by Allyson Yoder
Maeve and Osiris were heading out on the light rail to rehearse on site at the platform on Camelback and Central when I talked to them. They are RYT newcomers, and for both, working on the Light Rail Plays will help move them towards their own goals.
Maeve Etheridge Woodson
Tell me about yourself. “I am Maeve Etheridge Woodson, and I’m in seventh grade at Arizona School for the Arts. And my arts are theater and choir. And I’m here doing this play because I really want to start doing major productions with theater.”
Why theater? “The thing that really caught my eye in theater is musical theater, because I really love to act but I also really love to sing. And I think it would just be a really fun experience. I know a lot of people that do at lot of theater productions and they always talk about it, like it’s really fun, and so I’m like—why not just try it myself?”
This is your first time with Rising Youth Theater, right? How did you get involved? “Well, Xanthia and Sarah Sullivan, the curators, are my mother’s graduates. Because my mom is a theater professor at ASU, and she told me about them, and she told me about Rising Youth Theater, and the Light Rail Plays, and that it would be a really fun experience for me.”
So far, what’s the best memory you have of this project? “I really like my partner, Osiris. Because she’s really fun to get along with. And everyone here…I first expected that there was going to be some people that I didn’t know at all, and some people that I was really good friends with. But I didn’t really know anyone when I first came. And now I know a lot of people and I’m getting more comfortable with them, and being myself with them.”
What do you do outside of Light Rail Plays? “I am currently working for Childsplay, but I graduated from ASU with my bachelor’s in theatre. Fortunately I went in to Childsplay just a couple months after I graduated.”
How did you get involved in this project? “Well, working with Childsplay, Sarah also works there and one of the artists [for Light Rail Plays] had dropped out, and she was like—Hey, so have you heard of Rising Youth Theatre? We want to work with you!” And I had. I missed the Light Rail Plays last year but I really wanted to make it a goal to see them this year, and then I got asked to be in them!”
What has been most surprising to you so far? “What’s surprised me, honestly, the most was being asked to be an artist. Because every time that I talk to people, like everyday people who don’t do theatre, I’m like, “Oh, I’m a professional actor, I’m a performer,” but any time another artist refers to me as a professional artist or performer, it’s really scary! And I’m like, “No, I’m not, I’m not, I swear!” So being that adult professional performer was really surprising. But I love it, and I’ve wanted to work with youth for a long time doing theater.”
Why do you want to work with youth? “I feel like whenever we get together with other professional artists to collaborate, it’s hard because sometimes it’s the same dialogue, and we all went to this same school, and we all had this same kind of vocabulary, and this is how we do things. But children don’t have that…I love being able to see what they come up with and see what comes out of their brain in a technically “untrained” brain. I think it makes them a lot more creative and innovative.”
Tell me about your piece. Our piece is based on the “Elf King,” which is a poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
[Light rail stop dings]
Ah, this is us. But it’s a German folk tale. Google it!”