Interview: Daja M. Rice - "Peas, Patelin, and Purgation"
Daja M. Rice is a first-year MFA Acting student from Spring Valley, NY. She is currently playing Clothier and Mother-in-Law in Peas, Patelin, and Purgation.
Have you done devised theatre before?
I have done devised theatre before. My favorite devised theatre experience took place while I was an undergraduate. I had the opportunity to travel abroad to Florence, Italy for a Hip Hop Meets the Renaissance program being held at the School of Tuscany. There, three colleagues, our professor, and myself devised a piece entitled The Miseducation of Hip Hop, which went on to be revamped in the states and win a few theatre festival awards. I love devised theatre, especially when it’s based on a passionate topic of mine.
What is it like to work in a show with this kind of process?
Although I have done devised theatre before, this process was different. I’ve never done comedic devised theatre, and I have never rehearsed this long for a devised piece. Therefore, I tried to approach every rehearsal like a class. I came in with an open mind and a willingness to play. There were many times I was both pleasantly surprised by the process and myself.
What farces are you in? Who do you play in each farce?
I am the Clothier in the farce of Pathelin. I am the Mother-in-Law in the farce of Purgation.
Are there any challenges to creating a character and acting in this type of show?
Coming into this process knowing that we had the freedom to be as absurd as we wanted, I took the opportunity to try things physically and vocally that I’ve never tried on stage before. Although they work for my characters, they are taxing. So, the biggest challenge has been taking care of myself despite the rigorous rehearsal schedule combined with intense physical and vocal exploration.
If you could describe this show in a few words, then what would you say?
It’s a real goose! That’s a pun, but you have to come see the show to get it.
These pieces were written centuries before our time, and one has not been performed in a few hundred years! Why do you think this play is important to today? What makes it relevant?
Well, the full title of the show is 3 Farcical Arts of the Deal: Peas, Pathelin, and Purgation. I think, in one way or another, modern western civilization has always operated under a sort of get a lot for a little type of system. That’s the whole point of technology, really. In an attempt to get more, we have cheated each other out of a lot. Often times unknowingly, we cheated ourselves out of even more. I think it will be obvious to the audience how this relates to the play. Oh yea, and it’s funny. Funny is always relevant.
Get your tickets at ugatheatre.com/threefarces - opening March 19!