Joshua Shaffer: Where are you from and why did decide to come to JPCatholic?
Azara Seek: I was born and raised in southern Maryland near the east coast. I first heard of JPCatholic when Michelle Borris was harassing me with phone calls. I didn’t know who these people were and I had already applied to about 20 schools. She eventually convinced me to come and visit at least. So I eventually came out to see the school and was surprised by the intimate settings with small class sizes. It wasn’t appealing at first, but when it comes to acting you need that. That made me think we would get more specialized attention from the professors here. Also, since my degree is [Communications Media], I think it will open up a lot more opportunities besides acting if I ever changed my mind.
JS: What sparked your initial interest in pursuing a acting career?
AS: This is going to sound bad, but I’ve always enjoyed attention. I love entertaining people. I grew up in a small Catholic school, so when Mass happened I was the eager one who wanted to do the readings first. When it came to school I liked having an audience for sports and theatre. In high school I joined theatre, choir, and cheer. So yeah, I enjoy entertaining people and performing. I figured that if this is what gives me the most satisfaction and joy in my life, I might as well give my life to it.
JS: Do you have a preference in what style of acting you like to do?
AS: I would say every actor takes a piece or two from different styles. Every actor has what I like to call an actors toolbelt. One of my favorite styles to use has to be Meisner. Since memory recall works, sometimes I’ll do that but when it comes to feeling the raw emotion in the moment that’s where Meisner helps.
JS: How much do you think you have grown as an actress since joining the acting program?
AS: I feel like I have grown a lot actually. Acting is really where I feel like I have the most potential when it comes to performing. Since I’ve been here, I’ve been tested, pushed, encouraged, broken, etc. I feel like this quarter has been testing me a lot in the best way possible. I’ve been so stressed but it has been a good type of stress. I felt so accomplished this quarter with the scenes I’ve been working on. When I perform them in class my reaction is, “Wow this is freaking awesome!” It’s been really beneficial to me to have all this stress and pressure to test my limits.
JS: How has the process been for getting into character for The Crucible been this quarter?
AS: I’ve had such a variety of different characters in my head this quarter because of class and the play. In The Crucible, I am Rebecca Nurse who is the old source of wisdom and sensibility. It’s been interesting because in the final scene of the show I’m literally walking to my death. In acting you have to treat every circumstance like it’s life or death. With this role I’m playing it’s literally life or death for me the whole time. This is where I realized I don’t what it is like to stare death in the face. I knew sense-memory-recall wouldn’t work, so it has been extremely hard to get my mind into a state where I’m focused on the fact that I am about to die. The prep that has been helping me though has been finding a corner to sit in. I get into the fetal position and repeat to myself, “I am about to die.” It was really hard to figure out the balance between being being scared to die while also being proud of dying for my faith while in character. I have to sit in the corner for a really long time to fully get into character. For almost all of act 3, I am just sitting in the corner getting ready because it’s such an intense state to be in. It’s been challenging but I’m pretty happy with where the show is going.
JS: Is there anything else you would like the faculty/students to know about you?
AS: I would say that I am really impressed with the ambition of the acting program. I don’t think many people would be able to take on a show a quarter but I think doing them is very constructive. I think Angie is doing a phenomenal job with what she has and is doing for the program. I would say that I’m very happy to be at this school overall.