Sheila Carrasco was just announced as a co-star in Ghosts, a new show on CBS. But that’s not all the actress and writer is up to! Carrasco’s solo play, Anyone But Me, has just premiered at the IAMA Theater Company. The virtual production dissects the psyches of women who struggle with self-identity, exploring the personas we create in order to get by. We had a chance to catch up with the talented performer, and find out all the latest details about her new work!
Tell us a little bit about Anyone But Me and what viewers can expect.
I would love to! Anyone But Me is a character-driven solo show that revolves around the theme of self-identity, and women that want to be someone they are not– and why.
Anyone But Me focuses on a lot of psychological topics. What research, if any, did you have to complete while writing this piece? How did it contribute to the writing process?
I started by writing from my point of view and experience. I tried to get specific with my characters and really ground them in emotions that felt true to me. And I think by diving into my own psyche and unpacking topics that I could really relate to, as specific as they are, it made the themes of the show more universal. And I think that’s the point of my show. We can all be wildly different and yet really relate to each other. And by standing in the nuance of our identity, and never painting ourselves in broad strokes, we empower ourselves and can also forgive ourselves more and more as we go through life and give back to the world. As we continued the rehearsal process, we had open discussions about each character’s journey, which was so helpful in crafting and rewriting.
Tell us about the production process for your show. What were your favorite and least favorite parts?
Well to start with, we rehearsed entirely over zoom until tech week! It was so weird at first and full of tech glitches, but it was also really intimate and wonderful and I’ll cherish that rehearsal period forever. Once we got to the theatre I was like-
OKAY I’VE MISSED THIS! Haha, it was so soooo wonderful to stretch my muscles again and get physical. But performing for an hour straight with no audience in a silent theatre? That was not ideal. It took so much mental energy and stamina to stay in the moment and also be my own scene partner, and also imagine there were laughs to build upon… I am so grateful I got to make this show and had truly had a blast performing it, but let’s just say I cannot wait to perform this show live one day! There’s nothing like live theatre.
You have performed in several staged productions and TV shows, what is the performance that you think most shaped you as a performer?
Ooh this is a fun question. For me, being a versatile performer that can write for themself has always been the goal, and I think performing in the CBS Diversity showcase in 2018 has been the most crucial learning experience for me in getting there. I had written for myself before, created loads of characters, but this was the first time I’d been in a program where I learned how to edit my writing, and I mean really edit it. It also promoted true ensemble work (which is what really makes me happy), and how to shine with just one line, and celebrate your scene partner and make them shine. And to write character sketches for other people and find that fulfilling. I try to take that approach into everything I do now, even if it’s a commercial!
What advice do you have for women looking to create their own written work?
I would say whenever you can, to practice writing from your gut without judgment, and then just turn around and MAKE IT. Last fall, I had nothing but time to write this show, and I found that I was writing it for ME, and not for the purposes of what other people would think. And that was a real gift and something I’d like to continue doing. At a certain point, you can throw all the “writing tips n’ tricks” and the training, and the notes from your writer’s group out the window, and just say “Fuck it! This is what I want to make, and if people don’t like it, they can make their own show.” Take those risks. You really have nothing to lose.
Wanna check out Anyone But Me? Watch the trailer below, and reserve your tickets at https://iamatheatre.secure.force.com/ticket/#/events/a0O2I00000V2fN3UAJ
Image: TAKE Creative