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Comic relief - personified 

New Times You played Lady Macbeth in Fresno this year; very different from the Melodrama, no?

- FREAKIN’ HILARIOUS:  Twenty-four year old Hayley Galbraith’s performance as a hard-of-hearing maid brings to mind the character Flo from the television show Mel’s. So, don’t miss The Great American Melodrama’s Showdown At Slick Rock Ranch, showing through Sept. 20. So -  - IMAGE COURTESY OF GARY ADAMS
  • IMAGE COURTESY OF GARY ADAMS
  • FREAKIN’ HILARIOUS: Twenty-four year old Hayley Galbraith’s performance as a hard-of-hearing maid brings to mind the character Flo from the television show Mel’s. So, don’t miss The Great American Melodrama’s Showdown At Slick Rock Ranch, showing through Sept. 20. So
  Hayley Galbraith I had been doing the melodrama circuit for a while and I wanted to go back to some of that more classical material. Melodrama is older so you could call it classical, but sometimes you just miss that rich text from Shakespeare, or other monumental playwrights. That particular show was a weird one, since Lady Macbeth is supposed to be the devil; it’s a very strange interpretation, but it reminded me of melodrama. They [the plays] are essentially based in the same realm as melodrama. There are heightened stakes, you have a good guy and a bad guy, and you can play it to the extreme, and Lady Macbeth is a very extreme character.

New Times Tell me about your history with acting and theater?

Galbraith I started acting when I was in elementary school, doing a lot of community theater. I went to a particular middle school that had an improv program and to Roosevelt School of the Arts [high school] in Fresno. That shaped my future because I dove head first into all of that artistic culture. Then PCPA was a perfect hybrid for me. That is where I met Eric Hoit and that’s how I ended up with the Melodrama.

New Times I’ve seen you in many shows, and you mostly play the supporting character, am I wrong? Do you want to be a leading lady?

Galbraith A lot of times the heroines are the ingénues and I don’t quite fit that type. I am taller, and height is an issue. They always look for the guys to be taller and the girls to be smaller. I end up in more of the character roles, which is fine by me, because those are a little bit more fun. I do like leads, but I have more of the ham in me, and I’d rather play the crazy clown character that comes on stage and talks really loud and does silly things to the audience. It’s more rewarding that way.

New Times What are your thoughts on comic timing? You’re a standout on that stage, I must say. Where did this come from?

Galbraith It’s comic instinct. Some people have it. It is also learned. It’s performing in show after show. You come to understand what rhythm is and how audiences are generally going to respond, be it due to timing, or inflection, or intention. I would chalk mine up to watching tons of films when I was younger. I love all of the comedic women: Rosalind Russell, Madeline Kahn. I’m copying what I’ve seen them do.

New Times Are you constantly cracking up your family and friends? Are you a ham in real life, as well as on stage?

Galbraith Yes. I am a handful. I am a ham and a handful.

-  - IMAGE COURTESY OF GARY ADAMS
  • IMAGE COURTESY OF GARY ADAMS
New Times How do you multi-task like that on stage: lines, dance steps, costume changes, and keep it entertaining for us?

Galbraith It’s a split focus. You’ve got the constant feedback from the audience, and in that particular theater we are so close to the audience, and anything they’re doing has an effect on what’s happening on stage. The focus is learned—that is part of training. Training gets you out of your head. It’s just being in theater long enough to develop those skills, of multi-tasking, memorization, performance. The final ingredient, besides experience, is a passion for it. I’m so excited and stimulated by what I’m doing, it never feels like a chore to be focused.

New Times Who’s idea was the Carmen Miranda character?

Galbraith Eric [Hoit] had wanted to do a Carmen Miranda-esque character and he tossed it to me and I rented a couple of her movies. We pieced it together a couple of years ago and we revived it because it ended up being popular, I think, in large part because I’m wearing a headdress covered in bananas. But that’s just me.



Christy Heron’s new motto is “I don’t care.” Force feed her happy pills and vodka at cheron@newtimesslo.com.

 

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