Get to know Charisse Loriaux who is playing several characters in Dogeaters including Lolita Luna, Lola Narcisa Divino, and Stephanie Jacobs among others.
What are you most looking forward to about this production?
I’m most looking forward to gracing the Magic stage with this talented cast, speaking Jessica Hagedorn’s words with truth and honesty, taking the audience on a ride of a lifetime, and executing Loretta Greco’s vision at optimal energy and total commitment. All of this equals to having a blast and having so much fun. I look forward to all of this. However, I know it’ll pass in a flash. So, writing this is a reminder to myself to breathe it all in, hold my breath and exhale slowly. I want to remember how very special this time in my life is.
What was your first experience at/with Magic?
My first experience at the Magic Theatre was in 1998 when I saw Mules by Winsome Pinnock, directed by Dianne Wynter. I was a young student taking classes at Diablo Valley College, passionate about theatre and excited to see my sister’s friend, Andrea Harris perform. My sister, Bridgette Loriaux met Andrea Harris at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival where they both were Company Members. I remember the intimate space, sitting center and being drawn in by the actors and their talent. Also, feeling quite special because I knew someone in the cast. I left the Magic Theatre feeling inspired and it only reaffirmed I wanted to be an actor.
What have you seen/read (shows, concerts, movies, books, art) lately that really spoke to you? Why?
In December, I took my partner to experience Janet Cardiff’s The Forty Part Motet at the Fort Mason Center. It’s a 40-part choral performance of English composer, Thomas Tallis’s sixteenth-century composition Spem in Alium, sung by the Salisbury Cathedral Choir. There were 40 speakers arranged in an oval, where each choral member was individually recorded. When standing in the center of the oval, my partner and I were flooded with harmonies and a force that was so moving it brought me to tears. However, when we stood close to any of the 40 speakers, placing our ear next to the soft black material, we could hear the individual voices and the parts they sang, along with the occasional clearing of their throat or laugh during their intermission. It was so intimate and personal.
It spoke to me because it was really the patrons who roamed the room that made the exhibition fascinating. I saw couples holding each other, eyes closed and still. I saw a young woman staring out the window. I saw an old woman and a teenager giggling. I also just watched my partner for a small while as he went speaker to speaker and just listened. All of this was happening as these 40 voices filled the room. I’m grateful Janet Cardiff created 14 minutes where we could just breathe and feel beauty or whatever you wanted to feel.
How did you get into acting, what was your first gig?
It was 1998 and I was 19 years old when I received a phone call to audition for The Aurora Theatre Company. They were producing Posing for Gauguin, by Dorothy Bryant, directed by Cliff Mayotte. They first wanted my older sister, Bridgette Loriaux to audition, but she was already working in another show. So my awesome sister recommended her little sister for the job and I ultimately got the part of Teha’amana, Gauguin’s teenage mistress and Tahitian model. I was working with Jeri Lynn Cohen who played the ghost of Gauguin’s grandmother and Owen Murphy who played Gauguin himself. They took me under their wing and I was able to experience professionalism at its finest. In addition to working with these two incredible actors, I was able to be under the direction of Cliff Mayotte. What a brilliant man and just so damn smart! We had come full circle and I was able to work with Mr. Cliff Mayotte again in 2010 in the Rough and Tumble World Premiere of A History of Human Stupidity by Andy Bayiates. Cliff has always believed in me and I’m so grateful. There’s one more person that I owe so much to and that I must thank. She saw a spark in me at 19 and fostered my career. This wonderful person is Barbara Oliver, an actor and director who founded the Aurora Theatre Company in 1991. Barbara Oliver passed in 2013 and her legacy of love and theatre lives on.
Can you tell us a little about your character? What do you think is her best quality? Worst?
I play the role of Lolita Luna, the soft porn “bomba” movie star. She’s the life of the party, beautiful, sexy and successful. The company she keeps are men who use and abuse her, but they’re also very rich and very powerful. Although her adoring fans thinks she has it all, all she really has is her beloved son. Lolita prays these men with great power will help her and her child escape the country. Her best quality is her worst quality. Lolita is willing to do anything and will go to great lengths for what she wants. She’ll go to that deep dark place and sacrifice it all for her son. Her capacity and tolerance for pain is limitless.