Thursday, May 26, 2016

2016 Interview with Felicity Wren

Actress FELICITY WREN currently stars in the world premiere quirky romantic British comedy BABY OH BABY through June 4 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks, Califorini.  Felicity has a Masters Degree in Acting from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London and her Honors Degree from Bretton Hall College. She is proud to have worked extensively in theatre in the UK, been the muse for 4 plays for amazing playwright Glyn Maxwell and a writer /performer with her own comedy sketch show Greedy (London, Edinburgh & NYC).  Recent TV - “Contingency” for New Street Pictures.  Felicity also stars in upcoming comedy feature films, “The Trap” and “The Man You’re Not” whilst producing with her LA company: Dangerously Funny Productions.
by Steve Peterson

How did you first get involved with acting?
I started Ballet at two and a half, and Drama at seven. I was told my second toe was too long for point work, and I had too much hair for a tidy bun, so I had to make a choice and acting won.

When did you know that you wanted to make acting a career?
It took me a while, even saying out loud that I wanted to act was hugely embarrassing; it always seemed so unworthy a profession when you could be doing so much good in the world - but then I realized telling stories is my ‘good.’ Empathy, compassion and even laughter come from great tales, I believe we all have an important story to tell.

What was your first break as a performer in the entertainment industry and how did it further your career?
My first professional break was playing Hedvig in Ibsen’s The Wild Duck at the Dixon Studio in Westcliff-on-Sea. I was reviewed as a ‘young Meryl Streep.’ This inspired me to keep going. My strength as an actor is my ability to be vulnerable and ugly. Some people are unwilling to be either.

How did creating your own theatre company in England come about?
My ex-partner had written a play. We were young and green, and could not find a theatre willing to take a chance on us and it. It was very disheartening. Finally Dani Higginson, the bar manager at the Hen & Chickens Theatre in London took the time to read the piece and loved it.  We met and loved her, and the 17 year love affair with creating a company and space for artists to be supported and have fun continues to this day. Unrestricted View (my company - still with the ex) has now created an independent Film Festival, to spread the love to filmmakers too. 

What propelled you to move to Los Angeles and what were you wanting to accomplish in the States?
I moved to LA because if you keep walking down the same road looking at the same things nothing will ever change. I was ready for a new adventure and the UK Prime Minister David Cameron getting into office was my final push. I adore LA, the gorgeous people I have met (everyone on Baby Oh Baby has been a dream), the positivity, the kindness I have experienced and the amazing opportunities of more and varied acting work. I also produce comedy with my Brit writer/director friend Paul McKeown with our Company Dangerously Funny Productions out here.

What is Thirst (can’t remember the rest) and why/how were you involved?
Thirst is a non-profit company finding a way to get clean water to rural communities through digging wells and offering filtration systems in homes -  However, my involvement was only to go to a benefit to support them. My main charitable work in LA so far, has been being on the Board of 'Kitty Bungalow - Charm School for Wayward Cats' for 2 years - my cats are both rescues from this organization. KB works to get feral cats off the street, neutered and into loving homes. They also have an annual “Catbaret" fundraiser with incredible talent from Film and TV - which I helped organise for 3 years.

You’ve also participated in some Sundance events?  What were they and what was it like to be part of that prestigious group’s events?
The Sundance Institute does amazing work in supporting emerging talent and for the last 4 years, I have been lucky enough to be involved in events during the Sundance Film Festival. I especially like working with screenwriters on their stories and my role as the Director of Development with the International Screenwriters’ Association has allowed me to showcase award winning writers by organizing and participating in Table Readings all over the US and the UK. We return to London in October 2016 during the London Film Festival. I cannot wait.

What brings you back to theatre?
I love the theatre.  It is where I started.  You just cannot beat the interaction. We are all in it together, the crew, the cast and the audience; we all make this beautiful pact to go on the ride. In this play we laugh, we cry, and I hope there are a few surprises along the way.

What is it about your character or the story that you most enjoy or enjoy exploring?
I am not the character of Angie, but I truly understand the societal pressure women feel, sometimes unconsciously, to 'complete themselves’ with motherhood. Angie is ultimately looking for love, probably in all the wrong places. When you stand back and look at her life, she has a wonderful sister in Bella who is there for her, and does truly love her.  Now, all Angie has to do is to love herself. That is probably where we collide, Angie and I - the continuing journey to accepting and loving ourselves fully, with all our missteps, sweetness and imperfections. Baby Oh Baby!

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