With the opening of our next production, Sylvia just a few days away we wanted top get to know one of it’s stars, Jill Luberto, a little better. This HITW newcomer is playing the delightfully fun role of the play’s namesake, Sylvia. If you’ve never seen the show you will be in for a treat as the name Sylvia may bring images to mind of a beautiful woman but this particular character is just a bit furrier and more….four legged than you’d be picturing! Here is what she had to tell us…..
What do you do when not playing a furry, four legged pet on stage?
I currently work as a Human Resource Representative for Tsunami Tsolutions in Glastonbury, CT. I also previously taught children’s theatre for theatres and educational programs here in CT and in North Carolina.
This is your first show at HITW, how did you hear about us/this show?
My friend Michele told me about the auditions, and I’m also I’m very fortunate enough to call Jim Ryan a friend. We’ve done a few shows together in the past and he’s a very remarkable human being. He mentioned auditions and I thought, what the heck, I’ll give it a go!
What do you enjoy about working at HITW so far?
The people. Everyone is very nice, very creative and very eager to see a production get off the ground. I’ve never been to HITW before Sylvia so I was delighted to get familiar with the space. There is something very grassroots and very eclectic about HITW that you usually don’t see in community theatres and I’m happy to be part of it.
How would you describe your character?
Oh, gosh, Sylvia… she’s a nut. What you see is what you get with her. She’s had a few bumps in her life so she’s not afraid to tell it like it is, but she’s a very happy, scrappy little thing who just wants to be loved and love in return. She isn’t desperate in her search for a family but like all of us, she just wants to belong. To have a family to call her own.
You play a dog in this show, what have been the challenges to that?
Yeah, playing a dog certainty has it’s…charms. Eating kibble, waddling around on all fours, cones of shame…but it’s so much fun. I love all elements of comedy, and there is certainty a great deal of it in this production. With the character of Sylvia there’s a great deal of physical comedy. Finding Sylvia’s physical idiosyncrasies , how far to push them, how to get that juicy laugh out of each of them without losing the character posed many fun challenges for me. I think every night there is something different I try out to get that laugh, and I think that will extend through out the performances.
Can you tell us a little about your theater history?
I can’t thank my mom enough for bringing me to theatre camp at the Bradley Playhouse in Putnam, CT when I was 10 years old. It was a hour car ride to and from, and she and my baby sister would wait for me every day. I fell in love with theatre that summer and was smitten ever since. I have worn many hats throughout the years: directing, acting, playwriting, stage managing, puppeteering with Jim Henson Co (eeee!), teaching for Hartford Children’s Theatre and many other wonderful programs throughout the state. I also recently succeeded in completing two dream projects- directing One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest & The Miracle Worker for Windham Theatre Guild.
What do you enjoy most about acting?
I love making people laugh. One of my favorite authors, Ann-Marie MacDonald once said “Being on stage and hearing people laugh, it’s so restorative.”, which I believe is very true. No matter what kind of day I have, when I get on that stage, and I hear the first hint of a giggle, then maybe that cluster of chuckles and if I’m truly lucky, that resounding roar of shared laugher, I feel accomplished. And it’s restorative not just for me, but someone in the audience could have been having a crappy day too and they came to see the show, and hopefully leave happy. That’s the goal. Like Sylvia says, “You’re happy, I’m happy.”
What would you say the theme of this show is?
I’d like to believe the theme of Sylvia is love. Just simple, no bones about it, pure love without judgment, cruelty, or spite. I mean when you look at a dog, they give you nothing but love and adoration. They show us the very best of themselves 150% of the time, even if they are pooping on your front steps. You instantly forgive upon seeing their big dopey smile.
What is your favorite part or line in the show?
There are so many, and it’s so hard sometimes to look at Stephen, Jen or Adam cause they are so amazing and funny. I love just listening to them say their lines. I’m so fortunate to be surrounded by such talent. If I had to pick, I love when Greg says “Hey, can I play too?” Just the childlike innocence that Stephen projects when he says it, it’s wonderful. I also like when Sylvia gets fowl in the park, oh, her little potty mouth is so much fun!
Are you a dog lover yourself?
Oh yes, definitely! I grew up with dogs in my family and they were the dearest of companions and best of friends. When my boyfriend and I get a house of our own, we cannot wait to have dogs. We even have names picked out already (and of course I’m going to tell you) Adventure, Wicky and Banana.
Sylvia runs September 16th-October 8th with Friday and Saturday shows at 8:00 P.M. and one Sunday 2:00 P.M. show on 9/25.