Coincidentally, the lead female role in Juanita’s Statue is being played by BFA Performance student Juanita Olivo. This has been her biggest role to date and the roller coaster of emotions she has been experiencing makes her giddy. Juanita describes the play as “the story of a woman who is forced to dress like a man to save her life. In the process, she helps other people discover love within themselves. If there is a message in this play, I think it is that we must all love ourselves as we are. Sometimes we need a little encouragement from others but once we find our wings, we shouldn’t be afraid to get out and fly. I sincerely hope that the audience will enjoy the chase that is Juanita’s Statue, but also pick up on the larger message of the show.”
Our leading lady also described her experience being a part of a collaborative effort as something that “means that your entire perception of your character can change in the blink of an eye, but we come into the space knowing that we are exploring together and we all have fun in that exploration.” Because Juanita is open-minded and understands that this is a learning environment, she welcomes the opinions of her peers and professors. She finds it fascinating that one slight change can alter her previously discovered character and bring everything together in a different way. Overall, the open communication and sharing of ideas gives the actors the feeling that they have a say in the direction of the play, which motivates everyone to work a little harder.
The complex staging of Juanita’s Statue is a challenge for Juanita who knows that it is the actors’ responsibility to ensure that the blocking of the elaborate chase scenes is seamless. She feels confident that they will be a connected ensemble by opening night. Another challenge she faces is adopting the persona of a man; she has to “talk, walk, carry myself differently AND make it seem natural. It takes a lot of work and discipline but I am getting there.”
Juanita is looking forward to opening night with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. She was a little worried about her family’s reaction to the risqué scenes in the play, but her mother’s encouraging words – “this is your art, your craft, this is what you do!” – helped to put her fears to rest.
For more information on Juanita’s Statue, please click here.