American Actor Ashley Casias graduated from University of California, Irvine (UCI) in 2012 with a degree in theatre. The actress now lives in Sonoma, Calif., Eight hours north of Hollywood. Culturs got the chance to discuss how she has pursued theatre since college. She tells all about the struggle of being in a film dominated state, and how she continues to pursue the art of theatre.
Culturs: Why Theatre?
Ashley Casias: I love that you can feel the energy right away. Nothing’s edited. It’s all right there.
C: How do you feel when doing it?
AC: I feel more alive than I do in any part of my life. I am so happy, and gosh just so fulfilled.
C: What’s your favorite part while acting?
AC: Making people laugh, or if I’m playing a powerful role and seeing someone’s reaction.
C: How did you find theatre?
AC: So I’ve always wanted to be involved in acting, but I was involved in a lot of sports so I didn’t have the time. I finally started when I moved to California, my senior year of high school, so I started taking classes there.
C: Was it intimidating since you started late?
AC: Yes, I felt like it was too late. People were well seasoned. I always felt too old, but I was only 17.
C: Why were you intimidated?
AC: I felt like everyone was so involved, and I needed to do so much to get caught up. I had so much to learn.
C: Do you feel like that still?
AC: No- overtime I’ve realized that life is so long and big. Sometimes you grow into things and out of things. In my 25 years, what I have learned most is that you are never too old. If there is something that you’ve always wanted to do then do it. It’s scary because of what people may think, but I think you should do whatever you want to do whenever you want to do it.
C: Have you seen theatre in other areas?
AC: I’ve seen some things in Spain, and a lot up and down the West Coast.
C: What kinds of shows have you seen?
AC: Musicals mostly and straight plays. All very powerful. Soem were comedica and dramatic.
C: Did you notice cultural differences when you were in Spain?
AC: For the most part I felt like I was back home, expect for the language barrier.
C: Did you see a differences in the way the audience in Spain reacted to the show compared to an American audience?
AC: There wasn’t a lot of cheering-just clapping. I think that was how they show their respect for the performance. It wasn’t supposed to be about the cheering.
C: How have you integrated theatre into your everyday life?
AC: I joke a lot. I storytell a lot. It has to be perfect every time. it has to be like they are living it. Gotta set the scene…etc. etc.
C: How has theatre changed since graduating college?
AC: It’s not at your fingertips. it’s harder to get involved, and harder to do it. It’s further away.
C: Are you continually pursuing it?
AC: I still do, but it’s fewer and far between.
C: Do you think Californians respect film more than theatre?
AC: Absolutely. There is a better understanding for film than theatre.
C: Why do you think that’s the case?
AC: Everybody’s tied up with technology and everyone has to be connected, so its easier for people to see movies. California is so much more shallow than any other state, especially Southern California. The more north you get the cooler they are. They care about what they can do now and what they can talk about it to keep up. It takes more patience to do and enjoy theatre. It’s an art; you either love it or hate it. It’s It’s underappreciated. It takes more time, effort, and is more of an event than just to pick up redbox and stay updated on the hottest movie.
C: Do you think it’s bigger in NY, because there people are more artsy?
AC: Yeah, but It’s easier for people to get their hands on. There is more promotion. It just isn’t’ like that in California. it’s all about the movies.
C: What would it take to make it bigger in places where it isn’t so popular?
AC: I think if a broadway type of company brought high quality shows and theatres and promoted them in a big way it could be big. It just needs to be offered more. I don’t think they know how good it can be. If it got talked up as much as “The Lion King;” had more hype it could work. Having a big theatre in the city would help.