By Delaney M., age 15
Last week I met Alycia Delmore, a 30-year-old local actress, at the Starbucks in the Center House. Alycia is tall and has shoulder length dark brown hair. She was dressed in the typical Seattle fashion of jeans, a sweater, a puffy vest, and a scarf. She’s currently starring in Seattle Shakespeare Company’s Pericles. Intrigued by Alycia’s interest in Shakespearean theater, I set off with a long list of questions for her. After she had gotten a tea, we sat down and talked about how nervous we were, because this was both of our first interviews. Alycia made our interview very enjoyable with her down-to-earth outlook on life. She came off as very strong, independent, and an inspiring person. She is very easy to relate to and entertaining to speak with. I feel lucky to have gotten to meet her!
DM. What made you decide to become an actress?
AD. It’s actually something that has always been a part of my life ever since I was really little. My mom used to joke that I used to say that I either wanted to be an actor or a fireman, and the fireman thing didn’t pan out, obviously, so I’m stuck with this. But I started taking lessons at the Seattle Children’s Theater when I was really little. I grew up here so I took classes there and did drama in grade school and whatever and then just kinda kept at it. And as I got older it's one of those things that I wondered for a while if I would get tired of it, cause it's sort of a difficult lifestyle to lead sometimes, but it just doesn’t go away, it just kinda sticks with me.
DM. What’s your favorite thing about acting?
AD. Part of it’s the community; Seattle’s got a really lovely actor network in town it’s just, once you become a part of it, it’s like a big extended family. I guess personally something I really love about acting is exploring different facets of the world and parts of myself that I wouldn’t normally explore. When you’re working on a character you sort of try to find pieces of yourself in that character, even if they’re small pieces, so then there’s an element of truth to what you’re doing on stage...and sometimes you learn a lot about yourself when you’re doing that.
DM. What would you like to see happen in your career?
AD. I would like to see myself get cast more, in places that pay better.
DM. I read that you were happy to get paid $75 for a couple of weeks of work.
AD. That was two months, two months of work. I mean at that point you’re really doing it for free and you’re taking that $75 and thinking of it as gas money.
DM. Is there an actor in your career who you really admire?
AD. There are a lot of actors in my career that I really admire. There are a couple that are in the show that I have a huge respect for. One is Reggie Jackson, who’s playing Pericles, who has a real mastery of Shakespeare’s language, and I’ve learned a lot from watching him. Another is Stephanie Shine who is the Artistic Director of the theatre, and is also in our show. I got to work with her last year when they did Much Ado About Nothing. She played Beatrice and just watching the way she would use the language to fuel the scene and the character - I learned a lot from her. Amy Thone, who also actually works for Seattle Shakes, is an incredible Shakespeare actress as well.
DM. Tell me about the show that you’re in.
AD. Okay, it’s called Pericles and it’s kinda like Shakespeare’s attempt at writing an action adventure play. In the first two acts there’s some incest, and a murder plot, an escape, and a shipwreck, and a tournament for the hand of a maiden, and a marriage, and another shipwreck, and they think someone’s died so they throw her body overboard, and she washes up on shore and it turns out she’s not really dead, and later there’s a kidnapping and some pirates and a brothel.
DM. Are you at all like the character you play, or are you different?
AD. My character is much more optimistic in some ways. She’s had a really beautiful life, and her life is just sort of full of joy, and so it’s made me think a lot about the joy in my world and sort of get more in touch with it. Ways that we’re different: she never expects bad things from people, and it’s not necessarily the first thing I expect, but I always try to look at people with a whole view, knowing that good or bad can come from them.
Peter Dylan O'Connor, Reggie Jackson, Alycia Delmore and James Cowen in Pericles at Seattle Shakespeare Company
DM. How do you think that teens generally relate to Shakespeare?
