Andreá Smith plays Oliver in Shrewd's upcoming production of As You Like It.
Andreá has been involved in the Austin theatre scene for the past 15 years, as an actor, director, choreographer, and producer. She last played with Shrewds in Big Love, which was one of her favorite experiences, ever! Andreá is a company member of Shrewd, a company member of the Vortex, president of the board of directors of The Hidden Room Theatre, and a member of the B. Iden Payne Awards Council. When she's not working on a production, she works in Human Resources, which provides its own particular brand of theatre. And after more than a year off the stage, Andreá is really excited to work with such a tremendously talented group of folks, on such a fun play!
You are playing the most prominent (traditionally played by a man) male role - Oliver. How do you feel about it? Is it exciting, scary, both?
Of course, if I were focused on playing a (traditionally played by a man) male role, as a man might play it, (when I am clearly not a man), there would be the same trepidation a man might have when playing a female role in an OP setting, but that isn't what we're doing here. Lily has done a wonderful job of placing the focus on the relationships and the text, and shifting away from the "traditional" social mores of gender. I'm not even sure that word, (traditional), has a meaning or place in the world of our play. I will admit to a certain freedom in exploring this role, in that, my first question playing a traditionally female character might be, what is her status in this world? How might that affect her walk, talk, education, style choices? Sometimes text may be informed by my answers to these questions. In this role, because we have taken the emphasis off gender, I've been squarely focused on relationships and text, and lean heavily into the words to find my meaning, purpose, and motivation.