Gabriel Firmo: Oh, welcome to the State Of The Arts podcast by two idiots on NBN. My name is Gabriel Firmo. And I'm Lucas Bezerra. And this podcast is kind of hard to describe. We are both—
Lucas Bezerra: Pitch it like you pitched it to me.
Gabriel: Yeah, we're both artsy people on NU campus. Yep. Self, self determined artsy people—to be verified.
Lucas: Our authority on this is nil.
Gabriel: Yeah. And I pitched it to Lucas just being like talking essentially, to the artsy people we find interesting on campus and also just talking about being an amateur at this level and college artists and you're right about to be at the level where you are doing something super serious, but you're also not quite there yet. Most of the time.
Lucas: A little bit of a round table just discussion about arts, you know?
Gabriel: Yeah. And by no means do we pretend to be experts, right? We're not, but we are enthusiasts, I'd say. So like, we're not trying to talk about like, "Oh, this is how you do it." "That's how you make it." "This is what's important." "This is what isn't," that sort of those kind of tired questions. We mostly just want to have fun talking to interesting and exciting people about interesting and exciting stuff. So that's, that's the goal, right?
Lucas: Yeah. For this first episode. We'd usually be starting with a question about creativity, about the arts in general. But we're going to just tell you a little bit about ourselves started with that.
Gabriel: You want to start?
Lucas: Sure. So I'm Lucas, I'm a freshman here at NU. I'm a philosophy major, which I guess I could say, puts me on about the same job prospects as if I were not in college and doing something artsy like selling paintings on the beach. I did theater most of my life. I love music. I do music too. And really, I definitely stick to what most people would call like an amateur artist, even on campus like I'm not in Bienen. I'm not in the theater program. I'm just, I just do things because I think they're fun.
Gabriel: Yeah. I mean, That's—
Lucas: That's what we're here for.
Gabriel: At this point. No one's doing it for the money. So yeah, you're doing it because it's fun. Or to put it on a resume.
Lucas: Yes. How about you?
Gabriel: So I am Gabriel. I am a Computer Science/English/Korean, some sort of major and minor combination of those three things. So like in terms of art, it's like complicated. I have my finger-fingers in a lot of pots, right? Like I am interested in game design. And I am a writer, like I write a bunch of short stories, not just for class, but I've been trying to send them into like publications and that stuff. I do amateur voice acting on the side, I do this podcast now. Like, I try to do a whole lot of everything. And I'm not amazing at any particular one. But like, this is one of the reasons we were excited about the show where it's like, we're going to be talking hopefully to, you know, theatre kids. Yeah, like amazing theatre kids, on campus, amazing dancers, amazing singers. Amazing-you know, we're trying to capture the whole gamut of like, the arts experience at Northwestern like being a bit like being a jack of all trades myself, I'm super excited.
Lucas: Yeah, I'm stoked for this. I think our first guest is going to be great. I mean, yeah, I'm excited for her because she comes from my area, you know, theater. Yeah. And I just want to talk to her about that. So do you want to tell them who she is?
Gabriel: We're going to be talking to Duda Ramos who is a, another Brazilian on campus. We are both Brazilians. She's an Econ and CS major, but she's kind of like been in theatre for like a lot of her life. She's done semi professional to like full professional theatre and is now—
Lucas: In Brazil?
Gabriel: Yeah, in Brazil, and is now you know, at Northwestern producing for Waa Mu. So like, she's kind of been all over in terms of like the theater spectrum there and back again, kind of like The Hobbit. So she's, she's fascinating. And so she's our first guest. So actually, we'll just turn that interview now. Let's go for it. Yeah.
Lucas: Alright, so this is our first guest Duda Ramos.
Duda Ramos: Hello.
Lucas: We're going to talk to her a little bit about theater and the other theatrical performance stuff that she does.
Gabriel: Yeah. And before we just get into like our proper first question, would you like to introduce yourself, like tell us what fun artsy shit are you doing?
Duda: Okay, so my name is Duda Ramos, also known as Maria Ramos around campus. I'm Econ and CS, but I am involved right now in Waa Mu in assistant production management along with Lucas here, right side and yeah, that's like the first thing I actually let myself do that's artistic, just Waa Mu.
