|Shayla Curran excels in dual roles. Expectant mothers face different fears, whether birth mother (red-headed Lizzie) ...|
|... or adoptive mother Allie (with Jason Wilhoite as Kevin)|
PHOTOS by Jim Kelly
If “necessity is the mother of invention,” then one actor inventing two very different mothers is a performance that needs to be seen. In Let Nothing You Dismay at the Farmington Players, (November 30 – December 15), Shayla Curran plays the dual roles of Allie, the adoptive mother, and Lizzie, the birth mother. Shayla reflects on the challenges of playing these two opposite women: “I realized that though they live very different lives, they would share similar fears about having a baby. Allie is a wife, a rocket scientist, has a high-achieving family, but unfortunately, can’t have children. Lizzie is young, poor, and got ‘knocked up by her Jet’s delivery man boyfriend.’ Adoption is very emotional for everyone involved; everyone feels some kind of fear. Is the birth mother going to change her mind? What if I wasn’t mean to be a parent? What if I regret giving this baby up? What if they don’t raise this baby the right way? Putting myself in the shoes of these two women, I wanted those different fears and emotions to tell them apart rather than their looks or lifestyles. It’s been challenging to flip between emotional mindsets rather than character traits, but it’s what makes them more relatable.”
Growth is a major theme of Let Nothing You Dismay. Shayla observes, “Allie and Kevin are literally about to grow as a family while Lizzie and Leonard are about to grow emotionally as two people making a huge decision to give their baby up for adoption. Life is a road full of uncertainty, big decisions, and realizations that you might find from the most unexpected people.” Shayla relates this to her own path to personal growth: “I see myself surrounded by my own set of kooky family members and friends that have stood by my side, even when I was being the biggest pain in the butt. Life will toss some hard situations at you, but you are never alone and growth is the doorway to happiness.” Shayla also equates leaping into her first-ever Farmington Players experience with her own growth as an actor: “Even though I’ve been involved in the theater community for most of my life, I actually had never set foot in the Barn before auditioning for this show. I was feeling an itch to try something new and meet people. I read the script and loved the challenge of playing multiple characters. I knew that this would be a fun opportunity to try something new.” From the first day of auditions, Shayla knew she had made the right choice: “I remember being at auditions and thinking to myself ‘I’m having so much fun auditioning with these people, I could do this all day!’ I think that right there says it all.”
Even though Let Nothing You Dismay is not well known (the Barn is staging its Midwest premiere), Shayla knows that audiences will love this show as much as she does: “Let Nothing You Dismay is hilarious. It’s warm and fuzzy. It’s relatable. Everyone in the show has put so much thought into the characters and relationships that the audience is going to be able to relate to one or more situations and get a good laugh in.”
Michigan born and raised, Shayla describes herself as an “outdoor, animal loving girl who also enjoys working and exploring in Detroit.” She recently bought and renovated her first house and has performed in theater since she was 10 years old, first playing Woodstock in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.
Let Nothing You Dismay has 3 remaining performances at the Farmington Players Barn Theater from December 13, 14, 15. The show is proudly sponsored by Weinstein Jewelers. Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.