Lisa Danielle Buch is one of ten artists who make up National Players Tour 71. Currently, the Players are gearing up for three performances at the University of Central Arkansas before they travel to Iola, Kansas. While they traveled, I wanted to talk with Lisa about her roles on tour.
Where are you from?
I am originally from metro Detroit, Michigan, but I lived in New York City and then Athens, Ohio for grad school.
How did you decide you wanted to be a National Player?
I was really excited about working on three plays for an entire year. It’s a tremendous experience and an excellent opportunity to grow as an actor. It also sounded like such an adventure to be traveling all over the country and bringing theater to so many different types of audiences.
What roles do you play this season?
Rosalind in As You Like It
Mrs. Van Daan in The Diary of Anne Frank
Sugar/Mrs. Winterbottom in Walk Two Moons
What role do you play on the admin/technical side of the tour, and what are your duties?
I am on the electrics team, which means I load in and set up all the “practicals” (any and all of the floor lights as well as any lights on our set pieces). Then, I assist with the side lights, LEDs, and cabling. Tons of cabling. I also am the PR/Marketing manager for the tour, which means I manage the social media pages, coordinate any interviews when they come up, and send out press releases.
What has been the most rewarding part of the rehearsal or tour process?
Collaborating. Some of the stuff in our shows was developed through the rehearsal process and we are proud of that. Also, I love hearing the insightful questions that kids have during our talk backs. Lastly, getting to perform in incarceration facilities; they were our best audiences and asked the best questions. It has inspired me to want to do more.
What is your favorite scene to perform out of all three plays?
It’s a tie between the wooing tango scene in As You Like It, the blackberry scene with Sugar and Sal in Walk Two Moons, and the opening/closing movement sequences in The Diary of Anne Frank. I love hearing the kids go crazy with the intense beat of the music; it really sucks them in and is brilliant!
Do you have a memorable moment from the tour you would love to share with us, either on stage or off?
One of our audiences in the Fall leg resulted in a young person essentially “coming out” to their entire school. They appreciated and acknowledged the fact that we introduced ourselves with our preferred gender pronouns during the talkback, since they identify as gender non-binary. It was so brave, and we were touched by this young person’s courage. Another moment happened recently when we were in Newnan, Georgia. Someone sent a disgruntled message to the National Players accusing us of pushing “genderism” on students simply because we introduced ourselves with our preferred pronouns. I collaborated with a bunch of players to craft a response, using tools that we learned in our HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) training, which addresses dealing with racist/ignorant/non-inclusive comments. I was proud of our teamwork. These experiences felt like the sum of our ideals of this tour: spreading awareness and acceptance.