To make it in this business, actors benefit from a well-rounded education. Luckily, Julia Wells ’15
is getting just that, having acted in a diverse array of shows, from the classic musical Into The Woods
to Shakespeare’s The Tempest! Now, Julia is adding yet another style to her repertoire, getting experience
with classical Greek theatre playing Kalonike in this Spring’s Lysistrata! In addition, Julia has given
herself a chance to learn about the technical side of theatre, working as Props Master for Harvey,
The Miss Firecracker Contest, and Spring Awakening. Talk about variety!
The Department of Theatre and Dance asked Julia to come in for an interview
about this this wide range of experience.
T&D: What is your major?
Julia: Theatre and English, with a Creative Writing concentration.
T&D: What’s your hometown?
Julia: Fredericksburg, Virginia. I live 20 minutes away from here.
T&D: What’s your main focus in theatre?
T&D: How did you first get involved with theatre?
Julia: I was in sixth grade, and we had a dinner theatre mystery show for parents. I played a detective, it was a very cheesy script, and at one point I bent over and my hat fell off onstage and people started laughing as I twirled it back on my head. At that moment I thought, “I want to do this for the rest of my life.” It was a solid moment.
T&D: What is your favorite show you’ve worked on at UMW?
Julia: I do not have a favorite show; I think all the experiences are so different that I could never decide on one.
T&D: What are your plans after graduation?
Julia: After graduation, I plan on moving to DC. I plan on finishing my novel as well, which has been taking a long time. Then just being a freelance writer and auditioning for plays.
T&D: What is your favorite word? Least favorite word?
Julia: My favorite word to pronounce is Oubliette. I don’t like the meaning, because it’s just a place where you place someone to forget them essentially. For meaning, I’d have to say balance, because it’s something I’m always striving for in my life. My least favorite word is cuddle, I don’t particularly enjoy the sound, and I don’t really enjoy the action either.
T&D: What is your favorite kind of candy?
Julia: I’m going to trail away from candy and say I really love mochas with whipped cream, they make me vastly happy, and it has chocolate in it, so I think it counts.
T&D: If you could work on any play or musical, which one would it be?
Julia: I really want to be Lady Macbeth, in the original Scottish play, but in The Living Dead In Denmark as well.
T&D: What’s a fact about you that most people wouldn’t expect?
Julia: I have synesthesia, where I can see colors for music and when reading text. I use it a lot when I’m writing, so I design a color palette when I go into a poem. Recently I’ve been using it more in my character work to develop them even more as individuals.
T&D: Who would be some of your biggest professional influences?
Julia: I go through cycles, I find new actors that I cling onto and really fall into their work. Recently, the biggest one has to be Mads Mikkelsen. I was drawn in by Hannibal, but A Royal Affair really sold me on his range as an actor. But I have to say Tom Hiddleston, for his Shakespeare work, is really a big influence. His vulnerability astounds me and I strive for the same openness in my own work.
T&D: What accomplishments or contributions would you like to be remembered for when you graduate?
Julia: Just that I’m a hard worker, that I was able to contribute something in my time here.
T&D: Do you have any interests outside of theatre?
Julia: I really love music, I am a violinist, I play a bit of piano and ukulele as well, and I love to sing. Pretty much all of them have been answered before by being a Creative Writing major, it shows how deeply invested I am in writing and reading and all that. An odd one would be keeping up with news in Ireland and India lately, because I’m continually interested in their growth as countries.
T&D: You’ve worked on shows by Shakespeare, Sondheim, and now Aristophanes. How have these experiences built upon each other? What lessons have you learned from getting such a wide range of experience?
Julia: It is just a massive range right there between the three of them, not just in time but also in style itself, and I think that’s fascinating to work with. But every single one of them, though I’d say more between Sondheim and Shakespeare, connects quite well. There’s always a darker element that they share. Aristophanes is just fun, great fun, but it’s missing that darker element that I enjoy. I do enjoy that in every single one of them, I’ve had comedic moments, from being a cow to being the 20-some characters in The Tempest, being a Fury, being a Sailor. Aristophanes, he’s just hilarious. While I love darker moments, having a comedic one is always good. I think it pushes me as an actor. But really I think it’s just the fact that they’re so different, and I feel like I can fit into whatever I want to as an actor at this point, I’ve had great roots here and now I can go out and do whatever I want and it’ll be wonderful.
2013-14 Student Spotlights
Sidney Mullis | Edgar McKewen-Moreno | Felysia Havens | Covenant Babatunde | Hannah Freedman |
Gwen Levey and Maggie Murphy | Taryn Snyder | Taylor Kiechlin | Ford Torney | Jamie Wilson |
Stephen Nickens | Chelsea Raitor | Nicholas McGovern | Conor McMahon | Evan Crump |
Rhiannon Lalumandier | Claire Winkler | Kelsy Trumble | Katie Gigantiello | Megan Cadenas | Kat Zeringue |
2012-13 Student Spotlights
Emily Burke | Kate D’Andrea | Bess Ten Eyck | Christopher Stull | Alicia Kallen | Karen DeVigili |
Kimberlyn Frost | Anissa Felix | Taryn Snyder | Carole Hall | Wayne Bird | Colin Manning |
Will Chaloner | Reid Moffatt | Peter Mumford and Joshua Culhane | Hayden Morrissett |