Michaela H. Petrovich, 23
1. Where did you grow up?
Right here in the lovely Salinas Valley.
2. Educational background:
I went to Salinas High School and then Convitto Nazionale Statale Maria Luigia in Parma, Italy (I was a foreign exchange student with American Field Service for a year). I graduated from the University of Redlands last May. I was a part of the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies and received my BA in “Costume Design: History, Theory, Praxis”. I will be starting graduate school for costume design this fall.
3. What is your earliest theatre memory and how did you initially get involved?
I was hooked on Shakespeare pretty much from the time I could read onwards. My grandmother was big into the old movie musicals like Music Man ,Easter Parade and Meet Me in St. Louis, so I started watching those at a very young age. I know my parents took me to the theatre and ballet a lot when I was really young, but my first solid memory was seeing La Boheme at the San Francisco Opera when I was in 3rd grade. I remembered being amazed by the set and the music making me cry, but I wasn’t sure why. It is still my favorite opera. I always dabbled in the performing arts in elementary school: dance, violin, the occasional school play. But I really got involved when I joined TWS and Young Company in middle school.
4. Most memorable moment in theatre:
I was in Macbeth my senior year of college, and the director had decided to approach it as a “poor theatre” piece (a form embraced by polish director, Jerzy Grotowski) At the beginning of the show, the actors took part in a ritual that established equality among all. They walked in a circle with candles, after several rotations, a leader emerged and stood center. Then each actor fed the lead actor words that embodied Macbeth. They then bathed him, bloodied him, dressed him, prepared him for battle and presented him with the bard’s folio, deeming him the chosen actor to play Macbeth. The three witches (I was one of them!) then circled the circle and broke it apart to start the show. The actors were the foundation of the rest of the show as well. All sound effects were made by various musical instruments played by actors at the front of the stage. Any time an actor wasn’t in a scene, they were on the sides in full view of the audience, observing, playing musical instruments, and singing. I am so proud and honored to have been a part of this fully actor supported piece, and the opportunity to work with the director, Steve Shade.
5. Favorite ice cream flavor and why:
I am a big fan of vanilla bean. It is simple and yet strong. And coffee. Because I live on coffee.
6. What do you love most about theatre?
The art of storytelling and how it has morphed throughout history.
7. Who in the theatre/entertainment industry do you look up to?
Much of my focus in undergrad was on television and film, and I had the great pleasure of learning from the great June Hudson, who worked as costume designer on the BBC’s long running “Doctor Who” in the seventies as well as on “Are You Being Served?”, along with other great tv shows, films and great London theatre. Her approach to design, the art and dedication to the actor are unparallel. I am also a great fan of the works of designer Sandy Powell (Shakespeare in Love, Gangs of New York, The Young Victoria), whose historical pieces are are dripping with detail and life. And of course, the infamous, Edith Head.
8. All-time favorite play and/or musical? One play and/or musical you’ve yet to see but is next on your list?
Favorite play: Shakespeare’s folio. Can’t narrow it down.
Favorite musical: Tie between Hair, City of Angels and Jesus Christ Superstar
Next play to see: Stuff Happens, War Horse, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.
Next musical to see: Billy Elliot, The Book of Mormon
9. What is your guilty pleasure?
A proper afternoon tea. Seriously. Tea, you know, with china, linens and scones with devonshire cream or a battenburg cake, and cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, the works.
10. Theatre wish list (shows you would like to work on in some capacity):
I want to do costume design for the following:
Alice in Wonderland (I have done it twice, but would gladly do it again!)
East of Eden
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Love’s Labour’s Lost
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Creation of the World and Other Business
this list could continue for days…
11. If you could describe yourself with a commonly used term, phrase, or piece of equipment related to theatre, what would it be and why?
“The show must go on”. As cliche as it may seem, this seems to be my mantra. I believe no matter what happens, it must be overcome so that the show can go on, because it HAS to!=
12. Finish the following sentence: “If I wasn’t in theatre, I’d probably be…”:
a children’s book illustrator.
13. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Two years out of grad school and hopefully working on a fabulous tv show in LA or a film and some live theatre in London and Prague.
14. Who or what continues to inspire you as you work in the theatre?
Theatre of the past is what inspires me. The fact that theatre has existed since ancient Greece, survived, thrived and is still relevant today is exciting and inspiring.
15.Where will I be able to see you/your work when I come to the BASH this year?
I am going to be costume designing, assistant directing and acting in three different shows.
16. Words to live by:
“This above all: to thine own self be true”
Hamlet, Act I, Scene iii, 78