May. 13, 2015

Gayle and Goldie, two actors from TONYC's Housing Works Troupe, talk about what drew them to join the troupe. This interview is part of a series conducted by Lance Richardson, in preparation for TONYC’s third annual Legislative Theatre Festival Inside/Outside.

GAYLE:  My name is Gayle. I grew up in Brooklyn, and now I live in Queens. I was petite growing up and people used to bully me. In the 1990s, I was diagnosed with HIV, but –– thank god! –– I’m here today and healthy.

Goldie in a 2015 Legislative Theatre Festival rehearsal.(Photo credit Breukellen Riesgo.)
GOLDIE:  I’m Goldie. I come from a good background, I got my education, I completed the twelfth grade. School could be a bumpy road, though, because some people just couldn’t understand that I was different and unique. I’ve always been uniquely beautiful, and I like to express my feelings rather than holding them in. Some people can handle that, but others can’t.

GAYLE:  I hate it when people discriminate against others because they’re different. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to join Theater of the Oppressed: to get out of my little shell –– because I’m kind of shy generally –– and spread the word that being different is okay, that being different can be good.

GOLDIE: I’ve always had a passion for theater. TONYC gives people an insight in what’s happening nowadays, and also what’s going to happen in our future.

GAYLE:  I learned to find my voice.

GOLDIE: You help an audience recognize the trails and tribulations that we face through society’s stereotyping and discrimination.

Gayle on stage at the 2014 Legislative Theatre Festival. (Photo credit Tiph Browne.)
GAYLE:  When we do the shows, sometimes politicians are there, and everyone is on social media.  You can see different ethnicities and cultures unite as one community. I feel like it’s important that we all stick together and try to defeat this bullying and hostility.”

GOLDIE: I want the audience to know that they can help change a situation. The audience can get up and actually offer ideas and inspiration, re-enacting whole scenes with us. I think it’s a lovely feeling, because you bring reality to the stage.

GAYLE: I like that, ‘bringing reality to the stage.’ It has a good ring to it!