“Anything Can Happen If You Let It”
June 23, 2019
This week, I sat down with Executive Director (of CRT) John DiAntonio; the Education Director (CRT), Brittni Addison; the Artistic Associate (CRT), Kate Berry, and my mentor, Caitlin Wise DiAntonio (Professional Actress) and got to interview them about their journey to their current theatre careers. I gained so much insight while doing these interviews. I asked everyone the same questions and I found it so funny how their journeys were all so different however, every single person answered my questions about success, failure, and sacrifice in the same way. These interviews were extremely beneficial for me because it helped me solidify a lot of decisions that I had to make within myself moving forward in pursuing a theatre / performing arts career.
I found that John D, and I have a lot in common, so I really appreciated him talking about things he had to risk as a type A, “control freak” like me, and still succeeding in his line of work (theatre is honestly, a very scary job to pursue; you’ve got to be okay with risking a lot). He’s been working since he graduated college and did a lot of things in which he had no idea of what his outcome would be (which is hard for Type A’s). Although times did get rough sometimes, he continued to do what he had to do because his love for his career meant more to him. He’s still thriving today and he’s glad that he pushed himself to do all that he did in order to pursue his dream. He assured me that his gains were far greater than his losses and he has no regrets. He’s also a playwright, and though we didn’t have enough time to talk about his work, it was still super exciting talking to him being that I am an aspiring playwright. I hope that I get to talk to him more about that side of his work when the business of the theatre dies down a bit.
When talking to Kate Berry, I found that she’s lived an incredible life as well. She found theatre work pretty much right away and she made a living doing it, which is something that I didn’t think was possible. She’s working at CRT as the artistic director and she’s still part of the acting company as well. She loves how she’s able to have work that has a tangible aspect (things like programs for CRT which are so amazing); she has something to show for her hard work, which turn into keepsakes for all of her wonderful memories here at CRT. I really love that about her job.
Caitlin Wise DiAntonio really introduced me to a lot of super relevant and realistic things that I can do right now and think about in order to get on the path to becoming a professional actress like herself. She’s another perfect example of how she trusted herself and stayed on her OWN path, and doors opened for her because of it. She went straight into the BFA program after college (which is something I should begin thinking about as I enter my second year of college courses) and the program that she went to allowed her to showcase and network in New York and even get her acting jobs there and her equity card paid for. She even told me about some free BFA Musical theatre programs that I should look into.
It was very exciting speaking with Brittni as she talked about how moving a lot (wherever work was) really helped her thrive as an artist and human being. She got tons of experience from doing so and truly appreciates all opportunities she’s been given. When I asked her about how she feels about success and failure, I really loved to listen to her talk about how she’s grateful for what others would call “failure” but was really just more opportunity for her to gain experience. She talked about how there’d be times where she may not have gotten a role that she hoped for but because of that received so much more work and amazing roles in which she gained lots of insight and experience; had she gotten the one role she wanted, she wouldn’t have gotten the other roles that she needed. This was something that I definitely needed to hear. To be okay with disappointment is something I need to work more on. Brittni is also a director, and though we didn’t have the time to really talk about her directing work much, I hope that there will be a time that we get to talk about it, being that I am an aspiring director as well.
When I asked everyone how they measure success, they all told me something along the lines of, “if you’re leaning on other people to tell you what your success should look like, you’ll never be satisfied or happy with what you’ve already accomplished, that success should be whatever makes you feel artistically fulfilled”; that hit home. When I asked about how they measure failure, they all told me that failure is a good thing because it means that you’re growing and moving forward. This also hit home because one thing that I’ve always been terrified of is failure and letting people down.
Something that I also thought was cool was that everyone that I’ve spoken to so far, has built their own families which sometimes seems pretty rare to do as an actor or actress, because you’re always working and moving and having very long days. So the fact that they all have families who understand their line of work is incredible; that kind of support is worth everything. It’s all reinforcing the ideas in my head that I thought were impossible.
I’m so looking forward to my upcoming interviews and learning about all of the different roles in the theatre.
“It can be done. Nothing is impossible if you work work work for it and follow not anyone else’s path, but your OWN path.”
Kayla is a theatre and chemistry major with a minor in creative writing from Kankakee, Illinois.