COMPANY SPOTLIGHT: Cassandra Ybarra Babcock
Cassandra Ybarra Babcock plays Gwendolen Fairfax in THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST.
1) What has drawn you to be involved in theatre?
I was lucky to grow up in a Montessori school that incorporated theater into the curriculum as a way for different age groups to learn how to work together, take on responsibilities, exercise imagination and express themselves through art. Ever since, I have always gravitated to theater throughout my life. The way theater creates a new world for the actors and the audience to live in together is magic to me. I love the opportunity to get to explore a way of life that is different than mine within the character’s circumstances. I love that there is a rehearsal process that allows the actors and director to build and create week after week and that it is a safe place to be bold, try ideas and sometimes fail. In life, failing is a negative and most of the time seems to come with a cost. But I love that within the safety of the rehearsal room, failure is a way of learning and growing and takes great bravery in doing so. In the risk can come some pretty amazing ideas that can be used within the play. It’s a lesson I try to practice and integrate into my day to day life. Dare to fail is an invaluable lesson I have learned from my teachers. 🙂
2) What do you like most about the character you are playing or the job you are doing for The Importance of Being Earnest?
Her “Absolute Confidence”. She is well educated and isn’t shy about sharing her knowledge with anyone and everyone within earshot. She will share it regardless if anyone is listening or even in the room with her. I love that she is so absolute about every idea, every lecture, her ideals & most of all, her point of view about a person. Even if it changes in a matter of seconds, she is 100% committed to her new “right” choice. Her way with words and her word play is also very fun to live in but I guess that is across the board with all characters, thanks to Mr. Wilde’s brilliance.
3) What qualities do find most admirable in a person?
I think Truth (speaking your own truth to others and yourself), kindness, empathy in understanding other people’s points of view & way of life, and the ability to admit when oneself is wrong, doesn’t know something or “the answer” or admit when they need help. To me all of those things take great courage. Qualities I try to remind myself to practice on the daily.
4) What is your comfort food?
This is probably going to be the oddest answer to this question but… Grapes- specifically Green Grapes. I don’t know why but that is the first thing that comes to mind. Soup is a close second.
5) Describe your greatest accomplishment.
Finishing these Spotlight questions 🙂
I would have to say my college directing thesis project, Exhibit: Frida. It was a main stage production about the artistic life and sufferings of my idol, Frida Kahlo. I love collaboration among artists and using multiple art mediums to tell a story. I called myself the curator of the play (instead of the creator or writer) in terms of creating the story. I outlined how the story would be told and what scene would be about what events of her life and I collected a diverse group of writers, poets and lyricists to write each scene, both in English and Spanish. From there, we all worked on using Frida’s words to sow together transition from scene to scene. The cast, writing team, designers & I incorporated music, shadow puppetry, dance, movement, painting & costume design to bring to life the surrealism of Frida’s paintings. She loved fiercely and used her paintings to express pain, suffering, anger, immense joy, her sexuality, her politics and her dedication to her art and her artistic partner & husband, Diego. I think being able to create a place for all these artists to come together, boldly and bravely create, share their voices and shine through their art is the greatest accomplishment. (To the cast & crew: Mi Gente, I sky you. Besos!)
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST runs November 20-24, 2019 at the Big Bear Lake Performing Arts Center.