Friday artist – Dianna Winslow
What is your career and your current job title? Currently, I’m an actor in the original show, “PLAINSONG,” which opened at the Empire Mine this week. I’m also a university-level writing instructor with a master’s degree in English composition, and I will be a fellow at Syracuse University, New York, in the fall to begin work on my Ph.D.
Describe in a sentence or two your art. I am an actor, singer and writer. Acting and singing have been my love most of my life. Writing and teaching writing have surfaced more recently.
How long have you been working in this discipline? I have been performing since I was 10. I did my first professional musical at age 15 and have worked off and on in theater and music since then.
Why do you do it? I love it. Nothing makes the senses come more alive than to interact in live time with an audience and other actors.
What do you hope to accomplish? I hope to live life well, fully and awake. How that occurs, whether through acting or teaching, matters very little. The thing is to be present in my life.
Do you create your art with an exact message you want your viewer to receive? In acting, I want to bring the creative collaboration between director, playwright, and actor to life for the audience. In this project, “PLAINSONG,” the director is the playwright, which is a terrific treat! If I play true, there will be something compassionately human about my character for audiences to identify with.
Where do you want to be with your art, in terms of part-time versus full-time status, art positions and where your works are seen? Life is my “where.” Opportunities to act, write, teach and learn occur in perfect timing, and I have no particular agenda for the ways in which all of these interests will evolve or where or how they will show up. I simply believe that divine timing is a more fun way to experience life and work than any other way I’ve found.
What kind of special training did you take? I have studied voice/singing and acting for 30 years with various excellent coaches. In my teens and early 20s, I studied dance for stage work, including ballroom dance, jazz and ballet. I have learned a variety of dialects. In one show I had to learn to knit and step dance – two things I had never done before.
What’s your favorite part of your endeavors? It’s all good! If you lean into everything with interest and curiosity, it all becomes a great and intriguing adventure. I suppose it is the people I meet doing all of the different work I do, as well as the challenge of making everything come together on opening night with spark and vigor.
What’s your least favorite part of your endeavors? In my acting, nothing. In my writing, getting started. In my teaching, nothing.
How many hours a day or, if more appropriate, a week, do you spend on your work? Wow, hard to say. I feel as though I am always working. For “PLAINSONG,” the time commitment has been immensely compact. We have put in 10-hour days many days in the last three-and-a-half weeks. My writing usually goes that way, too – long days many days in a row, then a nice day or two of gardening!
Do you consider it hard work and could anyone do it? I am not doing anything that a like-minded, motivated person couldn’t do. And yes, it is hard work. But isn’t everything worth doing challenging?
Remaining performances of “PLAINSONG,” an old-fashioned western, is presented at and as a benefit for the Empire Mine State Historic Park (10791 E. Empire St., Grass Valley). Showtimes are 6 to 8:10 p.m. June 28 to July 1. Admission is $15 adults, $7 children 12 and under. Bring a folding chair and wear comfortable shoes to follow the action of the play from site to site within the park. Call 273-8522, 272-2131, 272-5333, 265-0576 or 432-9266 for more information.
“The Artists” appears each Friday. To suggest a person to be profiled, call The Union newsroom at 273-9561.
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