Acting is a career that many people aspire to join yet relatively few individuals’ mange to find success in the difficult and competitive industry. Deanna Gibson is one of the lucky people who has managed to turn her dreams of acting into reality.
Deanna Gibson is a New York based actress who has appeared on stage in an impressive array of productions. In the course of her acting career, she has played Neasa in Barrington Stage Company's “Shining City” and Emilia in the Titan Theatre's “Othello.” She has also appeared in many Shakespearian plays. Deanna earned her MFA from FSU/Asolo Conservatory and recently appeared in “Delrium’s Daughters” which played to positive reviews in New York City in the latter half of 2015. Recently, Deanna Gibson took some time to speak to AXS about her experiences working as an actress and her hopes for the future:
AXS: What inspired you to become an actress?
Deanna Gibson (D.G.): I was a very shy child, and so acting attracted me as a way to connect with people. I had no formal training until college. We did not have any drama department in my high school. I can thank speech and debate (and acting by myself in my bedroom) for the encouragement I needed to major in theatre. My grandfather was also an actor on the stage - he did summer stock with Horton Foote. Though, I did not know this until after his death.
AXS: To date, how many plays and/or films have you acted in?
D.G.: 29 plays as an equity actor post receiving my MFA in 2005 - 23 Equity contracts, 6 Showcase codes. Film is not as prolific, but I'm hoping to do much more in the next couple years. I've done 10 short films as a principle & countless films and TV shows as an extra.
AXS: So far, what has been your favorite acting role and why?
D.G.: Despite the notorious anti-feminist undertones (or overtones) to Shakespeare's THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, I gotta give props to Orlando Shakespeare Theater & their 2013 Wild West production. It could have failed, but placing the show in that time and place (wild west in the US of A) really worked and helped amplify the ferocity of Kate (I played her like Calamity Jane in DEADWOOD). I think it also lessened the misogyny in the piece. Plus, I got to crack a bull whip. Last year, I got to play various characters in a series of one acts by my husband, KEN FERRIGNI. I adore playing anything he writes. In this particular collection (entitled BANG-GALORE), my favorite character was Benvolio in ROMEO & JULIET ACT VI: THE GLOOMIEST PEACE. We meet him as a pan-handler trying to escape the urban wasteland that is Verona.
AXS: Is there a certain type or genre or character that you consider to be your favorite? If so, which one and why?
D.G.: Any genre or character that I've been playing too often is probably the one I'm happiest to step away from. That said, I do prefer comedy. I feel better when I do it. Taking a break from it every now and then is necessary, but those dramas do take a toll on you...I'd say my "wheelhouse" is the outrageous character: I love making them believable and relatable.
AXS: How did you get involved with “Delirium's Daughters”?
D.G.: I was one of the lucky ones. I submitted on actors access and got called in by Erica Palgon (casting director), for whom I'd never auditioned. I loved everyone in the room & Kathleen (director) treated me so well. The funny thing is, the original actress playing Terresa had to leave the show after two days. I'm so thankful and stoked that Kathleen, John, and the team remembered me from the auditions, because they called me right away. I had never worked with anyone in the room before, but they (everyone) made me feel like they were fortunate to find me - from day 1. I'm making lifelong friends.
AXS: Career wise, where do you hope to be ten years from now?
D.G.: As I mentioned before, I want to transition to TV and film. So, I'd love to book some principle work. Do some features. I'm ready for the camera. More theatre - but closer to home. I'd love to collaborate on more work with my husband, too - create some work that is new and exciting.
AXS: What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to become an actor?
D.G.: Have a nest egg. Don't forget where you came from. Don't sacrifice your life for your art, because you need your life to create your art. Think about this as a marathon, not as a sprint (unless you're moving to LA to become an actor, in which case I wouldn't know what to tell you)
AXS: Are there any upcoming projects and/or events that you would like to mention?
D.G.: I'm collaborating with my husband now on a modern retelling of the Minotaur. It will be very funny. We are writing original African-inspired music to help tell the tale. It's too soon to plug dates. We are still in the workshop stages. But stay tuned at my official website and Twitter @DeannaGibsonNYC