows actors to experiment with their scenes instead of churning them out — something Schneck said is rare in New York City, where auditions are often the only chance at being cast.
“In New York it’s all about product — time is money,” Schneck said. “In this community, creativity is relished.”
Having worked in New York City as actor and playwright for the last 10 years, Schneck said he relishes in the talent and compassion he has seen in professors and students at PlayMakers.
“I’ve worked at a lot of well-respected theaters in the country and coming down here has been a real joy for me,” he said.
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