Upon touring the Ukraine as a member of the Yara Arts Group, a resident theatre company at La MaMa, I was very taken with how well theatre was revered in Ukraine. We were a multi-cultural theatre company that was comprised of Americans, Ukrainians, Chinese, and Japanese performers. We were part of an international theatre festival taking place in Ukraine. We were privileged to witness wonderful productions performed in many languages that spanned the globe. As well as performing our play, we also did workshops with Ukrainian actors where we learned that after they complete their university training in theatre, they graduate and are accepted into a theatre company, where they are employed and receive free healthcare for the rest of their lives. That made a great impression on myself and many of my fellow actors.
Another thing that impressed me is how every person that attended the theatre festival sat with rapt attention. Parents brought children as young as eight years old to our performances. Those children were fascinated with the theatre. During this festival, I felt a shift in myself as I observed theatre, my first love, held with such high regard and respect, as if it were the life blood of the people. I thought how wonderful it would be to have such reverence in our home country of the U.S.A. Since that experience, even with the fast-moving pace of technology, I strive to realize as much of that as I can with each production, performance, and character that I am honored enough to bring to life. My respect continues to grow for the work, the craft, and each artisan’s contribution to create this esteemed world of work we call theatre.
Richarda Abrams B.F.A. Acting (NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts), M.A. Ed. Theatre (NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education). Memberships: The Actors Studio, LPTW, NYWIFT. Performances: ABC, CBS, LIFETIME, SESAME ST., SHOWTIME, Acting Co., Cherry Lane Theatre, Crossroads Theatre, Kennedy Center, La MaMa, Multi Stages, Public Theater, 2nd Stage, and Yara Arts Group. http://www.linkedin.com/in/richardaabrams http://www.twitter.com/dramasmith