AD. When I was a teenager, I didn’t have a whole lot of experience with Shakespeare. I wrote a paper in class…we had to read Hamlet when I was a senior in high school - I went to Roosevelt - and I had this great teacher. I wrote this horrible paper that still embarrasses me to this day. The title of it was “Hamlet’s Just Your Average Teen.” It was just a horrible paper. The only thing my teacher wrote on the bottom of it was “I feel like I have failed you.” But it got to me, and I reread it in college, and it’s such a great play and there’s so much to it that I missed at the time. My point is that sometimes it’s really hard to relate, but I do think that theatre is definitely the way that Shakespeare is meant to be performed. But, there are some really awesome film adaptations. I was a really big fan of the Romeo and Juliet, the modern one, that’s got Claire Danes and Leonardo DeCaprio in it. It was more accessible. I don’t feel like it should be dumbed down for teens necessarily, but I do think that if you have a really excellent teacher, who makes it accessible for you it can open up a whole other world.
DM. What were you like in high school?
AD. I was a pretty good student, but it was mostly just fear of not being…like it wasn’t like a real drive for being a great student. I didn’t want to get in trouble. I was the oldest and it was like “You’re going to college - it’s not a choice,” and “You’re getting A’s - it’s not a choice” and so for the most part I did. But towards the end when I was like “Hold up, I don’t have to listen to you people” I kinda started to slack off a little. I was into drama a lot. Roosevelt had a really good drama program, and I did a lot of shows. There was a really big emphasis on musicals and I’m not much of a singer, so I did all of the straight plays, but in the musicals I was usually like the tall girl in the back in the chorus that you didn’t want to see try to dance.
DM. Where did you go to college?
AD. To Western, up in Bellingham.
DM. What was your first non-acting job?
AD. I worked at a bakery up on Capitol Hill when I was 15 or 16. I’ve actually worked in a lot of bakeries since then. It was pretty great, but then you’d come home and - I know it doesn’t sound bad - but every single day coming home smelling like cookies and you’ve got cookie dough crusted in your ear or like a chunk of it in your hair - it was pretty gross.
DM. What kind of TV or music or movies do you generally like?
AD. I do have sort of a weak spot for some really crappy reality TV shows, sort of. Like my secret vice - I don’t ever watch it when my boyfriend’s around cause he mocks me shamelessly - is “America’s Next Top Model.” It’s so great, they’re so dumb and it makes me feels so smart.
DM. What is your favorite thing about Seattle?
AD. The fact that there is so much green everywhere and that you can be right by the water, and that you’re right by the mountains, and that it can feel like a big city, or a really small town.
DM. I read online that Seattle is one of the top ten cities for live theater. How do you think that’s helped your career?
AD. It’s hard to say. It’s part of why I wanted to stay here, instead of moving to a bigger city like New York or Chicago, which have much larger theatres. But there’s not many people that I know that are making their living just doing theatre. Even the people that are in my show, almost everyone has another job outside of this. You just can’t survive just doing this alone. So many theatres have closed the past couple years; a lot of theatres are just in really dire straits financially. I feel like Seattle really loves its theatre, but I feel like something needs to be done for it to give money to it, as well as just love it.
DM. Besides Shakespeare, what’s your other favorite kind of theatre?
AD. Comedy. If I could do anything in the world it would just be funny stuff.
DM. Do you go to plays frequently?
AD. As much as I can. I quit my job in May so I could really dedicate myself fully to doing theater, which means I’m broke. But it really means I’m trying to go see as much theatre as I can, and to really invest myself in this as a career.
DM. What was your favorite play that you’ve been in?
AD. One of my favorites was the first play I got cast in when I moved down to Seattle from college. It was called Claustrophilia and it was about Edgar Allen Poe and his child bride. He married this girl who was 14 years old, who was his cousin. It’s written by a woman name Amy Freed, who’s an amazing playwright. It used his language and sort of developed this relationship between the two - an imagining of his writing practice. It was wacky. At the end of the play she really started to get into the ideas of his stories; I got put in a barrel. It was a really fun play.
DM. What is your favorite theatre company to work with?
AD. I’ve really loved working with Seattle Shakespeare Company, I feel like they take really good care of their actors and they’re a really supportive environment to try new things in.
October 17th, 2007
Pericles runs October 25th - November 18 at Seattle Shakespeare Company
More info and show times: http://www.seattleshakespeare.org/
Seattle Shakes' Ticket Office: 206-733-8222
Seattle Shakespeare Company is located in the Center House Theatre at Seattle Center.