Saturday, September 23, 2017

Such Nice Shoes

Written by Christine Renee Miller
Directed by Andrea Dantas
Produced by FrokieCo

Nominations: Outstanding Solo Performance: Christine Renee Miller; Outstanding Innovative Design: Lianne Arnold

Christine Renee Miller

In this exclusive interview, 2017 IT Awards nominees Christine Renee Miller and Lianne Arnold share the process of creating a unique one-woman show that explores what it’s like to walk in someone else's shoes.

What attracted you to this production?
Christine: I started writing this show over four years ago when I was struggling with being overworked and wondering how my creative outlet as an actress disintegrated. I was directing and championing other people's work but somehow allowed my own to fall by the wayside. Initially, this production was meant to "showcase" my talents but as I started to connect to the characters I'd see around me like the subway buskers, the growing amount of homeless on the street, my very wealthy yoga clients who had it all but didn't have happiness, the everyday New Yorkers trying to get by (this is just a sampling of the 27 characters I portrayed) — I realized this show was so much more than just about what I was experiencing. It became about connecting all of us to one another, learning what it's like to walk in someone else's shoes, seeing how similar we all are on this journey. SUCH NICE SHOES became a (funny) show about empathy and community and once I realized that, I knew it was something that was worth sharing.

Lianne: The way Christine was interested in using video and projections to act as another character on stage.

What was your favorite part of working on this production?
Christine: At first, I thought it was crazy to write 27 characters but then I got to work with my director, Andrea Dantas, and diligently created 27 real people. Even if a character only had one line, they needed to be a real person who behaved authentically. It was a true joy to see who lived inside me! And it gave me a deeper perspective on the lives of those around me.

Lianne: It was so much fun to run around New York filming for the show.

What was the most challenging part of working on this production?
Christine: It might be the same answer as my favorite part of working on this production. Bringing 27 characters to life is no small feat. One character in particular that would elude me sometimes was the role of the doctor. Sometimes the doctor was a woman, sometimes a man, sometimes a masochist, sometimes aloof. It was difficult to pin him or her down, and I think it's because in reality, the doctor was a frustrating person to connect to. Ultimately I stopped trying to perfect him and just allowed him to speak through me, humanly, honestly.

Lianne: Figuring out what the character of the projections was and how it supported Christine's journey.


What was an aspect of this production that is unique to the project?
Christine: I enjoyed working with my projection designer Lianne Arnold to get the footage for her incredible imagery of New York. She outfitted me with a Go-Pro camera, and we took the actual route I do in the play when I leave home at 5:30 am to teach my yoga clients throughout the city. We journeyed from my apartment in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn to Midtown, to the UES, across the park to the UWS and down to TriBeCa then returning in the evening back to Brooklyn. We learned a lot about one another and spent a pretty awesome day trekking this crazy city together, seeing many of the characters I portray in the show.

Lianne: Running around New York and on the subways with a hidden Go-Pro on my actor's chest!

What was it like working with this small group of people?
Christine: As a solo show performer, I've had the privilege of collaborating with many awesome people on my shows. This particular team was made up of almost all women, and we bonded so much on our own struggles of "making it" in this city while also staying true to our creative purpose. It took a village to put on a one-person show and I couldn't have done it without them. It was an inspiring, hilarious, laid back, fierce group of women.

Lianne: Everyone is so nice and supportive.

What did you learn from working on this production?
Christine: It's funny, a big aspect of the show is about letting go of control in order to survive a harrowing day. I had to let go of a lot in order to stay sane on the production side of things. For instance, I hired a stage manager months in advance but one week before opening night, he had another project he wanted to work on, so bailed. In an intense scramble to find someone new, the creative gods gav me Gahlia Eden — a young, motivated, never-before stage manager who rocked it. Honestly, I felt so safe in her hands and was happy that things didn't go exactly as planned with the previous SM. Sometimes, we really don't know what surprises are in store for us. And for Gahlia
and I, a beautiful friendship and working relationship was created — something I will forever be grateful for.

Lianne: How much footage you can process from a Go-Pro in a single day.


Follow the production on Twitter:
Such Nice Shoes: @SuchNiceShoes
FrokieCo: FrokieCo

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