What is your name?
What was your first show with Studio 506?
Into the Woods, where I portrayed Jack's Mother, Cinderella's Stepmother, and the Mysterious Man.
What character do you play in The Trojan Women?
I'm a member of the Chorus.
Reminisce about a time you were homesick or forced from your home.
I spent a semester abroad in England in college, and the separation took more of a toll on me than I realized it would. We take for granted the familiarity of our home country; the overall feeling of a place that you understand as home can't be replicated quickly. Even when I got used to the streets and neighborhoods around my new school, there were just little details about the world around me that weren't quite right. That feeling of being a stranger is constant, even if it's just in the background, and it's hard to shake. Seeing my family after that was such a relief of tensions; I didn't even notice I had any more.
What is the purpose of community and how does war disrupt this?
A community is a support network for the people it constitutes, in an emotional and pragmatic sense. The connectivity of resources allows communities to accomplish things together that cannot be done as individuals. War often physically or psychologically breaks these bonds and associations, which further weakens the strength of individuals and their ability to help others around them.
What is something about the show and your experience with the material that has surprised you?
The truly amazing thing to me is that this is a show where next to nothing "happens" in the conventional sense of plot-driving action: the journey is an emotional one. Through the timing of exposition and character interactions, we experience reality setting in for these women as wave after wave of comes over them. It's unrelenting and really intense, and this site does an amazingly deep dive into the consequences and fallout of war and defeat.
Be sure to see Valerie in THE TROJAN WOMEN at The Luna Theater on August 17-19