by Lorie Lewis Ham
Since theatre on stage is still on hold right now with the exception of some virtual shows, we are continuing to feature some local actors who have also been acting on our podcast, Mysteryrat’s Maze. This week we chatted with local actor Teya Juarez who has been the voice of several of our episodes. Mysteryrat’s Maze features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors.
KRL: Are you from the Valley, but if not, where are you from and how did you end up here?
Teya: Yes, I was born and raised in Fresno.
KRL: Current day job? And other jobs you have had?
Teya: I have worked at CASA de TAMALES in the Tower District in Fresno for the past three years. Come see us at our new location!
KRL: Schools attended?
Teya: I attended Bullard TALENT kindergarten through 8th grade, Roosevelt School of the Arts, and now I am a senior at Fresno State.
KRL: When did you first get involved in acting and why?
Teya: I’ve been performing since I can remember! From making up shows to perform for my family to grade-level productions in elementary school, I was involved in the arts very early on. At Bullard TALENT, the arts are integrated into everything the students do, which fostered my love for the arts all the way back in kindergarten.
KRL: What was your first part?
Teya: My first part was in kindergarten as a Munchkin in the Bullard TALENT middle school production of The Wizard of Oz!
KRL: What are some of the shows you have been in, and the parts you have played & with what companies?
Teya: Some shows I have done over the years here in the Central Valley include Somebody’s Children (Shannon) with Shine!, Urinetown (Ensemble) with Stageworks Fresno, Be More Chill (Christine) with the Selma Arts Center, as well as Native Son (Mary), The Wolves (#8), and Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley at Fresno State.
KRL: Do you have a favorite type of show to perform in?
Teya: I definitely have to say musicals. I love performing in shows that I get to sing, dance, and act in. I have also had a lot of fun doing comedy, especially Moliere.
KRL: What do you like best about acting/singing?
Teya: Something I really enjoy about acting is when there’s a lot of collaboration on a scene or a show. Creating a character and adding new moments to a piece alongside other artists always inspires me.
KRL: What is the hardest?
Teya: The hardest thing about acting is how close it is to you. It can be hard to separate yourself from your struggles as an actor.
KRL: Future goals and dreams?
Teya: I hope to get my PhD in Theatre! I would love to teach theatre history or dramatic literature at the college level or be a dramaturg.
Teya: I owe so much to Dr. Gina Sandi-Diaz and Dr. Melissa Gibson at Fresno State. I also love comedian and podcast host Chris Gethard.
KRL: Family, including pets?
Teya: I live with my parents and my three siblings, as well as my cat, Ellie, and what seems like hundreds of stray cats that we offer hospitality to.
KRL: What do you feel has helped you the most in growing as an actor?
Teya: The thing that has helped me the most in my growth as an actor is learning that I have to be an advocate for myself in my acting training.
KRL: What advice would you have for someone wanting to get into acting?
Teya: One piece of advice I would have is to spend less time worrying about what you think you don’t have to offer as an actor, and spend that time leaning into what you do. Your uniqueness can be your superpower.
KRL: What is your dream role?
Teya: How can I pick just one?! I would love to play basically any role in American Idiot, Spring Awakening, Next to Normal, Falsettos, or Legally Blonde.
KRL: Was your first Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast the first time you ever did any voice acting and why did you want to audition for the podcast?
Teya: Yes, I have always been interested in doing voice acting, and this was an opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone and see what I could do!
KRL: How has voice acting been different from acting on stage?
Teya: One thing I’ve noticed most is that when you’re behind the mic instead of onstage, you can contort your body and face into any weird position you need to produce the voice or sound you want. I love exploring all the different things I can do with my voice to tell a story.
KRL: What have you liked best about it and what has been the hardest?
Teya: I love that all I need is a microphone and something to read to do voice acting- what a pandemic-friendly way to create! The hardest thing has been having to start over while recording so many times because I just can’t get the words out right!
Teya: I love to listen to podcasts, bake, watch YouTube videos, and I have recently started gardening.
KRL: I understand you are writing and directing a virtual show at Fresno State this year can you tell us a little about it?
Teya: Yes! The Fresno State Experimental Theatre Company is producing ten-minute, original virtual plays. I wrote and am directing Z, a devised-style piece about the unique struggles and expectations of Generation Z. The shows will be premiering on the Fresno State University Theatre Facebook page, hopefully towards the end of this year or early 2021.
KRL: Anything else you would like to add?
Teya: I am so proud of the Central Valley theatre community. Not even a pandemic can stop us from creating art! I can’t wait to see what else we come up with.
Check out Teya’s podcast performances on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, mysteryratsmaze.podbean.com or listen to the players below.