Lily Sorenson was our Artistic Direction Apprentice and Assistant Director for Dogeaters. She talks to us about her life in theater and experience working on Dogeaters.
How did you get into theatre/know it was what you wanted to do?
There are probably a million people with stories like this, but I was cast as the lead troll in my 1st grade production of "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" and I was hooked. I have absolutely adored working in theatre, both on and off stage, since before I can remember. I worked on community children's theatre throughout my youth, but when I got to high school I began to widen my interests. I started designing and building sets and writing short plays while keeping up with my acting. In college, my interests only became more diverse. I was sound designing plays and films, auditioning for plays and musicals, and performing with dance groups. It wasn't until my sophomore year that I got to direct my first play, but directing became a passion that consumed me entirely, prompting me to start producing my own works on and off campus.
What was it like working on Dogeaters?
Dogeaters is a very special play with a very special cast. It was an absolute delight to work on. Getting to shadow the tremendously talented Loretta has, of course, taught me so much about direction. But beyond that, the almost entirely Pinoy cast feels like a family. They were so high-energy and positive in every rehearsal. Everyone was incredibly helpful and encouraging in understanding the culture and language of the show -- Pilipino culture wasn't one I had had much exposure to prior to the production. Since the show has opened, I have sincerely missed each and every person in the cast on the evenings I'm not around to see them - something you can't say about every cast you work with.
Do you have a favorite character? If you could play a character in Dogeaters who would you play?
I love all the unique characters our ensemble has created for Dogeaters, but I have always been particularly fond of Perlita and Chiquiting. With their sassy and competitive banter, they are wonderful comic relief in the sometimes very dark world of Manila, 1982. But they also have lovely tender moments where we see how much they love each other, Joey, and Rio. They were unexpected to me in a world like this, but have proved to be some of the most important players in the story that is told. If I got to play a character, I would love to play either Lolita Luna or Barbara Villanueva. This is probably in large part because I love the way our beautious actresses have realized them. I'm very into the over the top and performative nature of the characters. Women in the spotlight, but each have moments of vulnerability that show us the person behind the personalities they're force to perform.
What has been your most memorable show/performance in your career?
Though Dogeaters is not a show I will soon forget, some of the most memorable shows were during my undergrad education at UC Santa Cruz. The ones that stick out in my mind the most couldn't be more different; Rent by Jonathan Larson and The Aliens by Annie Baker.
I had the role of as Maureen in the 40+ cast main stage production of Rent directed by Danny Scheie at UCSC and it was one of the most hectic and exciting productions I have ever been in. I was allowed to self direct my own performance art piece for the song "Over The Moon" which was an absolute delight. Getting to work with a cast of so many friends and on a show so near and dear to my heart from an early age was such a good time.
I also directed and produced The Aliens by Annie Baker in my own backyard with a cast of three phenomenal male actors. We all gave our weekends to work on the show because we were so excited about it. I'd never before been so in touch with a text or done such valuable work with actors. It was a highlight to my directing career so far.