Reyna de Courcy
Both times we’ve seen de Courcy portray an adolescent—most recently this spring in Christopher Wall’s Dreams of the Washer King—she brought enough charm and nuance to her part to tip the narrative balance in her favor. It’s no wonder the Oregon native and Rutgers grad keeps getting cast as a teenager: she plays the most complex adolescents we’ve ever (felt like we’ve) known. She’ll venture beyond that apparent comfort zone for Gregory S. Moss’s gothic fairy tale Orange, Hat & Grace at Soho Rep later this month.
The L: In both plays in which I've seen you perform—Colin McKenna's The Secret Agenda of Trees and Christopher Wall's Dreams of the Washer King—you played an abused teenager; what do you differently to cope with such psychologically and emotionally taxing roles?
Reyna: Well, I dunno…I don't think I've ever worked on a project where the net positive energy didn't eclipse whatever sad things might happen mid-story, so the monsters don't follow me home. It also helps that there are so many wonderful fun people around. Even if, during the show, a cast-mate has to hit me (or worse), later I'll find myself chasing that same guy around the theatre with a booger or something… figuratively speaking, of course.
The L: What would be your dream role or play to perform?
Reyna: Attn casting directors of the world: Please cast me in some science fiction! I just love those stories so much. I think my interest in acting can be traced back to when LeVar Burton brought Reading Rainbow to the set of Star Trek: The Next Generation for a behind-the-scenes tour of the whole creative process. It was this great moment of clarity when the two best shows on television came together to tell me that one can make a career of telling stories.
The L: You've been doing some film and television work recently, how different or similar have those experiences been to your work in theater? Do you have a preference between working on stage or screen?
Reyna: Well, for one thing, in film you watch it later and see yourself… which I find bizarre and alarming… and extremely educational. When you sit down with a bag of popcorn and watch like an outsider, you have the opportunity to get a much clearer idea of what your place in the world of storytelling might be. I would hate to choose between screen and theatre. I love them both in different ways.
The L: What are you working on next, and how do you see your career changing over the next five years?
Reyna: I've just started rehearsal for a play with Soho Rep called Orange, Hat & Grace by Gregory S. Moss directed by Sarah Benson. I'm thrilled to be a part of it. It's a beautiful play, an amazing team, and the world of the story is definitely wild terrain—a role to add to my "dream role" list. In terms of the next five years, my crystal ball is totally foggy. I love what I'm doing now, so I'm just going to keep at it.
The L: If you could collaborate with any other New York City artist (living or dead), who would it be, why, and what would you create together?
Reyna: For some time now I've been collaborating with fellow NYC actor Kate Kenney on a project that can perhaps be described as a narrative audio sculpture. (Yep—it's experimental.) Kate is a great actor and a great friend, and it's been an amazing adventure so far. It's a place where we get to really cut loose creatively, and run with the ideas that are the strangest, and the wildest, and the most foolish, and blasphemous, and fun.