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Local Actor Q and A With Kingsburg Actor Casey Ballard

IN THE September 22 ISSUE

FROM THE 2018 Articles,
andLorie Lewis Ham,
andMysteryrat's Maze,
andTheatre
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by Lorie Lewis Ham

At KRL we enjoy taking our readers behind the scenes-whether it’s learning about the lives of teachers, actors, artists, or musicians. This week we are chatting with local actor Casey Ballard from Kingsburg, CA. Casey is also the actor featured in our latest podcast episode, Murder at the Driskill. You can find the episode on the podcast website, on iTunes, Google Plus, and we have embedded the player at the end of this interview! Casey is also directing for the first time-she is directing Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Selma Arts Center from November 8-17. Tickets can be purchased on their website.

KRL: Are you from this area originally?

Casey: I am from this area originally! I was born and raised in Kingsburg, then moved around a bit before settling in Portland, OR for about 8 years. After that, I decided it was time to come home!

shakespeare

Casey as Beatrice on the left in this summer’s WSF production of “Much Ado About Nothing”

KRL: What is your current day job? What other kinds of jobs you have had?

Casey: My current day job is as an 8th grade English teacher. Other jobs I have held include Starbucks barista, bank teller, online receptionist, and costume designer.

KRL: What are some of the schools you have attended?

Casey The first school I attended after high school was CSU Long Beach. From there, I studied abroad in London for a semester then moved back to the Fresno area. I finished my bachelor of arts at CSU Fresno. I have also done some post-baccalaureate linguistic work at Portland State University.

KRL: When did you first get involved in acting and why?

Casey: I can honestly say I have been acting since I was very little because I would constantly put on small performances for my (very obliging) family. As I grew older, I realized I love acting because I love the art of storytelling. Not only did I want to tell a story, but I wanted to be in the story.

KRL: What was your first part?

theatre

Casey in her very first show “Jack Beyond the Beanstalk”

Casey: My very first “official” role (as in I auditioned and was cast) was at the age of 10. The play was in Jack Beyond the Beanstalk and I had the great good fortune of being cast as a roach.

KRL: What are some of the shows you have been in, and the parts you have played & with what companies?

Casey: Some of my recent acting credits include Much Ado About Nothing (Beatrice) and Othello (Iago), both with the WSF; The Dish (Coco) Theater J’ Nerique; ‘Swill (Viola/Sebastian) The Motley Fools; The Tempest (Prospero); Hedda Gabler (Thea) The New Ensemble; Twelfth Night (Sir Toby Belch) WSF; Gypsy (Mazeppa) Selma Arts Center; Onionheads (Clementine); Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play (Jenny/Marge) Selma Arts Center; Hamlet (Laertes) WSF; and An Ideal Husband (Mrs. Cheveley) with Second Space Theater.

theatre

Casey as (Jenny/Marge) in “Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric” Play

KRL: When did you first get involved in directing-why and how?

Casey: This (Midsummer Night’s Dream for Selma Arts Center) is my first foray into directing and I suppose it’s simply because I wanted to try my hand at it.

KRL: Do you have a favorite type of show to be in?

Casey: Any show that has a relatable story or characters is my favorite. When audiences can relate, that usually means they walk away thinking or having experienced something they might not have otherwise. I also quite like very odd, weird, esoteric things that can’t necessarily be puzzled out immediately. I like those types of shows because it leaves the audience (and sometimes the actors) thinking even more.

KRL: What do you like best about acting?

Casey: The thing I like best about acting, other than telling a story, is getting to slip into another personality type for a bit.

KRL: What is the hardest?

Casey: The hardest part for me about acting is the time and emotional commitment. Depending on the role, sometimes I can feel very drained after a show; almost depleted. Acting is also an extremely time intensive thing to do. Rehearsals usually last for 4-6 weeks, 4-5 nights a week, for about 3-4 hours a night. That’s a lot of time. theatre

KRL: Heroes?

Casey: I don’t have any names for my heroes but they are the people who keep fighting in the face of adversity. They are the people who see inequality and injustice and they rail against it. My heroes are creators, farmers, dreamers; they are the people who work hard and stay honest and open. My heroes are the migrant workers who cultivate our crops; the single mothers who work two jobs to support their family; members and allies of the LGBTQ community who support, tolerate, and fight. Above all, my heroes are the people who look at a tough situation and rather than place blame, they say, “How can I make this better?”

KRL: What do you feel has helped you the most in growing as an actor?

Casey: The things that have helped me the most have been all the opportunities I’ve been provided by the local theater communities of wherever I was living. Being exposed to new, interesting, or updated shows has also helped me grow. theatre

KRL: What advice would you have for someone wanting to get into acting?

Casey: Advice I would give to someone looking into acting would be to audition for everything. Understand you won’t necessarily be cast, or you won’t be cast in large roles at the beginning. Once you have been cast, observe, observe, observe. Watch the performances and work ethic of actors you admire and/or respect, as well as actors who seem to get work. Mimic them when possible, until your own voice begins to emerge.

KRL: What is your dream role?

Casey: One of my dream roles was actually Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing, which I was able to perform this past summer!

KRL: Hobbies?

Casey: Reading a ton. Haha.

KRL: Anything else you would like to add?

Casey: It’s ok to take breaks from your passions. I love acting and being a part of the theater community, but I also am well aware of when I need to take a break. Giving yourself that space is healthy and necessary- don’t be afraid to do it. Theatre will still be around when you come back.

Now check out Casey’s latest role, that of the main character in our latest podcast episode, Murder at the Driskill:

And for those who read KRL in their email, so you can’t see the embedded player, you can check out the latest episode on iTunes, Google Play, or on our podcast website on Podbean. And to make sure you never miss an episode, consider signing up for our podcast newsletter which will also include extra content and sometimes extra contests.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and a contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet.

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