Pen Pals: The Board and AC Interviews

by Board Member Roth Judd and Advisory Company member Clare Arena Haden

Every once in a while, we like to pair up a Board Member and Advisory Company member for a little get-to-know-you activity. They correspond for a few days, asking questions and shedding light on who they are, what they do, and what it's like to work with FTC. This month, enjoy a conversation between Board Member Roth Judd and Advisory Company member Clare Arena Haden.

Clare:
Roth, you have an enchanting speaking voice, perfect for radio. Have you ever considered a career in radio, and if so, what kind of show would you host and why?

Roth:
Clare, you flatterer you. I succumb so easily. But alas, no one has ever before tapped me as having a radio voice. Funny that you mention it though because multiple people have suggested that I have a face and look for radio, so maybe you are on to something.

Clare:
After serving FTC as a new board member this year, what would you tell our audience is the most insightful thing you've learned so far?

Roth:
FTC embraces the prudence of The Little Engine that Could and the magic of the Hogwarts Express.

Very cool and significant for FTC is its system of shared governance which assigns roles to and values the separate, intertwined relationships of the Advisory Company [artistic oversight], Administrative Staff [operations], and the Board of Directors [financial oversight].

Clare:
So, what’s the effect?

Roth:
From this emerges a company able to take artistic risks, explore limits, inform, challenge, mix-it-up, excite, and please audiences while simultaneously exercising fiscal caution and restraint. It is a remarkable recipe. Our supporters should know that FTC’s finances are strong and their financial support is both important and prudently allocated.

But Clare, enough about me. You are an actor. Our audience recently saw you and loved you as Henrietta Leavitt in Silent Sky. As part of your existence you live imaginary lives on stage. How and how easily do you make the transition from portraying another’s life and living your own? How is this even possible?

Clare:
Getting to walk a while in Henrietta's shoes was such a pleasure. I learned a lot from her. Bringing a character to life is a delightful dance in which you embrace those parts of yourself that link to the heart and mind of who you're playing, and then also opening yourself up to possibilities and circumstances you can only imagine. It's all about empathy. Thankfully, good playwrights (like Lauren Gunderson) make it easy to gauge the pulse of the character which you're embodying. Then you just try to match your pulse to theirs. I learn a lot about myself in the process.

Roth:
Have you known since childhood that you were born to act? With what other careers, if any, have you flirted?

Clare:
I was actually a really shy performer as a kid (I hid in the closet in preschool when my class had to sing a song in front of parents and scared my poor mother to death because she couldn't find me and I wouldn't come out). I had (and still do to some extent) paralyzing stage fright, yet I kept trying to put myself in front of people (again, thanks to some gentle nudging from my mom). There was something intrinsic to me about following this drive to tell stories. I began as a singer mostly and got into acting more seriously in high school.

I'm terrible at flirting, just ask my husband. Oh, you meant career choice! Right. I loved biology in high school and was good at science, and I also was very involved in athletics (basketball and track). However, I always knew I wanted to be a performer, and my supportive family made it possible for me to pursue a degree in musical theater. Gratefully, being an actor also provided a lot of opportunities for me to be a teaching artist. That is definitely a path I have enjoyed exploring. My passion for teaching is something that I continue to cultivate as I learn more throughout my life. Of course, the more I learn, the more I realize how much I still don't know. Isn't that wonderful? :)