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MEET THE ENSEMBLE: MARIA SMITH

August 10, 2017

 

What is your name?

 

Maria

 

What character do you play in The Trojan Women?

 

Helen.

 

Reminisce about a time you were homesick or forced from your home.

 

My biggest experience in being homesick was probably going out to Colorado for a summer. It was the only time I didn’t have the option to go home or see my family for an extended period of time. With this in mind, actually leaving my home was hard, I had to force myself to step out of the door and onto the plane that morning. What is scary is going somewhere where you don’t know anyone, and will have no support. If something happens to you, you have to deal with it on your own.

 

What is the purpose of community and how does war disrupt this? 

 

Community is a basic human need. Humans are social creatures and have always relied on one another for skills they did not possess and worked together for survival. Studies show that people who are more involved in their community are happier and healthier.

 

I was interested in this fact and did some reading on the subject - the study "Doing Well By Doing Good: The relationship between formal volunteering and self-reported health and happiness" by Francesca Borgonovi analyzes nation-wide data and proves that volunteering within your community does in fact lead to being happier, even with lower socio-economic levels. Which is due to humans inherent need for community.

War disrupts community in every way by taking away a sector of the population; without one building block, the whole thing crumbles. Children lose parents, people lose spouses, and a myriad of community services fall at the wayside. Every person has a personal choice to either pull together and work even harder to keep their community together and help their neighbors, or pull inward and let their community fall.

 

In the case of The Trojan Women, the women are left completely without a community. Everything they have come to know, the people they relied on, their entire way of life... is gone. This play shows the fear and uncertainty that comes with losing your entire community. Because we all have our own communities, I think that everyone (cast and audience) can empathize with this theme, and empathize with the devastation all people feel when they lose their community to war.

 

What is something about the show and your experience with the material that has surprised you?

 

I don’t think I have ever done a show where the subject matter has such high stakes. These women have lost everything, their families have died, and their lives are hanging in balance. Every moment in this show needs an overwhelming amount of intention and emotion, because what is happening is vital to their lives. I knew the show was emotional and the subject matter was tough, but once we got into the world of the show, the level of intensity of the life and heartbreak that the cast is putting into these characters is unbelievable. Every performance surprises me – in the best way.

 

 

Be sure to see Maria in THE TROJAN WOMEN at The Luna Theater on August 17-19

 

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