Meet the Artist: Shayne Steliga
What brought you to acting?
I was a shy kid who didn't really break out of his shell until getting up on stage. Acting was (and is) an opportunity to step outside my own skin and into someone else's. I relish the opportunity to create a character from the ground-up; if done well, it can be extremely cathartic.
What did 10-year-old Shayne think he'd be when he grew up?
Hands-down, a pro basketball player! We were a sporty (not to mention, musical) family, and all three of us kids took to both. I had long limbs, decent athletic ability, and spent hours upon hours shooting jumpshots in our beat-up driveway-- rain, shine, hail, snow, sleet.... It wasn't until high school that I discovered I was an even-better cross-country runner and that my passion was the dramatic arts.
What is the greatest challenge of playing Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream?
Lysander's relationship with Hermia is crucial to the story and represents what he is wholeheartedly fighting for...yet Lysander's world undoubtedly gets turned on it's axis once outside forces intervene. This would be my greatest challenge: responding to this change, discovering the appropriate nuance(s) and continuing to fight for what he feels in his heart.
Another challenge was working with the rich, poetic language that Lysander employs. This was a fun challenge that I embraced, with special thanks to Ron, our director and ML, our Shakespearean Dramaturg Extraordinaire, for their valuable insight and guidance. I've enjoyed working with the language as well as collaborating with everyone involved. .
What do you hope that Shakespeare in the Park fans will take away from A Midsummer Night's Dream?
Whether they've had a particularly stressful (or relaxing) week, I hope that they can take two hours out of their lives, suspend their belief, indulge their senses and give in to the reality we've created.
Other than yourself (!) who should play you in the feature film of your life?
Benjamin Bratt or Adam Beach.
What Shakespeare character's personality do you most resemble?
What's your superpower?
While I'm partial to Wolverine when it comes to superheroes, brute force is not my strong suit :)
To be completely honest, empathy.
Tragedy, comedy or history?
Truth or dare?
More about Shayne:
A Midsummer Night's Dream marks Shayne's debut with Optimist Theatre. A Milwaukee native, Shayne is a proud graduate of UW-Green Bay's Theatre Arts program and a former intern of the Milwaukee Rep.
Most recently, Shayne collaborated with: Bronzeville Arts Ensemble for Chicken and Dumplings, UPROOTED Freedom High and Classic Rock: 101, In Tandem for The Eight: Reindeer Monologues, Milwaukee Chamber for the Young Playwrights Festival, Milwaukee Public Theatre for Stories From the Medicine Wheel, and Windfall for City of Angels. Shayne also appeared in the independent films Waterwalk, Come Follow Me, and My Son, My Savior and is currently the lead vocalist of two Milwaukee-based music groups.
Shayne is currently a Testing Specialist with Gateway Technical College, and has more than five years experience serving low-income families through the W-2 program. Born and raised in Milwaukee County, he still resides in the area and is a proud uncle of six -- and thanks his family and dear friends for all their support.
A taste of what's to come this summer at Shakespeare in the Park, courtesy of the outrageously charming Shayne Steliga who will portray Lysander.