Gabriel: And, you would say like in terms of it's not just like theatre and acting that you do. You are-you sing, like what are areas just in general, not just on Northwestern, like what do you do?
Duda: I guess like all performers, like musical theatre performance would have to be like really good at singing, dancing and acting. Dancing is definitely my weak spot. Like I'm not much of a dancer, but I did do a lot of acting like I did theatre school at A Escola de Atores Wolf Maya, which is like School of Actors Wolf Maya in Brazil and some other theater courses. Also for singing I did a lot of musical theatre and opera singing
Lucas: Awesome, so we know you, we know that you—in Brazil—you were in professional productions. So I guess we wanted to start off with, tell us a little bit about what it's like to leave that sort of professional world of the arts and go back into the amateur world.
Duda: Yeah, so I got into theatre, I guess it's like been basically a lot of my life because I got into it when I was 16. I had my first professional job. I was called for a theatre production called 33 Variations. A year after that, I got called for the Brazilian version of Promises, Promises, and then I was touring Rio and São Paulo, and that was like right before coming here.
Gabriel: Oh, that was right before coming here?
Duda: Yeah, it was from January to March.
Gabriel: And what actually did you start? How young were you when you started like doing theatre stuff?
Duda: When I really wanted to start this, I was like, 13, 14 it was the first time I like saw Phantom of the Opera in London, and I fell in love. So I just, like, started doing a lot of singing classes and trying to do dancing glasses, but basically focused on singing and then yeah, and then I got into that acting school. So, it was just like my whole life for a long time was just focused around wanting to be on Broadway and wanting to be a musical theatre person. And then all of a sudden, then I just came here and started doing economics. So life changes a lot.
Lucas: Talk me through, like, grappling with that sort of, going where you think your life has to go and where you want to go.
Duda: It's kind of funny, it's because like, in my college essays coming to Northwestern, I was always writing like, "Oh, I'm really excited to find a balance between econ and theater." Because even like, performing and doing things I kind of miss a little bit of, like, the studying part and just like doing math equations and stuff like that, it seems very, very weird but—
Lucas: Can't relate.
Gabriel: I have never once been like, writing something and gone "Man, I wish this was a math equation. Like, if this was an integral my life would be better," like that is not—
Duda: It's the general feeling of like, at the same time you kind of like I don't know, I feel very weird about it. It's just, I've always been like doing both things and I know that one day that won't work out. Like I can't, I can't do both for the rest of my life. It's almost be like a child's dream being like, "Oh, I'm gonna be an economist and musical performer." No, that's not gonna happen.
Gabriel: Yeah, kind of a rough, rough mix.
Duda: No, I mean, you can. If you do then it's usually more stuff like you get into the production part which is a little bit of both.
Gabriel: Yeah, it does. It reminds me a little bit of a—she was an actress on—I haven't even watched The Big Bang Theory, but I know of her story, because she's like, She's was a neurobiologist first or something like that. She had like a PhD. And it was like you very rarely hear—because it's such an all-in career. You rarely ever hear of someone being like, "Yeah, I mean, you know, I act most of the time. But on the side, I studied neurobiology," you're like, wait, sorry, what?
Duda: It's actually like a quote and—
Gabriel: You want to swing that with Econ. Sorry, I interrupted you.
Lucas: And is in our DNA, you know.
Duda: Um, there's a quote by a really famous Brazilian actress called Fernanda Montenegro, which she says that it's kind of funny because, I guess you hear a lot of actors becoming economists and lawyers and having degrees like that, but they always come back. It's almost, I feel like that emptiness where it's like you're missing something, you're missing a part of it, and you kind of end up where you were before.
