Caroline Grabow has been with ArtStream since 2017.
ArtStream (AS): What is the first activity you did with ArtStream?
Caroline: I started with Super Social Saturday. My mom found out about it and I wanted to try it. I was nervous the first time. Then I started to have a lot of fun. I met Tyler and Langston at my first Super Social Saturday. They are still my friends.
After that, I took ArtStream classes at Katherine Thomas School, and now I am in the Silver Spring Inclusive Theatre Company.
AS: How did you get interested in performing?
Caroline: I grew up seeing my two older sisters, Amy and Anna, in a Shakespeare acting troupe. So I know a lot about Shakespeare from watching them. That’s why I did a Shakespeare monologue for my first audition. And I registered right away when I saw the ArtStream Shakespeare for All class.
My sister works at a dance studio and she helped me choreograph my audition for last year.
AS: What happens at an ArtStream Inclusive Theatre Company rehearsal?
Caroline: At rehearsals I catch up with everyone about their week. We socialize and talk first, then we get to work. We are a really tight group in our Company. Sometimes a few of us get together and do a read-through of the script. There is a lot of script reading and practicing so we know our lines by the time we get in the theatre…we KNOW it. We have to improv if something happens in a rehearsal. If someone forgets a line, we improv to jog their memory.
Our Music Director is really good at song writing! The songs are easy to learn, and he lets us know what to do.
We have a lot of fun at rehearsals. Last year when we were sitting behind the stage waiting to start, Langston’s headphones came out of the phone and his music was blaring really loud!! We were trying not to laugh out loud.
One time the rehearsal room door was open and a bunch of bugs tried to fly in. It was really funny! We get a little silly sometimes…
Our Director said that our acting showed that we trust each other. We are comfortable with each other and rehearsals are really fun.
AS: Where do you find inspiration for your characters?
Caroline: I love movies, especially the classics. Indiana Jones inspired my first character, a detective, in “Shops and Robbers.” I research my roles from what I grew up with. Then, I figure out the character with the script. I read the script a lot to get familiar with my character. I watch other people and try different lines or different ways of saying the line. I scribble a lot of notes in my scripts.
AS: How did you figure out how to play a Director in “That’s Showbiz”?
Caroline: I had lots of fun with that role. It was a little tricky because I didn’t know how to act as a Director. Being the Director was slightly harder than being a detective last year. I had no idea how to act it and figure out where I was going. It was a trickier role to figure out. When I was a detective (in Shops and Robbers) I had to be more emotional. So, for this role, I watched the Director of our Inclusive Theatre Company for inspiration, and I watched one of my favorite movies “Singing in the Rain” to see what happens backstage.
AS: In Shops and Robbers and That’s Showbiz, there were scenes that were performed in pantomime. What was it like to perform in silence for those scenes?
Caroline: The pantomime part of the role was challenging. I had to watch the other actors and count in my head to know when to stop. It was a lot of fun; I had to watch everything and keep an eye on everyone while I was pantomiming. I was very tired afterward because I was watching and moving so much.
AS: You’ve made a lot of friends at ArtStream. Do you get together outside classes or rehearsals?
Caroline: Yes,I made a lot of friends and I have done a lot of fun things. My friends are the actors, the mentors, and the assistant director.
I’ve known Chris S. since before I started in the Inclusive Theatre Company. We have gone to the movies. He has invited me to his bowling birthday parties. We even did a dance event. I also went to a movie with Stephen and then went to dinner to hang out. He went to Paris and brought back candies and a Disney stuffed animal.
One time, Langston, Chris P. and I were eating dinner and we were having so much fun, we lost track of time. Suddenly we realized we were about to be late for rehearsal! Fortunately, we made it in time.
This summer we went on a float trip with Langston, Chris P., me and our families. Our families are getting to know each other and are friends too.
AS: What is your favorite part of the ArtStream Gala and Dance Party?
Caroline: I have a lot of fun at the ArtStream Gala and Dance Party! A big group of my friends from my Inclusive Theatre Company were on the dance floor together. And we took a lot of photos at the photo booth.
AS: What would you tell someone who is thinking about trying ArtStream?
Caroline: I would say ArtStream is a lot of fun. I would encourage everyone to give it a try.
AS: What would you do without ArtStream?
Caroline: If ArtStream wasn’t here, I would sketch in my sketch books. I like animation and Disney characters. I also do acrylic painting and watercolor. I like to learn new things and really practice them.
My hobbies are reading, cooking with my mom, martial arts, painting and drawing. I entered an art contest at the library. I am working toward my black belt.
AS: What is the most important thing you learned at ArtStream?
Caroline: ArtStream gave me a lot of confidence and socializing skills. It has helped me to communicate well with people and to interact with people. ArtStream helped me out of being shy and gave me more confidence to act.
I learned how to be confident with my acting and have fun at the same time. I get to create the show with the Directors. The confidence we show in our acting gets written into the script. I feel like a professional actor.
AS: What do you want to do next?
Caroline: I want to try to play a different character and do something different each year to improve my acting. I have no idea what my role will be this year. I want to find out! It can be tricky to figure it out.
I’m looking forward to another fun acting year and seeing what we come up with. I definitely like us all working together as a group.
AS: Do you get nervous on stage?
Caroline: I’m jumpy on opening night. I don’t know if I’m going to be nervous. I try jumping and stretching to calm down. There is a lot of excitement because it is opening night.
AS: What was your favorite part about being in the Inclusive Theatre Company this year?
Caroline: I was glad a lot of new people came into the Company, and other people returned from last year and one from the year before. It’s really fun working with everybody.
Also, cast parties are really fun!
AS: What is the most challenging thing about being in the Inclusive Theatre Company?
Caroline: What’s hard for me is I have to memorize the lines and match my partner for the pantomime. When we had the brush up rehearsal before the second weekend, my partner was late so Music Mike stepped in to say her line and I was caught off guard and I broke (out of character) and started laughing and it was really funny. We break (out of character) and laugh, then we focus again.
My Director helps me work out how each line is supposed to sound when I say it, or if I should say it another way. It takes me a while to work it out. I try to work through how the character would say it, and the body language. I try it different ways in each rehearsal until I finally feel like I have it for the show. I don’t mind challenge. It helps me work harder for a better result. It helps me try to make the acting of the character a little more realistic.