The vivacious Julie Orkis tells us about her role and experience in the upcoming unconventional show UPROOT by Julia Levine.
Q: Congratulations on your upcoming performance in Uproot at the HERE Arts Center. Can you tell us a little more about the show?
A: Thank you so much! It is very exciting to be in this iteration of the show, seeing as it began with a small scene written by our playwright/director Julia Levine over a year ago. It has had some work-shopped readings and performances, but this is the most developed version thus far. Uproot is a story told through the eyes of food products, about food products. Some of the most common and beloved of all foods among the American diet take the audience on a journey to face a very difficult question – how does our society value certain foods and what does that mean for our society today and tomorrow? Sprinkled with food puns and mixed with talking fruit, this show is good for the whole family.
Q: Who is your character and what is your favorite thing about playing this character?
A: I play Chicken, and a game show host – but you’ll have to come see the show to know more about the latter! Playing Chicken has been a hilarious, fun, identity-crisis filled, eye-opening experience. My favorite part about playing Chicken has been learning about who Chicken is and how Chicken operates in our society. Also, being the only animal food product out of all the characters, I have had the benefit of exploring Chicken on a more physical and vocal level. Placing yourself inside the skin of an animal changes your perspective on every-day life. Working on this production has certainly made me pause and reflect on my choices as a human in society. I hope that my portrayal of Chicken will make the other humans that see the show pause, reflect and make choices based on those reflections.
Q: How do you personally (if at all) relate to the themes of this show?
A: To start, I love food. That is the reason I was first interested in working on this production. I have always known I love food and everyone around me knows I love food. So it seemed like a no-brainer. I love food so much, and because I understand that I am what I eat, I decided as a responsible person to begin making conscious food choices for maybe the last 2 years. Checking labels, reading ingredients, making sure I know what goes into my body. Consumer consciousness, decision making and lifestyle choices are huge themes that are discussed in the show. Also…who hasn’t pictured the contents of their fridge having a party after hours?
Q: What has the rehearsal process been like?
A: Our director has taken us to some of the oddest rehearsal spaces and I think that has really added to the rehearsal process. A theatrical production as unconventional as this needs to have unconventional locations to collaborate in. The cast is hilarious and light-hearted, with open minds and “yes and!” attitudes. It’s the type of people you hope to work with on every production. There is a reason it says “A play with food by Julia Levine, in collaboration with the ensemble” at the top of our scripts. Its truly an actor’s dream to be valued in the rehearsal room and our lengthy conversations about economy, different cultures, the state of the world, and more play a huge part in the process. Each collaborator has a different point of view to add to the table, and nothing is taken with a grain of salt.
Q: If you could choose a sentence to sum up the message you want to give to the world what would it be?
A: Be kind, be patient, be loving, be thoughtful – your actions, no matter the size, will always bring a ripple effect.
Cultivating Uproot- https://www.facebook.com/thefoodplays/videos/277104852771864/
To follow Uproot on its journey- https://www.facebook.com/thefoodplays/