Becky and Annie Potter are two peas in a pod. They both went to Athenian; they both starred in nearly every Athenian theater production while they were here; both went to UC Irvine; both studied theater, and now, they are both in a production of Pride and Prejudice for the second year in a row with a local theater company. The Potter sisters are a dynamic duo who embrace theater arts with their hearts and souls. Annie and Becky began their theater careers at The Athenian School, and as such, agreed to share some thoughts about their experiences since leaving Athenian. [col grid=”2-1 first”]
Becky Potter ’02
After graduating from Athenian, I began studying theatre at UC Irvine. I started by playing mostly animals and young kids (that’s what you get for looking young and being 5’1” in an acting program) but I did end up using my Shakespeare skills (thank you, Dick!) playing Silvius in an all female production of As You Like It. When I graduated from Irvine, I came back to the Bay Area and started working full-time at the Willows Theatre Company, where I had performed often during my time at Athenian and every summer in their annual production of John Muir’s Mountain Days.
While I was working during the day at the Willows, I began performing at night with Butterfield 8 Theatre Company. We do a lot of classical text-based work at Butterfield 8 and over the past five years working with the company. During this time I was also getting my MA in drama from SF State and most recently became a member of the theatre faculty at Oakland School for the Arts where I co-directed the all school musical this spring (Les Miserables School Edition with 65 cast members grades 6-12!). I’m very excited to begin another year there in the fall and continue to juggle my teaching and directing at the school with performing with Butterfield 8 in the evenings as well…because I have all those great time management skills I learned at Athenian!
Becky’s Butterfield 8 Bio
Becky Potter (Elizabeth Bennet) is always thrilled to be returning to Butterfield 8 where she has appeared as Nerissa in The Merchant of Venice, Nancy in the staged reading of Abigail Dreary, Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest, Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hero in Much Ado About Nothing, Imogen in Cymbeline, Leona in Zelda’s Mama’s Cookin’, Thomasina in Arcadia, Ophelia in Hamlet, Viola in Twelfth Night, and most recently, as Lady Windermere in Lady Windermere’s Fan. Becky graduated from UC Irvine where some of her favorite roles included Claire in Fuddy Meers, Silvius in As You Like It, Dunyazade in Arabian Nights, and Ruthie in Bat Boy. In the Bay Area she has been seen in such shows as In the Beginning, Fiddler on the Roof, Inherit the Wind, Brimstone, and every performance of John Muir’s Mountain Days (all for the Willows Theatre Company) and in Peter Pan (DLOC). Becky currently teaching theatre at Oakland School for the Arts.
[/col] [col grid=”2-1″]
Annie Potter ’07
I just graduated from UC Irvine this year. I double majored in history and drama and minored in French, which was surprising for me. I did two summer trips abroad. The first was an archeology dig through UCLA in Kent in a little village outside of Canterbury working on an Anglo Saxon Monastic site, and I also spent a summer in Paris with the UCLA summer program where we took walks around Paris and learned about Medieval French history. I performed in many plays at Irvine and also assistant directed a couple including Cyrano de Bergerac and Curse of the Starving Class. I graduated with Honors in Dramatic Literature, History and Theory, which mostly means that I focused on the theoretical side of theatre. I wrote an honors Thesis for that program on Popular Theatre during the French Revolution.
I’m sort of the expert at being a little sister because I was also a little sister at Irvine. Being a little sister at Athenian was slightly warm and comforting because I always felt that I had an insight into the way things worked that some class mates with out siblings might be lacking. I felt that at Irvine too. Maybe I’ll do my graduate work somewhere Becky didn’t go before me.
I remember that in my sophomore year at Athenian, I seriously considered if I could really study acting in college. Marc Lionetti said something that sort of solidified that it was a totally acceptable thing to do, and I’m glad I did even though I feel like now I’m leaning toward the slightly more academic in my interest in theatre. I think that becoming interested in critical theory of theatre is almost impossible not to do coming from Athenian.
Annie’s Butterfield 8 Bio
Annie Potter (Lydia Bennet/Georgiana Darcy) could not be more delighted to be in this production of Pride and Prejudice. She was last seen at Butterfield8 in the staged reading of Abigail Dreary and also performed in The Birdhouse and Much Ado About Nothing. She attends The University of California Irvine where she studies drama and history, and has recently appeared in Into the Woods and The Servant of Two Masters. She has also performed in many productions at the Willows Theatre, including many years of Mountain Days. Favorite Productions include: In the Beginning, Big River, Urinetown, Pippin, Bat Boy and Lorca in a Green Dress.[/col]
Becky on Butterfield 8 and Pride and Prejudice
Butterfield 8 was founded as the theatrical branch of the New Urban Dance Company. Artistic Director John Butterfield originally formed a group of actors to perform monologues to compliment dance pieces and eventually the company branched off to do its own theatrical work. Butterfield 8 performed shows at the Lesher Center and Town Hall Theatre before finding a home in Concord at Cue Productions. The Mission of Butterfield 8 Theatre Company is to provide audiences a fresh take on classic plays and foster the creation of new works.
As a company member, the wonderful thing that Butterfield 8 provides is a home for a company of artists. We have a strong base of actors and designers all doing the work for the love of it and we have created such a strong ensemble that we are able to challenge ourselves with pieces like our world premiere production of Pride and Prejudice, which was created for the company by one of our members.
We originally staged Pride and Prejudice last year as a two-part event. Part 1 and Part 2 are performed on different evenings (some double days as well). Our commitment as a company to text work (and of our playwright Donald Hardy to the original story) makes Pride and Prejudice a unique piece of theatre where the characters speak much of the original narration from the book as well as the dialogue. Far from making the piece static, the ensemble is constantly onstage and moving as part of the action and doubling as multiple characters. We had a great run last summer and so we are remounting it this August with much of the original cast. For anyone interested in “word for word” style theatre, or fans of Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen, this is a not to be missed production! My favorite compliments we got last year were from people who thought they hated Jane Austen but truly enjoyed our production! As an actor, it’s one of the most challenging and rewarding roles I’ve ever played and I’m so happy to be a part of it!
Pride and Prejudice
Photos provided by Becky and Annie, as well as http://www.b8company.com/index.html