Thursday, April 20, 2017

MEET RAYE LEVINE (Who's Who in Extinction by Gabe McKinley)

Our production of EXTINCTION by Gabe McKinley recently closed at the John Drew Theater at Guild Hall of East Hampton but it's not the last you'll hear about this production and if you missed it...stay tuned.  In the meantime, we are SO PROUD of our long time ensemble member, RAYE LEVINE and are thrilled to share this interview with you.  Raye is the definition of what it means to be a Barefoot Theatre Company Ensemble Member, a true collaborator as Actor, Set Designer AND Producer on this critically acclaimed production.  
Raye!  Tell us about being a member of the Barefoot Theatre Company ensemble?  What does that mean and why do you think it's important to have an artistic home? 

It's critical to have an artistic home! A safe place to play. Barefoot was always that place for me. An artistic home provides much needed structure and stability in a very unstable/unpredictable profession. Barefoot is one of the most inclusive and diverse theatre ensembles I know!! 

Talk a little bit about your role(s) and what the process of wearing several hats on this project has been like.  Share some of the most gratifying moments.

Victoria! The last (but not least) character to walk into the play, which is already on full blast. I have fallen more and more in love with her. She is a good girl with a big heart and strong sense of right and wrong. She isn't shy and has an open, hopeful and curious nature. Vic probably wears the least masks of all the characters in this piece, if any. Filling out her story has been very gratifying. And the set!!! Seeing it come to life and living in it and  experiencing how well it works, has been such a special and unique experience. 

Do you feel that being an actor informs your work as a set designer? If so, how and why?

Absolutely. As an actor you have to have such a sense of the space and energy/bodies around you. This is part of what dictates how you move. My favorite part of being both set designer and actor is when there are parameters that seem to be restrictive, you are forced to get more creative, which makes it even better and more satisfying. With a balance of specificity and abstraction, this leaves room for the audience to visually fill in the gaps for themselves, do some work in filling out details on their own - same with acting. Suspension of disbelief! 

What's the experience with regards to set design that you'd like the audience to have from the moment they enter the theater till they exit following curtain call?

Like they've been gambling all night at the Atlantic City casinos and once they sit down, are voyeurs in a very private hotel room space. I want them to get lost in the environment and forget where they are. 

What draws you most as a storyteller about Extinction?  Is there a single moment that encompasses the plays overall them?  If so, which and why?

So many poignant moments. Really love the mirroring that happens between characters and how we keep seeming to peel back layers and make discoveries. I love the moment when Missy says "there's no grace in survival." That pretty much sums up a lot about the play and how every character is dealing with their own circumstances that brought them hear in the first place. 

Can you share a little bit about your preparation as an actor?  Does it differ depending on the project or size of role? 

So much of it is informed by the other actors, the chemistry. Reading and playing, repeat. Studying the accent and getting to know Lenoir, NC (where she helms from), knowing her values and ideas of love and loyalty. Finding and studying her inner animal spirit (golden retriever!).

Because she seemed like a small (more vehicular) role that served the story of the two men, it took me a bit of time to really find creative ways to fight for her and fill her out. I wanted the audience to leave curious about her and her life outside of the play. It was so much fun to discover her potential along the way, and build her story out with all of the clues that were given to me on the text. A lot of which depended on her relationship with--and trust in--Missy (for better or worse)...

Why should our NY audience see Extinction?  And, what would you like them to take away from the event.

It's a real unique theatre experience--a gem of a play!! We want you to feel all feels. Come out and spend the night with us. It will transport you into a dark spiral of fun and shock, in the Borgata hotel of Atlantic City. ...What happens in East Hampton, stays in East Hampton!

What’s your hometown?

Brooklyn NY! 

When did you arrive in NYC; and where do you call home now?

Always been here. Brooklyn, NY is home. 

Favorite theatre going experience.

Tribes - Nina Raine at the Barrow Street Theatre 

RAYE LEVINE is a William Esper Studio graduate and ensemble member of Barefoot Theatre Company. Credits include: The Vote in Orange by Israel Horovitz at the French Embassy, On The 5:31 by Mando Alvarado directed by Jerry Ruiz, Parkslope at the Cherry Lane Theatre, Restlessness of Desire by Kristina Poe directed by Shira-Lee Shalit, Pirate by Jennifer Skura, Man In Snow directed by Francisco Solorzano, Wetiko by Greg Paul at the Actor's Studio, Finally by Israel Horovitz at the Boston Calderwood Pavilion, Victory Girls by Kristina Poe at the SVA main stage. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from The Cooper Union, and is an ensemble figure skater of Ice Theatre of NY. 

Guild Hall and Where Are They Going Theatre Group
in association with Barefoot Theatre Company
present EXTINCTION by Gabe McKinley

March 30 through April 16

Directed by Josh Gladstone
Starring Brynne Kraynak, Raye Levine, Sawyer Spielberg
and Eric Svendsen

Two college buddies’ annual outing of male-bonding and debauchery veers precipitously off course when unmet expectations spiral into a volatile showdown. A darkly funny drama exploring the evolution of friendships – and the lengths to which we go to save them from falling into extinction.

Please note that this play includes graphic language and mature subject matter.

Production Team:
Set Designer – Raye Levine
Lighting Designer – Sebastian Paczynski
Stage Manager – Tyler Winthrop
Producer – Sawyer Spielberg
PR – Leah Lane

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