016: Actor/singer/director Dana Marks answers 30 questions in 60 minutes [ASK ME ANYTHING]

Bodies, money, voice, authenticity, musical inspiration, the actor’s job, and a Free Season of Theatre. All of that and more in 60 minutes with Dana Marks!

Dana Marks has generously agreed to be the first participant (or guinea pig!) in the Artist Soapbox ASK ME ANYTHING series. She covers a variety of questions in this episode both personal and professional, related to the past, present and future of Dana’s work and the work of her company Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern. (See the time break down below for the list of questions.) ASK ME ANYTHINGs pop up periodically featuring Triangle-area artists who are willing to answer questions submitted by listeners anonymously ahead of time. 

Dana Marks is an actor, singer, director, and teaching artist, as well as the Managing Director of Little Green Pig. She studied Acting at The American Repertory Theatre/Moscow Art Theatre Institute and has performed across the U.S., and in Mexico, Russia, Italy, and Germany. Dana teaches acting at Duke University and has taught performance composition, voice, and Viewpoints at NC STATE, UNC-Chapel Hill, NCTC, and Open Mind Improv. She records and tours with the band, Curtis Eller’s American Circus, and is a guest singer with The Wiley Fosters, Berlin Brothers, and The Durham Street Piano Player. She is active as a director and actor with LGP, Honest Pint, Manbites Dog, Theatre Raleigh and other companies in the Triangle. Support Little Green Pig via their Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/littlegreenpig

Artist Soapbox is a listener supported podcast. This episode is brought to you by the Soapboxers, the official patrons of the Artist Soapbox. If you would like to support this podcast, please get on the Soapbox. The podcast was recorded at the ASBX home studio.

Time Break down:

[0:00] Intro to episode, Dana’s bio

[2:24] Question 1: What is the best role that included nudity you’ve ever played and why?

[7:12] Question 2: Historically/Currently, there are fewer roles available to women actors as we age — how are you thinking about this as you plan the trajectory of your career? Does this mean that you’ll diversify your work or focus more on directing or teaching?

[10:41] Quick answer questions 3-11:

  • What are your theatre pet peeves?
  • Are you religious?
  • What’s it like to be married to another artist (Jaybird O’Berski)
  • How do you balance a partnership in life and a partnership in business?
  • What’s something you wish everyone did in rehearsal, backstage, and onstage?
  • Which play do you wish more people had seen?
  • Which play would you most like to remount?
  • Which show did you have the most fun in rehearsal/backstage?
  • What’s something every artist should learn or practice regularly?

[16:05] Question 12: What project or role are you most proud of and why?

[20:14] Question 13+: When did you start to find your artistic voice? Did it coincide with finding your personal voice? Is that the same voice? Is it a work in progress?

[23:29] Question 14: There was a play you guys did a couple of seasons ago in which you opened a letter, took in its meaning (as if you had never seen it before), and you crumpled into a weeping heap on the floor night after night. Plus you did it really well. How did you do that? 

[26:36] Question 15: My Q is how did she get to be so fabulous? 

These next questions begin to focus more on the local theatre/art scene more broadly.

[29:13] Question 16: What was the last local production/performance you saw that truly inspired you?

[32:22] Questions 17-19: Do you have any concerns that you feel the local theatre community is not adequately addressing? Are there any issues you feel our community is ahead of the curve and leading the way? What do you wish we did more of around here?

[37:02] These next questions zero in on Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern, however, the questions and answers can be instructive to other arts organizations to get a sense of LGPs model and plans, and what kinds of questions are on people’s minds. Dana gives us an overview of LGP for people who aren’t as familiar with the company.

[38:57] Questions 20-21: Has Patreon proved to be a successful fundraising vehicle for your organization? How many artists are you able to pay due to Patreon per year?

[42:25] Questions 22-24: I read that for next season (18-19), you are aiming to have a Free Season of Theatre. How is that possible? If you don’t meet your fundraising goals via Patreon does that mean that the artists don’t get paid? Why is free theatre important to the company?

[49:58] Questions 25-28: 3-4 productions per year, plus several musical revues, plus The Concern, plus other shows and benefits (Muse Masquerade, Treatbag), plus an international actor training program. Is LGP spreading itself too thin? Who is making the programming decisions? What about burnout from company members? Is LGP able to offer consistently high quality products with so many different points of focus?

[55:47] Question 29 (from Tamara): How does it feel to be a leader in a theatre company like Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern?

[59:15]  Question 31 (final question from Tamara): How did it feel to receive and answer these questions?

[1:00] Thank you and sign-off

Mentioned:

Support Little Green Pig

Archipelago Theatre

Dr. Leda Scearce, Duke Vocal Clinic

Mystery Brewing Company

Culture Mill

Father John Misty

Nick Cave

Tom Hardy’s series Taboo

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