Tuesday, April 19, 2016

6 Questions: Heather Litteer


Lemonade, written by and performed by Heather Litteer opened last week.  Heather answered 6 Questions for the La MaMa Blog and talks about the show, 


1. What was your original inspiration for Lemonade?

Lemonade first started out as a poem. I was thinking about all the different jobs I have had over the years and all the acting roles I have done and then it just started to flow together. There was a sort of a pattern and I started to think about my life and how some things mirrored each other, there were similarities between my personal life and the film roles and even my own mother Nancy.

She was a Steel Magnolia of a woman who had some struggles, but she always powered on and she never looked back and neither have I. I had an epiphany and realized how similar we were and that we were both just two girls trying to make it in this world the best way we knew how. There was this point in my life where the role of mother/daughter changed and we became friends. For me, my mom and my dad were superheroes and the older I got, I started see them as my best friends. The unconditional love was there and we are only humans and none of us are perfect. We are just dong the best we know how. We all wanted to be heard on our own terms. 

I was feeling the strain of being type cast in the film world, I felt like being in Requiem for a Dream really set the tone on how I was perceived as only a sex object. Please, I rolled with it and went in willingly but started to get tired when that was the only way people could see me. I had so much more to offer as an actress and as a person. I want my own name and a first and a last name in credits and not just Bored Hooker #1. I suppose I was naive. 

I am playing with the dialogue of a few of the films that I have been in while taking a tongue in cheek look at these roles set against the deep Southern roots of my Mother. I think so many people can relate to parental relationships and how they form us, as well as rampant misogyny in film. I inspect how women can be perceived not only as sex objects, but ageist outlooks as well .My mother passed away suddenly during the writing of Lemonade, so in writing Lemonade it is cathartic for me to heal and to take back the power for myself to honor my mother. 

2. You talk about being typecast  in your film work, How is theatre different?

Theatre has been a completely different animal for me. You can make and be whoever you want and take your imagination to the deepest, darkest, or most surreal. 

I have been embraced wholeheartedly by the community and there are no boundaries or roles defined by gender, race or age. We create together! The opportunities are endless and the creative juices just start flowing and everything is so wildly alive and you build these amazing shows together as a family, especially in downtown and the avant-garde, where I feel most at home. Branching out could be nice, but my homes is from Houston to 14th street.

Theatre has a huge life of imagination and anything can happen because it is live and exciting!

3.  How has New York City changed since you have been here?

Well the New York that I moved to in the 90's was a 'lil more gritty! Downtown was still downtown and I made it here on the tail end of rent stabilization. I am lucky to have one of those apartments in the Lower East Side. I could never afford to live here now with the skyscrapers rising all around and the mom and pop stores just washing away. It's like the neighborhoods are disappearing and everything is becoming more like a shopping mall. It's becoming a college town, hedge fund, medical suppliers, and campus haven. I rarely go out on the weekends anymore, I just can't handle it!

There still so many wonderful things in New York City theatre, music, and performance. Even in the LES, just look around you and stop saying there is nothing and make something happen! Of course, a lot of it has spread to Brooklyn and I am slowly learning how to get on that train and head over the pond. I'm usually never disappointed, Brooklyn is great too!  You just have to know where to find it and and when you have the downtown aesthetic you always will and it's alive in you!

4. What do you miss about Georgia?

For me, Georgia is my youth! I have lived on my own in NYC since I was 18 years old.
So Georgia is playing in the woods and the creek behind the house, building forts, sucking on Honeysuckle plants, and doing cartwheels. Playing with Barbie's, having tea parties with my Mom, and going to Ga. football Games with my Dad. As a teenager, I drove around in my Honda Accord at Stone Mountain and swam in Rock Quarries, and I even taught Charm Classes to little girls, and was a high fashion model at the mall where I also used to work at The Bridal Shop! Then I went on to NYC, this is where I started my own adult life, I'm still here and chipping away!

5. If you could pick up tomorrow and go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I would travel back in time to have that last talk and giggle with my mom, Nancy.
I wish so badly that we had been able to say our good-bye's, it just happened so fast.

6. What Does working at La MaMa mean to you ?

I consider La MaMa the Maverick's of the downtown theatre! La MaMa takes chances and is located right here in my neighborhood in the LES.

I am so happy to be part of the La MaMa family, Ellen Stewart started a theatre aesthetic for ALL people to come together and create and experiment with theatre and performance. It's a home, it's a family vibe. There are no wrongs or rights, there is freedom to create here! 

La MaMa lets artists color outside of the lines and is very community oriented, not only here, but also internationally. Mia Yoo keeps up with that tradition and I wouldn't be here without Mia saying yes to working with me on the Fox Fellowship. All it takes is one yes, and life can take a turn! This Fellowship has allowed me to make Lemonade!

I am so grateful to the whole La MaMa team as well as my mentor and Downtown treasure, Nicky Paraiso. My 'lil heart just beats with happiness! I Love you Maverick La MaMa! Love you like Lemonade!



La MaMa presents
LEMONADE
Written and performed by Heather Litteer
Directed by Elena Heyman
Assistant Directed by Callie Jane Farnsworth
Dramaturg: Lucy Sexton
Script Editor: Mike Albo

Now - 24, 2016 - 3 more performances!
Friday & Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 6pm

The Club @ La MaMa
74A East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $18 Adults; $13 Students & Seniors;

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE