Tracy Jennissen is another rising actor to keep your eyes on! Originally from Canada, Tracy began her acting career performing improv at The Second City. Upon moving to New York, Tracy graduated from The Stella Adler Studio of Acting and has garnered recognition for her talent in various roles. Her theatrical credits include "Something Outrageous" (CXT Productions), "Brooklyn Bets Alexi" (BBA Productions), "Reality Sandwiches" (Kaleidescope Films), "The Woman" and "Top Girls" (Stella Adler). On film, Tracy has been seen in "In Memory of Days To Come," "Task Master," and "I Ate The Whole Thing."
Currently, Tracy can been seen as "Lady Macbeth" in The Beauitful Soup Theater Collective's production of "Macbeth" which will run from October 19-31 at Thirteenth Street Repertory Theater (50 West 13th Street, between 5th & 6th Avenue). Click here for tickets!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I'd love to regale you with an anecdote of inspiration but alas, I have nothing that classy to offer. When I started I wanted to be a writer and that eventually lead me to improv. I was training at The Second City in Toronto, focusing on improv, and I started getting cast in other projects. I suppose my inspiration came from a desire to get better. When I watched some of my first projects I quickly realized that I wasn't very good at filling the spaces in between the jokes. I decided that I needed more training. I moved to New York for a 10 week intensive course and once I got a taste, I never went home. Once I started acting, a whole world blossomed in front of me. I didn't take the most direct route but I never doubt that this is what I want to be doing.
2. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? That's a pretty long list. I started in improv, so I really love seeing people who can create on their feet. I think Jane Lynch would be pretty high on the list. So would Catherine O'Hara. The thought of trying to keep up with someone is always appealing.
3. What attracted you to "Macbeth" and what excites you most about playing "Lady Macbeth"? Lady Macbeth has been on my list of 'dream roles" for ages. When Steven Carl McCasland (Creative Director) offered it to me I agreed immediately. It wasn't until I started the work that I began deconstructing how immense she really is. (Insert sound of me saying, gulp, here). What I find the most compelling is that she is iconic as an evil woman or a caricaturized villain. The exciting part is making her a human. She is human, she's driven and she makes clear choices. Though she is extreme, in her mind, she is also justified. I find that exciting. Making Lady M a living breathing woman on a journey. A very bloody, murder laden journey.
Plus, who doesn't want to attempt saying 'Out damn spot' with a Canadian accent? It's a crowd pleaser!
4. What has been the best part about performing with The Beautiful Soup Theater Collective? Working with the same group of people on different productions has been an amazing experience. You become familiar with their strengths and weaknesses and they get to know yours. It sets the stage for growth because people know where to push you. They know what you're going to shy away from and they will call you on it.
It also throws a whole new perspective on type. Steven (Creative Director) is great at suggesting roles that I would never have considered for myself. That keeps you on your toes, always stretching and challenging yourself. For the love of God, I played a mime...A MIME!
Not something I would have necessarily circled in the ol'Backstage casting section, but Steven saw it and it really worked out well. Having that perspective has been one of the best parts of working with the collective.
5. What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show? Where is your favoirte place to rehearse/practice on your own? Rehearsing is like building, you get to see something grow. I love that. Watching the clunky, awkward beginning pieces turn into a living story within a few days. Having said that, nothing beats an audience. I don't care how much work I put into a role or how much rehearsal time I've had, the energy of an audience always creates a volatile atmosphere. It's a living thing. You adapt and change as it happens. The audience is the challenge, and you have to rise to the occasion.
6. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? What do you like about performing in Canada and NY? I've learned that there is a reason why the greater majority of humanity chooses a more traditional path in life, because it's a lot more comfortable. In every performance, rehearsal or even audition I feel the impulse in me to choose a more comfortable option. Turns out I loves me some comfort. Facing that and being open to the other side of myself, the less stable, scarier part is something I owe entirely to my growth as a performer. Just being aware of the instinct is a direct result of my being a performer. Behold, the magic of choosing to be an artist. Now, do you think I should I spend my last $3 on toilet paper or toothpaste? So many options.
I love New York, the life I have here as an actor isn't something I could sustain anywhere else. I feel that in any other city a fully ripened young-esque woman, such as myself, would have trouble justifying being heavily educated, deeply in debt and living like a 19 year old college student while maintaining 3 part time jobs to sustain my art. But not in NYC! I love you New York. I miss healthcare.
7. Favorite way to stay in shape? In shape!?! What the...uh, okay. We'll go with 'in shape'. I stay 'in shape' by seeing my trainer once a week, I bitch the whole time. THE WHOLE TIME! It's only for one hour a week and I literally become an 8 year old girl on her way to a piano lesson she hasn't practiced for. "Do I have to go, I'm not feeling well...I haven't felt good all day." It's not pretty. None of it is pretty. I like milkshakes!
8. Favorite skin care product? Favorite kind of shoes? I love Manuka honey for the face. Yes, I smear honey on my face for its rejuvenating properties. I file that detail in the 'Living the Dream' section of my life. I consider being able to buy beautiful, fine quality shoes as an arrival point. I, unfortunately, have yet to arrive. Sigh.
9. Favorite website? I spend a shockingly obscene amount of quality time with Netflix. Shockingly obscene amount!
10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Hmmmm, that's a lot of synthetic blue material for me to navigate around. I'm not really familiar with either. What?!? Don't judge me, I'm foreign. Although I know a Canadian created Superman so, I guess I'll choose him based on nationalistic responsibility. Although, I still feel that a more suitable question would be, which do you prefer; The Littlest Hobo or Louis la Loutre? No? No...You’re not familiar? Okay, what about; Mr. Dressup or Relic from the Beachcombers? Um, have I lost you? Never mind. Let's just skip this one.
11. What's the best advice you've ever received? I remember a very beautiful and very unhappy woman once telling me, 'Don't worry about making the wrong choice, what you will end up regretting will be the chances that you don't take.' Wow, how sage, I bet you're thinking. Where did I learn that? In 10th grade detention. I guess some more advice that I received was that arriving late to class and accidentally saying bullshit in front of the principal will lead you to some solid life lessons. These are all great pieces of advice. Really, I'm full of gems.
12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I had a dirty dream about an old scene study teacher just this week, I'd have that dream again in a second! The weird thing is, when I was working with him, I never found him attractive. I DO NOW! What does that mean? Where the hell is Freud when I need him?