Today we’d like to introduce you to Maria Baratta.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
My story started when I was in the 7th grade, and I was cast in my middle school’s production of Brigadoon. I wasn’t a complete stranger to performing up to this point. I danced from the time I was 3 1/2 and did yearly recitals, but to perform in the theatre and in a musical was a completely different experience. I can’t quite explain what transpired during that month of rehearsals, but I became completely immersed in the world of theatre, and it’s explainable magic. I loved the smell of the set as it was being created, the feel of that horrible theatrical pancake makeup on my face and the stage directions that so aptly guided us on our journey of storytelling. Stage left, stage right, upstage, downstage, center stage. It didn’t matter which direction, because I loved every part of that stage; and when the spotlight hit my face, and I felt the warmth of that light and saw the blackness before me, I knew that anything was possible. I got bit by the acting bug and got bit good! I would say theatre was my first love. As the years passed, it was obvious that it wasn’t a passing fancy, but rather a growing passion. I pursued my acting studies in Musical Theatre at NYU. I knew I had to be in New York City, the great mecca of the Theatre Gods. It’s there where I would learn, grow, and hopefully find my place in the world of performance theatre. Immediately after college, I was cast in my first regional production of Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding in Boston. One of New York City’s longest running off-broadway interactive shows. So I was off to be an actress in Bean Town. After the run, my desires took me back to New York, and there I continued trying to carve my place in the theatre world and eventually trying to make my way into some independent Film and TV work. As the story goes with many an actress, making a living as a performer was proving to be a challenge, and so the day job was there more often than not. Sometimes the hours were too demanding to run to every audition in town, and because of that, I was seeking a different way to tap into my creative juices. In the evenings after work, I started writing my first one-woman show, Vignettes of an I-talian American Girl. It was accepted into the New York International Fringe Festival, and then was hand-picked for a regional run at the Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury, CT. I was tickled pink at the outpouring of positive feedback for the show. I was beginning to tap into a new genre of performing and into the creative world of writing. I had always written spoken word poetry and reflective insights in my journal, but to write for the theatre was a first for me, and to be on stage for an hour and a half by myself was another first. It was clear from this point forward that I found a unique way of expressing my theatrical voice, and hoped to continue mining that new self-discovery.
Please tell us about your art.
I am an actress and writer. I specifically create solo show work. I found that this particular genre spoke to me on a visceral level, and allowed me to tap into all the characters and all the possibilities that can only exist in the world of theatre. It allows me to push my acting muscle to the nth degree. I consider myself a character actress, and being able to play 10-20 characters in one show is a friggin’ dream come true! I would say that I am a natural born storyteller, as well. Love telling a good story. Being able to express myself through my words and stories feels so empowering as an artist, even if it feels equally vulnerable and scary at the same time. I hope that with my art, I’m able to first and foremost entertain the masses. I want to make people laugh, and I want to make them feel good. There is so much heaviness in the world, and I’m hoping that my artistry will bring a little lightness to audiences, but always with a sense of poignancy. Humor is the vehicle of choice for me. It makes everything a bit more palatable or at least tries. Who doesn’t like laughing?! I want to take my audience on the journey with me as we each have our own experience during and within that story. Most importantly, I want to shake them up, inspire them, invoke them, and have them walk away with a different perspective or simply a perspective. Make them think a little, and hope that those moments in the show will linger in their thoughts until a few weeks later, it lands and shifts and reveals the truth in them or around them.
As an artist, how do you define success and what quality or characteristic do you feel is essential to success as an artist?
My definition of success as an artist has evolved and changed as much as I have evolved and changed over the years. I mean it would be nice to have a Tony award to crack my walnuts with, but I do feel it’s more important to be truthful to the message and story your creating and putting out into the Universe. After all, it’s our responsibility as artists to give voice to social issues, injustices, topics, subject matters that are not always talked about. By placing a spotlight on those stories, whether large or small; we are bringing those worlds to the surface to be seen and experienced where they may have otherwise been forgotten like yesterday’s news. If you can do that and do it truthfully through your craft, and find a way to bring that to audiences, to the masses, then you are a pretty successful artist; and if along the way you can make a consistent living doing that, even better and even sweeter.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I just finished a staged reading of my most recent one-woman show, “In Search of Maria Teresa” as part of The Women’s Cycle showcase at The Cell Theatre in New York City. The Women’s Cycle was an evening of works in progress written by women, directed by women, and performed by women. “In Search of Maria Teresa” examines a modern day woman having a mid-life crisis. Through the voices of 20 some odd characters, I take you on a journey into Modern Middleagedom where princes are obsolete, chocolate is the greatest commodity, and Yoni paintings or Steve Harvey could be the secret to female empowerment.
I’m in the process of moving the piece forward to a full staged production. You can support me by coming out to see my work, and sharing info with your friends, family, dentist, priest, rabbi, yoga instructor, therapist. I welcome an all encompassing audience!!
Also check out my most recent youtube video promoting “In Search of Maria Teresa” and The Women’s Cycle. It explains a little bit more about this journey, what it has meant to me, and what I hope to achieve with this solo show. Appreciate if you can take the time to like it and share with others. Thank you for visiting with me, and learning more about who I am. It’s been a real pleasure chatting it up. I’d like to end with one of my favorite quotes. “To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” ~ Joseph Chilton Pearce
Here’s to embracing our complete and incomplete, and fearlessly voicing our creativity to the world and beyond! Hope to see you at an upcoming show!! Much love and light! xo
- Website: www.maria-baratta.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maria Baratta – Actress and Writer