What brought you to acting?
Back in middle school, I had a group of girlfriends who were into choir and auditioning for the school musicals. I would audition every time but was never cast in an acting role. Starting high school, I did the same. I auditioned for the school musical my Freshman year and bombed it big time! I gave up until my Senior year of high school when I decided to go for it once again.
I really gave it my all, and as fortune would have it, I was cast as one of the Angels in Cole Porter's Anything Goes. Later that year, I was cast in a monologue show and fell in love with the way the audience reacted to my work. I was sold once I felt the rush of fear and pure delight for accomplishing something that I never could before.
Cut to my 2nd year in college: after taking a step back from acting, I was cast in the musical All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. I found myself falling in love again with the rush of being on stage and having the opportunity to work with others who felt exactly the same as I did!
I transferred to UWM after my two years at UW-Waukesha. I was very reluctant to go into theater since the fate of an actor is uncertain. One day it dawned on me, after having a conversation with someone who has influenced my life drastically, that I really should allow myself to do what I love.
I chose to stop worrying so much about the future and dived right into my acting degree at UWM. I auditioned and completed the BFA acting program within two years. I know that choosing to go into acting was the best decision I have ever made for myself. It is the one and only thing I have NEVER given up on despite the constant challenges. I couldn't be happier with the choice I made back in 2006 to pursue my career in acting, because I get to do the one thing I have always loved to do.
What did 10-year-old Tess think she'd be when she grew up?
I thought I was going to be a nurse for a long time. My mother has been a nurse since I can remember and I always thought I would follow her down the same path.
What is the greatest challenge of playing Robyn Starveling in A Midsummer Night's Dream?
There aren't many clues as to WHO Starveling is as a character. I found creating a character that made sense within the context of the play was a challenge.
What do you hope that Shakespeare in the Park fans will take away from A Midsummer Night's Dream?
Overall, I hope our fans allow themselves to really get into the language of the play. This show is a lot of fun and the old jokes still translate to this day.
Other than yourself (!) who should play you in the feature film of your life?
LAURA PREPON!!!! I think she is magnificent. I enjoy her comedic timing and her ability to transform into characters. Think about it: she rocked in That 70's Show and is dynamite in Orange is the New Black. Plus, I think she is very lovely!
What Shakespeare character's personality do you most resemble?
The first character that comes to mind is the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet. I really think it's because she has the ability to see perspective. She also clearly cares a lot for those close to her.
What's your superpower?
Speaking to animals. I typed that without hesitation; I love animals so much!
Tragedy, comedy or history?
Comedy. You can't leave a rehearsal or a show in a bad mood! Plus, it is challenging.
Truth or dare?
Playing The Sims for an entire day. I would tell you all to give the game a shot, but then I don't think any of you would make it to the show ;) !
More about Tess:
You may know Tess through Youngblood Theatre Company. While working with Youngblood, she produced and acted in Red Light Winter, Spirits to Enforce, Freakshow and Dying City, to name a few.
Tess is thrilled to again have the chance to work with Optimist Theatre, and is thankful to get to work alongside a group of talented artists dedicated to making A Midsummer Night's Dream a success. She thanks her friends, family (cat included), and fellow artists for their support throughout this production.
You can follow Tess on Facebook, or catch her performing with the sketch comedy group Variety Hour Happy Hour in this year's Milwaukee Comedy Fest on August 8th at 10 p.m.