Art-to-Art Talks

Written by: Emily Hinely

When Allie Kangas speaks her intensity and passion is immediately apparent.

Kangas plays Blanche, a character with a lot of baggage, in GC’s most recent production, “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Blanche is an alcoholic who goes in and out of different personalities and a widow who lost her husband to suicide. The character is extremely complex, yet Kangas is still able to nail her role as Blanche by putting her body into Blanche’s body.

In order to do this, Kangas created a backstory for Blanche in order to better understand her character and why she is the way she is. “You can’t play a character like Blanche without a backstory,” said Kangas. “I made up a lot of things about Blanche so I could play her better, like the fact that she has psychotic depression.” And even though Kangas really becomes her character, she is good at remembering who she is in real life. “I consider myself to be really good at separating myself from my character,” said Kangas, a junior and committed theatre major.

Before the show, while other actors are listening to music, Kangas will sit by herself before the start of the show to get in the right mindset to play Blanche. “If I were to listen to music backstage, I’d need to listen to music that Blanche would listen to, so like 1940s instrumental. Or maybe something a little eerie, since Blanche goes kind of mad,” Kangas said.

When she is finally on stage and her mind is right, being in full costume with the makeup and the wig really helps her to better play her character as well. Kangas said that she hopes the show will impact the audience and open their eyes to domestic violence, since that is a big part of who Blanche is and what has impacted her as a character.

“I’m really hoping that the audience is just like ‘damn, that’s intense’ and will remember that while this play is set in the 40s, domestic violence still happens today,” Kangas said.

It is important to remember that while Kangas is obviously a passionate and dedicated actress, she is also a busy college student. “My average day [during the show] has been stressful. It’s hard to balance it all. I have maybe 15 minutes in between each thing I have to do each day,” Kangas said.

Kangas is no stranger to a stressful schedule. During her freshman year, she played Juliet in GC’s production of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” though she was not expecting to land the role as a freshman. She also did not expect to get the part of Blanche, which is hard to believe since she is so passionate about her character.

“I originally auditioned for experience, but I told the director that if she saw me as something or if she needed me as something, to cast me as that, and that’s how I got Blanche,” Kangas said.

Kangas’s humility for her role is admirable and charming and her kind of passion deserves a standing ovation.

(Feature image by: Haley Fusia)

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