In this first part of a two-part episode, our host Abigail Wright sits down with playwright, actor, and personal trainer Tricia Alexandro to discuss the importance of family, her survival story, and how to work on happiness. More at http://www.patreon.com/peaceofpersistence.
Tricia is a native New Yorker. She studied creative writing and public speaking at Binghamton University, and, following college, moved to Los Angeles to study the Meisner Technique at Playhouse West Acting School. When she returned to New York, she studied scene study, script analysis and Shakespeare at The Barrow Group School with Seth Barrish and Lee Brock. She is a longtime member of the Barrow Groupʼs master class and has appeared in numerous productions at their theater, including two one-woman shows that she wrote. She also studied on-camera acting with Bob Krakower and attended The Manhattan Film Institute. She is a member of the Labyrinth Theater Companyʼs Intensive Ensemble. She has written two plays, both of which had readings at The Bank Street Theater, home of the Labyrinth Theater Company. In addition to her many film and theatre credits as an actor, Tricia performs her writing the third Sunday of every month at The Bowery Poetry Club as part of The Symphonics Live Show, hosted by Shawn Randall. She also performs her writing at the Naked Angels' Tuesdays at 9 monthly reading series. She's currently working on her next one-woman show – a compilation of monologues based on urban women – and she intends to perform it by early 2018.
Tricia's comedian brother, Ted Alexandro - http://tedalexandro.com/
Tricia Alexandro on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/tricia.alexandro
Tricia Alexandro on Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/trish.alexandro/
Tricia Alexandro's website (for anyone who wants to help manage it!) - http://www.triciaalexandro.com/
So - which came first, the scriptor or the ham? No, no, seriously - did you see yourself more as a writer or an actor growing up, or both?
Tricia says acting came first but didn't realize it could be more than a hobby until she graduated from college. She previously thought she'd be a teacher, like both of her parents. When she moved to LA, she gave herself the space permission to go after it, after struggling with her desire to be liked and have her parents approve of her choices.
How did it work out with your parents, were they supportive?
Tricia's brother paved the way for her when he decided to become a comedian, and her parents have been very supportive. His advice was also invaluable.
Is he still a comedian?
Yes - he opens for Jim Gaffagan, has been on the Letterman Show and with Conan O'Brien.
What's his name and how do we find him?
Ted Alexandro - find him at http://www.tedalexandro.com.
Does he live here? So you have that support.
Yes, he lives in Astoria, and she's so happy to be back to the east coast and to be able to see him all the time. When she moved back here, it initially felt like a failure to her, but that has changed a lot, and she's thrilled to have that support.
You're clearly very prolific as a writer and an actor, and you're constantly creating more content. What drives you the most in your work?
Absence. If Tricia sees that women, urban women, and minorities especially are under-represented, she feels a fire to right that wrong.
She comes from a family of stories and talks about the joy of watching her mother teach. Her mother was a religion and sex ed teacher who had a passion for staying and changing things within the catholic church. Tricia really admires people who recognize the need for change and work within institutions to change them. Her mother wrote letters to a catholic magazine called "The Bulletin" and taught her daughter that she has a voice and that it can be powerful. When she focuses on competition or winning awards, that cripples her. When she focuses on the joy of saying the important things that need to be said, then she can't wait to write.
What attracts you the most about the theatre experience?
Tricia says it's a high that you can't replicate anywhere else. There's an instant gratification and response, a communion that happens between the audience and the performers. It's a reminder that we're all actually connected, experienced in the moment, riding a wave of spirit and what feels like love to Tricia - "a hugeness that I don't experience anywhere else."
How can people find your upcoming shows?
Instagram or Facebook - see show links above.
Have you had any big obstacles that you've had to overcome, and what have you learned from those experiences?
Her earliest obstacles involved being a very sensitive person in a messy world that tries to compact sensitive people. Acting was her salvation, after having a bully in grammar school that toyed with her sense of self and made her believe she wasn't good enough. Tricia shares that she was raped by a guy in her acting class at 23, which was part of her unraveling. It forced her into intense suffering and caused her to burst through, coming out more fully herself and less afraid of owning her truth.
So you would say you're resilient? Yes.
So often, people who are happy have always been happy. Have you had to work on your happiness then?
Tricia tended more towards melancholy and thought it was just who she was. Her younger sister would wake up with a smile every morning, where Trish would feel overwhelming anxiety. She often felt like she wasn't in charge and didn't know what she was doing, not smart enough to make her own decisions.
How did you overcome that?
Therapy. Tricia is a willing student of life, open to many different modalities - including physical bodywork, hypnotherapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy, which has helped her to question the automatic thoughts and create the space between experience and reaction.
Thanks so much for joining us for part 1 of this amazing episode with Tricia Alexandro. Tune in next time when we'll talk about everything from swing dance to grit, to equality, happiness, success and so much more. She even tries to rename the show! Thanks for joining us, and thanks especially to Trish for a really wonderful interview.