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Q&A with "Detroit" Actress Taylor Wood

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Taylor Wood is an MFA Acting student at the Department of Theatre and Film Studies.  She is portraying the role of Sharon in Lisa D'Amour's Detroit.

Who is Sharon to you? What is your favorite thing about Sharon? What is your least favorite thing about her?

My favorite thing about Sharon is her bright positivity and innocence. She wants genuine connection without pretense in an unforgiving world. She’s received little guidance and education in life, but that doesn’t prevent her from showing her vulnerability and accepting others. And while she has made some questionable decisions, she is always unapologetically herself.

With this being your thesis role, what exactly are you concentrating on with this show?

I am working on presence and listening. Many people believe acting is about emotion. It’s truly about presence! And opening up in front of others to reveal the soul. I want to embody Sharon while keeping my senses open and alive. I want her to be real and relatable. I want her to speak to the universal humanity in us all.

How do you think Detroit fits into the UGA Theatre season of “Balances of Power?”

When we meet new people, we tend to compare and criticize: Do they have it together? Are they better looking? Are they happy? How can I get there? How can I find myself in the shadow of all I should be?

Power dynamics govern the human condition, whether they are conscious or not. To judge someone based on appearances or past experiences robs us of what it means to truly connect. Our embedded hierarchical nature prevents us from building relationships with those unlike us.

We all have things to learn from each other. Lifting the ego above or smashing it to the ground means preventing personal growth and universal change. Everyone is silently suffering. And whereas some people place a high value on covering up the pain—straining to show composure & struggling to prove perfection—the truth can bring the freedom and connectivity we crave in an increasingly disconnected world.

Why do you think this play is important to today? What makes it relevant?

This play is happening right here, right now. The characters are dealing with their lives now, in February 2018. They speak normally and naturally. They could share your bus; share your block; share your home.

Detroit says nothing about the actual city itself—the playwright had never even been to Detroit when she penned the play.

Detroit is simply a state of mind. It speaks to unrest, anxiety and fear of economic distress. It shows the common difficulty of navigating relationships in a society where the American Dream no longer applies. It highlights how we’ve trained ourselves to disconnect from the primal forces that govern our behavior more than we admit. We are all only human. We are all in this together. We are all running straight into the same brick wall. We may as well have a little fun together on the way!

Lukas T. Woodyard