Meet Sierra Jolene, Lucrece in The Liar and Malcolm in Macbeth, in the 2015 Santa Cruz Shakespeare Summer Festival.
Where are you from originally? Where do you call home now?
I grew up surrounded by the trees and mountains of the Pacific Northwest in Washington State but have spent the last four years in Los Angeles.
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?
I have loved Santa Cruz since I was a young child making family road trips up and down the coast. My sister now lives here and I come and visit as often as I can from LA. It has been a dream of mine to be a part of this company for a long, long time and I could not be more happy to be here. I auditioned in LA in February and after a long string of callbacks, here I am!
What has your experience been like working with Santa Cruz Shakespeare this season?
I have barely been here a month and I already know this will be one of the most incredible acting experiences of my life. Every single person in this company, from the actors to the directors to the designers and everyone in between, are all wonderful and extremely hard working individuals. I am beyond blessed to be a part of this community.
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?
This season is wonderful because my two main roles of Lucrece and Malcolm are so contrasting I am really able to work all aspects of myself. Lucrece is a very reserved, seemingly put together young woman who is actually falling apart at the seams just as much as the rest of us. She is referred to as “The Clam” throughout much of the play because she stays pretty quiet in public, but once she gets going, she doesn’t know when to stop talking. I definitely can relate to that…so she has been lots of fun to play.
Malcolm is a warrior woman. This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity because she is, of course, a typically male role. It has been fascinating to explore how femininity and masculinity play out in her. She is a fighter and a warrior, so she must have that toughness, that brute force needed to kill, but she is also a mastermind and extremely smart.
I am loving working on these two different women, who are both strong, but in very different ways.
What have been some of your favorite things to do in the Santa Cruz area when you weren’t rehearsing/working?
Definitely spending time with my sister. She is part of the organic farming community here and lives on a beautiful little farm. Her miniature cow, Bridget, just had a baby named Pretty Boy Floyd so it has been lovely seeing them too. Her boyfriend recently started a hot pepper farm called Fire Tongue Farm so I am looking forward to helping them harvest come August.
I love how prevalent organic and local foods are in Santa Cruz. From the Penny Ice Creamery to the Farmer’s Market and being able to drive along Highway 1 with the ocean on one side and the farms on the other. Another favorite is driving to Pescadero and seeing Harley Farms and tasting all the delicious goat cheese.
The company has gone out a few times to the pier for rides which is always fun and a few karaoke nights as well. Really, what it comes down to is: Santa Cruz is wonderful.
What is your favorite Shakespeare play? Why?
It’s so hard to pick just one, but let’s say Macbeth for now because I am so immersed in it at the moment. It’s a frantic race that once it gets started, there is no stopping, no breathing, and no sleeping (no pun intended) until the last line is spoken. I also think Lady Macbeth is a role that nearly every woman is dying to play at one point or another.
What is your favorite Shakespearean insult?
“You are now sailed into the north of my ladies opinion, where you will hang like an icicle on a Dutchman’s beard.” – Twelfth Night
Why should people come to see Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s plays this summer?
I am so, so excited for these shows to get up and running. We have put in so much work and continue to shape and mold and create, they need audiences to truly come to life and take flight. I think this season is something special because of the variety of shows we are putting up, one of the first rom coms of its time, Much Ado About Nothing, one of the most ridiculous comedies I have ever read, The Liar, and one of the most horrific plays that Shakespeare ever wrote, Macbeth. Come and see!
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.