ARTIST PROFILE: Mary Cavett, The Liar’s Clarice and Macbeth’s Lady Macduff

Meet Mary Cavett, Clarice in The Liar and Lady Macduff in Macbeth in the 2015 Santa Cruz Shakespeare Summer Festival.

Santa Cruz Shakespeare Mary Cavett

Where are you from originally? Where do you call home now?

I grew up in Tucson, Arizona but Brooklyn, New York is home.

How did you come to be a part of Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s 2015 festival? Do you have a history with us, or is this your first time?

This is my first summer with Santa Cruz Shakespeare and I couldn’t be more excited to be here. I have known Artistic Director Mike Ryan for years and have always dreamed of working alongside him in Santa Cruz. I am honored and overjoyed to be a part of the 2015 festival and to have the chance to perform in the beautiful Glen.

What has your experience been like working with Santa Cruz Shakespeare this season?

From day one, SCS has felt like home. It is an incredibly supportive and inspiring company. My fellow actors are brilliant and kind, the creative teams for all the shows are incredible. Our stage managers somehow keep us focused and on task a midst of the wild fun we’re having. It feels like summer camp for grown-ups. I laugh at how lucky I am that this is my job.

 Tell us about the character(s) you’re playing. How did you approach the role(s)? Was there anything you discovered about your characters and/or the play during the rehearsals and performances? What was it like to work on multiple roles at once?

Santa Cruz Shakespeare The Liar

Toby Onwumere (Cliton), Brian Smolin (Dorante), and Mary Cavett (Clarice) in Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s The Liar by David Ives. Photo by Shmuel Thaler.

I play Clarice in The Liar and a Witch and Lady Macduff in Macbeth. These characters could not be more different! Sometimes I feel a bit schizophrenic running from one rehearsal room to the next, moving from one very tragic scene into a hilarious, flirtatious romp, into dark, murderous incantations. But that’s half the fun.

Clarice is a boisterous, ambitious, hungry young woman. It was a challenge to reconcile my modern ideas about this character with the social restrictions of her 17th Century social constructs, but the constricting corset, petticoat and bustle help a lot with keeping her in check.

Being one of 3 witches is incredible. As a dancer I thrive on working as a member of an ensemble. Creating a shared physical vocabulary and moving as 3 parts of a single body is wicked fun.

Mary as one of the ‘Witches’  along with Patty Gallagher,  Suzanne Sturn and Steve Pickering (Macbeth) in Macbeth. Photo by rr jones.

Mary (center) as one of the ‘Witches’ along with Patty Gallagher (left), Suzanne Sturn (right) and Steve Pickering (Macbeth) in Macbeth. Photo by rr jones.

Lady Macduff is the hardest of all because of the tragedy she faces. Diving into that emotional journey is humbling and a little terrifying to explore. A mother who loves and loses everyone.

What have been some of your favorite things to do in the Santa Cruz area when you weren’t rehearsing/working?

Santa Cruz is incredible. The downtown farmers market, dollar night at the Boardwalk, running in De Laveaga park and eating my weight in Penny’s ice cream have been my favorite activities in town. My days off have been spent at various farms in the area. Sierra Jolene (Lucrece/Malcolm)’s sister’s farm where we get fresh milk from Bridget the miniature Jersey cow, Pie Ranch and Harley Farms Goat Dairy. I eat well in California.

What is your favorite Shakespeare play? Why?

Twelfth Night

I love the struggles of love, the questions of character and self, and the exploration of the ways we hide our truths from world as well as ourselves. It’s heartfelt and hilarious and beautifully sad. And Viola is a woman for the ages. She takes her vulnerability and uses it as an engine for success, she is selfless and strong, cunning and virtuous. It shows us all sides of our humanity while keeping us laughing.

What is your favorite Shakespearean insult?

I do desire we may be better strangers.

As You Like It

Why should people come to see Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s plays this summer?

The quality of the acting is exceptional, the fun is palpable and we’ll make you laugh, cry and jump in your seat. Each play is wildly different in style, flavor, and theme, it is a vibrant and varied season.

Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself? Or about anything?

It is such an honor to be a part of this summer season. I am humbled and inspired every day by the immense talent and hard work in the rehearsal room. This is a company of extraordinary artists and I am grateful to be counted amongst them.

Tickets on sale now for the 2015 season, which features three outdoor productions, starting with the wickedly romantic Shakespeare comedy Much Ado About Nothing, opening July 3; followed by David Ives’s modern adaptation of the wickedly hilarious 17th century farce, The Liar, opening July 24; and Shakespeare’s wicked tragedy, Macbeth, opening August 7. Plus, SCS continues the tradition of its intern-showcasing Fringe production with four performances of the wickedly festive comedy The Rover, starting August 18.


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