Sit back, relax, and Take Ten with B’Ellana Duquesne, appearing in Charm at Mosaic Theater Company of DC through January 29. Having survived a decades-long day job, Duquesne now revels in bonding with her fellow actors, dreams of David Bowie, and advises young artists to “stay close” and be patient.
1) What was the first show you ever saw, and what impact did it have?
I saw Joel Grey in Cabaret on Broadway (I grew up in New York). My mom was an interior designer and had a lot of clients in show business. We were often “comped” tickets on Broadway.
2) What was your first involvement in a theatrical production?
After school, I spent a year in Bermuda at a resort entertainment complex managing tech for acts that performed there.
3) What’s your favorite play or musical, and why do you like it so much?
A Chorus Line for lots of reasons; great songs, backstage theatre setting, I saw it with my mom, and I like how the The T-Party used its theme. It really speaks to why performers do what they do.
4) What’s the worst day job you ever took?
I became a health insurance underwriter/administrator for thirty years.
5) What is your most embarrassing moment in the theatre?
Getting beat-up (staged) by a small woman promoting Chuck Norris’s Karate schools in Virginia Beach. I played an attacker and she used self-defense to protect herself. I spent a day getting kicked in the groin.
That’s easy; enjoying the chemistry among the cast members. The characters undergo bonding process as the play unfolds and I think a similar process has taken place with the cast during the production.
7) Other than your significant other, who’s your dream date (living or dead) and why?
David Bowie; He was so well versed on so many subjects, not just music. Plus, the androgyny factor is so sexy!
8) What is your dream role/job?
I think I’d make a great Morticia Addams (or Gomez for that matter).
9) If you could travel back in time, what famous production or performance would you choose to see?
Tough Question! Definitely the Globe but torn among Hamlet, Othello, and Romeo and Juliet.
10) What advice would you give to an 8-year-old smitten by theatre / for a graduating MFA student?
Stay close to performing. Even if life’s circumstances, like family, health, education, whatever, take you away from theater, stay close. Your time will come if you are patient.
B'ELLANA MARIE DUQUESNE: Her life as Jack Eng included stints as a radio broadcaster, WFL football player, businessman, and high school drama teacher. In 2012 she revealed a long hidden personality of B'Ellana Duquesne when serving as hostess at MoMos, a DC restaurant. The visibility at "Homos at MoMos" led to additional performing opportunities including a role in The T Party, written and directed by Natsu Onoda Power for Forum Theatre. B’Ellana is very excited to be working with Natsu again on Charm. While now living almost entirely in female mode, she believes that freedom of gender expression is essential to a happy life and defines herself as gender-fluid.