“Don’t be afraid to jump in and see everything.” Sage advice from Lisa Carr, this year’s Gary Lee Maker Audience Award honoree, who will receive her award at the September 28th performance of Brave Spirits’ Anthony and Cleopatra.
Lisa was born in Ireland, and her family moved to the United States when she was three, settling in suburban New York, bringing with them a love of theater. “My mother was a big theater fan. What I remember seeing most was the Paperbag Players at the Emelin Theater in Mamaroneck. And then in elementary school, we did trips to Broadway all the time.”
Lisa was bit by both the audience and performance bugs. “My younger brother and I used to have song and dance routines. At family reunions all the kids would put on shows.”
Kind of like the Barrymores?
“Yes, just like that,” said Lisa, “the Barrymores without talent.”
Did you do any theater in high school?
“Badly, yes. I would inevitably be cast in the chorus. Like in Bye Bye Birdie, I would be in the background in a poodle skirt. I can’t sing. I can’t dance.”
Lisa discovered her true calling as an audience member. “I’m much better at being an audience,” she confided. And what an audience she is. Not counting the 30 to 60 Capital Fringe shows she sees every year, Lisa attends about 150 shows a year. And those are mostly DC shows. Though she’ll catch a show if she’s in New York, Lisa is a devoted fan of DC theater.
“One of the things I think is wonderful is just the huge range of stories I get to see. Hugely innovative types of storytelling here.” She relishes the “interactive, vibrant, engaging theatrical community” in this area. “There’s lots to see here.”
Join us for the presentation of the 2016 Gary Maker Audience award:
Wednesday, September 28 at 7:45 before the start of Brave Spirits’ Anthony and Cleopatra at The Lab of the Convergence, 1819 N. Quaker Lane, Alexandria, VA Details and tickets.
Lisa loves interactive theater, but not because of her experiences performing as a child.
Rather it’s because, “when people get you engaged in the story, and make you feel like you want to be part of an interactive theater, it uses different parts of your brain. Sitting passively in the audience is not as exciting as being involved with the show, feeling like you have some stake in it. It’s not just sitting in the audience. It’s being a member of the community. Mostly, it’s fun.”
Lisa primarily supports small theaters. “A donation to a small theater makes a tangible difference. And a lot of the small companies that we have here in DC are doing some of the theater that I’m most excited about.”
Lisa moved to DC 21 years ago and at first would see a few plays here and there. At that time, she didn’t know “where a lot of the cool and experimental things were happening. But then I went to the first Capital Fringe Festival.”
“This is amazing. This is what I always wanted to have in DC. I went to about 25 or 30 shows and didn’t stop from there. I started seeing hundreds and hundreds of shows a year. How I found what I really really like was by checking out every darn show that I could find in the area. I am thrilled by the variety of theater we have here in DC.”
Lisa works for a global PR company. PR does have some connection with the theater. “PR, at its best, is about telling a story in an engaging and creative way that gets to truths about things but finding a way to tell it that makes people understand it.”
What do you do when you’re not going to the theater?
“I go to the theater more.”
Do you have a life other than theater or work?
“No,” she laughed
Lisa was touched and flattered when she heard she won the Maker Award and is especially grateful to Charlene Smith of Brave Spirits who nominated her.
“I’m delighted by the theater community. One of the things that’s been great in seeing shows is getting to know the artists, getting to know the people who are working behind the scenes, and learning what it takes to create theater. It’s been fun. There’s a lot of great people making great art.”
Thank you, Lisa Carr, for perfecting the art of being an audience.