Meet the Cast: Erica Chamblee, "The Tree"

The Giving Tree is a timeless story about a boy and a tree.  In The Gift, the Kelly Mayfield Dance Company's original reimagining of this classic tale, we have many more characters to explore--each and every one of our dancers has created and molded a complex character who is integral of our telling. 

Here  is your chance to meet the cast of The Gift and learn about their process in creating their character, their experience in bringing this story to life on stage, and their favorite childhood memories. We asked the cast some questions to help you get to know the cast a little better--and maybe ask them some more personal questions at the show's talk-backs!

Stay tuned for more characters as we approach opening night. And don't forget to join us for the world premiere of The Gift, April 6-14 at Round House Theatre Silver Spring (tickets here)!

Introducing ... Erica Chamblee as "The Tree"

I've been dancing with the company for ... one season. It has been both challenging and eye opening. It is rare to find a group of people who are consistently so dedicated to telling stories in a way that requires full commitment of both body and mind. We dance full out, we act full out, no marking.
 
When I'm not in the studio dancing, I am ... working as an actress in theater or film. I run a production company with my sister called Soblu Inc. We are currently working on our second feature film. I also paint and draw--the images for The Gift included--and am also the mother of a wonderful 4 year old boy, so my plate is happily full!
 
My favorite childhood book/story is ...  I had many favorites, but one that still puts a smile on my face is Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. I loved the idea that you could have a lifetime of adventure in the space of one night's dream. I had also picked up the nickname "wild thing" before my mother even read the book to me, so it was nice to know I was not the only wild thing out there. 
 
My character in The Gift is ... The Tree. She is very generous and willing to do just about anything to make her friend, the boy, happy. Initially, I was very nervous because I didn't want the character to be general wash of kindness. We had no script--just the shell of the story, which is kind of scary.
 
However, with Kelly's vision of the tree as a woman, the choreography, and Melissa's beautifully simple script made creating this real being with real opinions about her relationship with this child/man made The Tree so much clearer to me. It has been a eye opening process, and I've learned a great deal about myself as a performer every day in rehearsal.
 
To me, this show means ... a dream come true for me. The combination of acting and dance in service to such a simple yet profound story is very meaningful to me as an artist as well; this is the kind of work I live for.
 
Also, I tend create in a very adult, sometimes even a dark place. Not necessarily by preference, that is just where my career has gravitated. Since I had my son, I have wanted to do a show that was appropriate and exciting for children.  I am so happy to finally be performing a piece that appeals to kids but also depth and even a darkness that adults can appreciate. Of course, my son won't be able to see this one because he is part of the production (as an Apple)! Maybe next time.
 
Read more about Erica in her company bio.
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Essential The Gift links:

IndieGoGo    |  Rehearsal photos & video   |    Purchase tickets   |   Event on Facebook--invite your friends!