The Artist: Jacklyn Maddux, Penn Valley |

The Artist: Jacklyn Maddux, Penn Valley

What are your career and your current job title: I am an actor who will be appearing as Countess Aurelia in The Center For The Arts’ production of “The Madwoman of Chaillot,” directed by Sands Hall. I am also a playwright.

Describe in a sentence or two your art: As an actor, I have created roles in new plays as well as acting in classical works. Working on Countess Aurelia is an honor, a delight and a wonderful challenge. My own plays tend to be serio-comic, somewhat nonrealistic and concerned with relationships and the environment.

How long have you been working in this discipline: I have been acting practically all my life and writing plays for about 13 years, on and off.

Why do you do it? I find that I am most alive and present when I’m creating, whether I’m writing plays or transforming into a character that someone else has written.

What do you hope to accomplish? As a general rule, when I’m acting I want to always live truthfully in imaginary circumstances. As Aurelia in “The Madwoman of Chaillot,” I want people to fully experience her world and her extraordinary perspective on life. As a playwright, I want my stories to create laughter, touch the heart and open life to my audience in a fresh yet evocative way.

Do you create your art with an exact message you want the viewer to receive, and if yes, what is that message? When I’m acting, my message is whatever the playwright’s is. I am there to serve the playwright, and what sheer pleasure it is to serve Jean Giraudoux (author of “The Madwoman of Chaillot”). As a playwright, I am interested in how people survive day to day, what defenses are built to get us through life and are we able to find our way into true intimacy and connection.

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? I think anyone who fully invests in being an artist of any kind has taken on a full-time job, probably for the rest of his or her life. It is the creative process that endlessly fascinates me, not so much the goal of making money. However, it is great and very important to make money working at your art, but often artists find that difficult. It doesn’t mean you’ve lost your artistry, and most likely you have gained some along the way. It’s a joy to appear at The Center For The Arts in “The Madwoman of Chaillot”! Also, my play, “Strange Sightings in the Great Southwest,” directed by Sands Hall, is being produced this May by The Foothill Theatre Company. More joy!

What kind of special training have you had? I studied acting in New York with William Esper and voice and speech with Robert Neff Williams. These are two of the old masters, and I have been very fortunate in being able to train with them. I am also a certified Alexander Technique teacher. As a playwright, I have been fortunate to work with several wonderful dramaturges who have helped me to find my way.

What’s your favorite part of your endeavors? As an actor, I love the notion that each person in the cast of “The Madwoman of Chaillot” carries a part of the story around with them through their days. Then at night you put us all together and a play is made. As a playwright, I love that a group of people unknown to each other comes together to sit in the dark and be connected through the experience of the play.

What’s your least favorite part of your endeavors? Running into large egos and arrogance that will always make telling the story truthfully more difficult.

How many hours a day, or more appropriate, a week, do you spend on your work? I am fairly disciplined and have a daily schedule that I try to follow. I work on my voice everyday and then I do a workout. I will then turn to whatever play I’m working on, whether I’m acting or writing. I will work anywhere from four to eight hours.

Do you consider it hard work and could anyone do it? Acting – I consider it very hard work that takes training, commitment, passion and self-truth. The only way you find out if you can do it is to do it. Playwriting-I think writing a play is terribly difficult and writing a good play, even more difficult.

Any other comments you’d like to include? Yes! Please come see “The Madwoman of Chaillot,” which opens Feb. 10. It is a timely and timeless play about love, loss and seeking a better world. As directed by Sands Hall, it is beautiful, funny and touching.


“The Artist” appears each Friday. To suggest a creative talent who should be profiled in this feature, contact Pam Jung at or 477-4232.

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