This week, we meet Judy DiVita of Naperville who joined TWS back in 1997.
Q. Why did you join TWS?
A. After completing my degree in drama, I took time off from theatre to pursue a business career in information technology. After several years, I couldn’t stay away any longer and got involved in community television and theatre in Naperville. I served on the Board of Directors of Summer Place Theatre for about 18 years. During that time, I wanted to get back to directing again, but I needed a place to build a reputation. Suzanne Nyhan, a TWS Active, told me about the Directors’ Workshop program at TWS. There was an annual studio class starting in a few days, and I joined immediately. I was on vacation and had to go straight from the airport to my class, but I made it.
Q. Go back in time. When did you discover you had an interest in theatre/drama?
A. My mother told me it was when I was about five. I used to run up to the television during the “Ed Sullivan Show” and talk about the camera angles and how the overhead shots were done. She recently passed away but had always been a great supporter. She loved to attend “Sandwich Sunday” rehearsals, because she got to mingle with the actors and crews afterwards and share stories like that with them.
Q. At TWS, do you work on stage, behind the scenes or both?
A. Both. I’ve worked on almost every crew at some time or another, and lately, I am drawn to props and sound. I like playing various challenging roles, and I tend to be cast as characters with accents. I was the sweet old lady killed off in an Agatha Christie British mystery. The audience was upset when I died. I loved playing that character. On the other hand, I was the mean old lady in another Christie play a few years later, where the audience was happy when I was killed off, so it’s fun playing an old witch, too. I was Azra, a Bosnian refugee, in a very moving play, “Necessary Targets,” where I had to not only cry but speak with a Bosnian accent. I enjoy something in every character I’m given the privilege to portray.
In addition, I love directing, and lately, I do a lot more of than acting. I have directed well over a dozen one-act plays for the TWS Directors’ Workshop, and I recently directed, “Superior Donuts,” at Village Theatre Guild in Glen Ellyn. I am very excited that in a few months I will be directing the second Main Stage show of the 2014-2015 season at TWS. It’s a clever murder mystery called, “Design for Murder.” Who knows? It might even include audience participation.
Q. What do you love about TWS? What is it about TWS that motivates you?
A. I love the creativity, collaboration and friendships that develop while working on projects with people of various ages and backgrounds. We are motivated by the same things, and I realize I just have to get involved. Every theatre group I work with seems to have its own sense of community and its own collective personality, which is great. TWS is by far the most rooted in its founder’s philosophy and methods, and it primarily stays true to them after over 85 years. It’s the only theatre I know of in the area that follows that particular approach, so it’s a different way to operate from all the rest.
Q. Tell about something that was (is) a really big thrill for you at TWS.
A. I can’t limit it to one thing. I am always thrilled when any production, in which I’m involved, moves the audience and I especially like directing a show that becomes a great experience for the actors and crew as well as the audience. It was also a great feeling to see the look on my mother’s face when the short play I wrote about how she and my father met during WWII was produced in the Directors’ Workshop’s “Shorts for a Summer’s Evening.” Right now, I know opening night of “Design for Murder” in October, 2014, will be a huge thrill for me.
Q. List three things you have given TWS.
A. Love, time and support.
Q. List three things TWS has given you.
A. Quality training, one-on-one opportunities to grow in every area of theatre and lots of good friends.Tags: Theatre of Western Springs