Sunday, February 16, 2014

Introducing Alexandra Hellquist, appearing as "Lainie" in TWO ROOMS

As a special feature on opening week, we're excited to introduce you to our cast and creative team, who talked with us about their life as actors and their experience of creating the world of TWO ROOMS

TWO ROOMS opens February 21 and runs through March 9 - Wed-Sat at 9pm and Sat-Sun at 4pm. For tickets and information, click here

Introducing: Alexandra Hellquist, who's playing Lainie in TWO ROOMS. Here is her first-hand account of her life as an actor, and her perspective on working with this production.

Full given name:  
Alexandra Karin Jacqueline Therese Lee Kejser Hellqvist. But professionally, I just use Alexandra Hellquist. I'm the only person I know with "Hell" in their name. Rock on :)

Where you were born/where you were raised: 
I was born in Manila, in the Philippines, but was spirited away after two weeks. Since then, I've lived in Japan, England, Australia, France and Italy, before coming to America. I've now been here longer than I've been in any other country, which blows my mind.

Zodiac Sign: 
Aquarius! And even though I don't believe in astrology per-se, I fear I'm very, very Aquarian.

One brother, in Australia, who's a musician/rockstar and who's getting married soon to his gorgeous Maltese bandmate. He looks more Asian than I do, and has an Ozzie accent, and their electronic duo is called Curious Creatures. Click to listen to their first single So Tall!

Favorite food of all time:  
Salmon roe. And foie gras (sorry!!!!). And oysters. And very rare, very tender steak. But NOT all at the same time! Though possibly in the same meal... Yes, I'm a carnivore.

Special skills:  
I'm a self-taught pole-dancer (my legacy at my college is a all-gender-all-body-type-all-sexual-identity inclusive pole-dancing troupe. Go figure). I can blow smoke-rings even though I've never smoked a real cigarette. And I dig accents. Which was strangely useful during our rehearsal process.

Something you're REALLY bad at: 
Staying in touch with people. Let's just say I'm still learning to communicate virtually in general. Social media kind of terrifies me. But so does the phone. I'm a guilt-ridden, elusive luddite, I suppose...

If you could go back in time and catch any Broadway or Off Broadway show, what would it be?:  
I don't know if this is cheating, to go to London's West End, but I'd love to sit beside George Bernard Shaw as he watched Eleanor Duse blush in Heimat. In far more modern times, Mark Rylance in Jerusalem.

Did you have any particular mentors or inspirations as a young actor?: 
My grandmother always called me a "teater abe", or theater monkey (imagine that said with a Danish accent), so she was my first unabashed supporter. When I first started acting in earnest, a wonderful being named John Emigh first trusted me, despite my utter green-ness, in his production of The Greeks and has been beloved ever since. And here in New York, I adore and am indebted to my teacher Peter Jensen at the *wonderful* T. Schreiber Studio. I miss you, Peter!!!

What age did you start acting, and what was the project: 
I was the littlest weasel in the Wind in the Willows at my primary school in England. I wore a belt as my tail, and I had one line.

Current show other than your own you have been recommending to friends: 
Anything by the glorious Exquisite Corpse Company. They're a fiercely ambitious, sexy, dynamic crucible of multidisciplinary artists and performers who create immersive new works and actively nurture new artists. I freakin' love them. They do a regular black box program where all proceeds go to the featured artists, and they're doing a subversive, collaborative, crazy-twisted-cool WareArt Festival called SubTerra in May of this year. Go see it!

Favorite plays: 
So many, but - Off the top of my head, Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl, The Seagull, Closer, The Goat or who is Sylvia, The Importance of Being Earnest, A whooooole slew of classics like Medea and Shakespeare glories... And from new playwrights, the collaboratively-written Odd.A.See which has some of the most beautiful, vivid imagery I've ever encountered, and The Why Overhead and Clown Bar by Adam Szymkowicz who has a gorgeous absurd-touching-tender-painful-poetic-comedy thing going on in his work.

Most embarrassing moment on stage: 
Doing That Scene from the end of The Seagull as Nina, totally falling apart, and having the only line that meant something to me be "You have no idea how awful it is, when you know you're acting badly". But I would LOVE to do this show one day.

What's your favorite part about being a part of The Seeing Place?: 
The mission of organic, unblocked, living, breathing theater. Such a rarity, and so precious.

What most excites you about your involvement with TWO ROOMS?: 
It's honestly been the hardest rehearsal process I've ever been through, ever, with anything. We've all worked very hard on it, and we still are. It's about the work, after all. And I'm excited to see what alchemy happens now... Aaaaah!


Alexandra is a multi-ethnic mutt who loves the stage, screen and everywhere in-between. Favourite NYC stage collaborations include The ECC's ODD.A.SEE, Zootopia's THE WHY OVERHEAD, The Ume Group's BUTOH ELECTRA, Depth Charge's BUTTERFLY, BUTTERFLY, KILL-KILL-KILL!, and Extant Arts' CORNER POCKET. Film leads include the Netflix ninja episodic "Shinobi Girl", Rohit Gupta's "Midnight Delight" and Sean Manzione's "Seed Sprang!....". To Michael, whom she loves. See more at and!

TWO ROOMS opens February 21 and runs through March 9 - Wed-Sat at 9pm and Sat-Sun at 4pm. For tickets and information, click here.

It runs in repertory with DYING CITY, which runs at 7pm and 2pm on the same dates. For tickets and information, click here.

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