Seven questions with Clare Lopez

One of the actresses in Stageworks' In the Time of the Butterflies chats with CL Tampa.

click to enlarge Clare Lopez - Maddy Hunt
Maddy Hunt
Clare Lopez

In the Stageworks' production of In the Time of the Butterflies, Clare Lopez plays the one character who transcends time to tell the stories of the incredible mariposas, the butterflies. Here's a closer look at this actress.

What drew you to this play?

When I came upon Stageworks Theatre's website I was immediately excited about their season which revolved around the theme of "The Year of the Woman". Feeling equally passionate about performing in plays that so relevantly speaks to the empowerment, advocation, and telling of women's stories--I was so grateful to be considered. Apart from that-- it was so refreshing to audition for a role that would allow me to play someone who shared my ethnic makeup, in a cast made up of entirely Latino performers. Having grown up hearing about this story in school, I feel deeply privileged to be a part among these talented story tellers getting to perform this story in its original language. 

Tell us about Breadcrumbs Productions.

Breadcrumbs Productions is a newly launched Professional Theatre company based in Syracuse, NY lead by Artistic Director Tanner Efinger. Its mission is to create bold and imaginative theatrical experiences and support local artists & help them create sustainable careers as artists. Almost a year ago today, Tanner approached me about launching this company and connecting with fellow theatre artists in the region and I leapt at the chance to lend a hand anyway a could. A year later, we've collaborated on a full launch, 2 rounds of Adult Acting Classes, hosted nearly a dozen professional development workshops, devised & produced 2 productions, and developed several theatre based monthly gatherings centered on: devising, movement, & playreading. In a nutshell, Breadcrumbs Productions is a company that is constantly out connecting other artists to one another, and helping them produce, devise, and create their own original content-- and meanwhile creating its own original immersive productions & creating educational & paid opportunities for local artists.

Your bio says you've lived in eight countries around the world. Which eight, and why?

I had the honor of working with a theatre company called ArtSpot Educational Theatre (based in Buenos Aires, Argentina). Its mission to help facilitate English language learning among students through the performance of original musicals around the world. I got to play a sword-fighting Princess Ann in their production of D'artagnan Defending the Crown. I toured this show in eight countries, living anywhere between one week to one month in each: Bahrain, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Argentina and Uruguay.

What advice would you give your character if you could meet her at the time the play was set?

I have the unique experience of playing a role in present day — although this piece is surrealistic and memory-like in style — so the American Woman also travels across time and space to experience these characters throughout the various times of the play circa 1938- 1960. As a writer myself, its hard to describe what advice if any I would give to a woman traveling to a familiar place — that till recently — has not always felt like home. But I think, my best advice would be: "Stay open, stay looking, and stay present. What's happening now is the most important moment. Live it fully before its over".

What brought you to Tampa Bay from Syracuse? I mean, other than the weather... as I understand it, Syracuse isn't the best place to go for vitamin D.

I'm not going to lie, for my boyfriend and I, needing the sun has been a large aspect of our need to live in Florida. Having grown up in Sacramento, I'm a species that seems to require more sun than the average person — and living in the Sunshine State has added so much immeasurable joy to my wellbeing. But apart from that, I've been looking into moving here to help create a more sustainable career as an artist: working in theatre [and] film, as both an actor, director and teaching artist. I'm very lucky to continue my work in New York both with Breadcrumbs Productions and the local film community — and feel its such a smart career move to be based out of multiple cities in order to maximize the work I can book.

What's your biggest takeaway from this production?

This is such a difficult question. These women were so brave, risking not only their lives, but the lives of their husbands and young children, or ever seeing each other again — and they faced such horrific torture and suffering. How can someone begin to live up to that kind of bravery and passion the play calls us to? But I think, the big take away from this show isn't about the tragedy the Mirabal sisters suffered, or how hard they fought, but what they fought for: the belief that there is more this world can be that what it currently is, and we all can take part in making that a reality.

Just for fun: What five things would you bring to a deserted island?

My collection of books, my ukulele, my MacBook, an endless supply of sushi and my fella.

Visit Clare Lopez's website, or follow her on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. She also has an IMDB page.

About The Author

Cathy Salustri

Cathy's portfolio includes pieces for Visit Florida, USA Today and regional and local press. In 2016, UPF published Backroads of Paradise, her travel narrative about retracing the WPA-era Florida driving tours that was featured in The New York Times. Cathy speaks about Florida history for the Osher Lifelong Learning...
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