Gabriel: So you think it's kind of like a predestination like you can try to escape it, but—
Duda: I think so. I'm still going to try to figure that out. Because like, I really like Econ, and I'm really—I was actually nervous getting to here it was like, "Oh, am I gonna like it? Am I going to always feel like I should be acting, but actually, I'm just doing this." But I actually am liking econ and my classes. So it's gonna be, it's very complicated right now what I'm feeling but—
Gabriel: I mean, the way you described it, it's a little sinister. Like, you can try to get away but—
Lucas: The theatre is gonna pull you back. I mean, it's true. It's very much true. I, I came in here, I guess, with very much the same thought that you did, which is I'm going to keep doing balancing theater and philosophy or whatever else I decide to do with my life. But I just feel it, you know, tugging it's kind of this, this very weird feeling.
Gabriel: It's very Eldritch Horror.
Lucas: Yeah, yeah. Now, now we're working together in Waa Mu. And I just know that like when it comes to winter quarter and we have a cast, and then we start rehearsals in spring. I'm like, man, I really miss doing that. You know?
Duda: Exactly. I feel it's almost like a first love kind of thing. Yeah, like it's your first crush, your first love and then it's your first heartbreak. And then I don't know, you kind of never forget it. So it's really really hard to get over.
Lucas: I think the way it kind of snowballs is that you start doing one thing and you start with, like, production management.
Lucas: And then you start seeing rehearsal and you're like, Oh my god, I really miss doing that. And then you do it again. And then you just keep going. And then somehow you find yourself doing it entirely, you know?
Gabriel: Just acting again? Like you're relapsing?
Duda: I feel like everything sums up to like, almost everything is the same, but you need to find stuff that you're passionate about. And then it just depends on like, what you fall in love with at the time? Maybe that's just like, romanticizing my life decisions, but, y'know.
Gabriel: You gotta justify them somehow.
Lucas: Okay, let me bring you down to earth a little bit. Econ here at Northwestern sort of the stereotype is like, oh, you go into consulting. Yeah, you know. And I think if we look at that career and acting, those are probably like the two, among the two most cutthroat businesses that you can get into.
Duda: That's true.
Lucas: So talk to me about that.
Duda: Actually, I did work with consulting, like this summer. And I found that it's like, honestly, it's one of the best ways you can come together with the stuff you like, and also the econ world because, in consulting you can like you go into so many different cases about so many different things that you can grab onto experiences you had before and bring it to somewhere else.
Gabriel: Yeah, you can just be all over the place.
Duda: Which is like, which works for me because I think that the "and is in our DNA" thing is kind of funny, but yeah, but I mean, it's true. Like I really like how here I can have the liberty of having both sides of me and not feeling weird about it. Like I have to choose one. Eventually I kind of will, but I feel happy right now being able to express them both.
Lucas: Tell us about auditions. I mean, I've never been in an audition. I don't know if you've been in audition.
Gabriel: I only do voice auditions like I'm not, I'm not there with the person. The great thing about voice acting and wanting to do voice acting is for, especially for amateur projects, I just send them a link and they go "Cool, we like it" or you never get a response. But you don't get ,you don't get nos. You just get complete radio silence.
Duda: Oh yeah, that's auditions. But I've auditioned for a lot of productions and I've gotten callbacks before but I've actually never landed a role like, all my other productions I was either...well that's a lie. No wait I take that back. Yeah. Because my first—
Gabriel: "No wait, I'm brilliant."
Duda: No, stop. No, my first theatre, my first audition I remember you had to sing something I don't remember now. I think it was just like a vocal test or something that they made us sing
Gabriel: So just like scales?
Duda: Cause it was more about—because like my first production the way it was, it was like, we would sing at the end. I think it was, yeah. One of Beethoven's songs, which was called "Kyrie Eleison."
Gabriel: I'm gonna chime in with a "No". No idea what that is.
Duda: I do really well in vocal warm ups because I'm a soprano. So, yeah, they really liked it. I remember them calling my name. And I was like, I smiled from cheek to cheek. I remember one of the actors who was working with me, like, didn't even know me at the time was like, "I was so happy you got in because you were so happy." And I feel like auditions are like that either you're just bursting with emotions or you're really sad, but—
Lucas: Or you're completely destitute.
Gabriel: Yeah, its gotta be rough.
Lucas: There's a metaphor for life in there somewhere. I don't know if I fully get it. But—
Duda: One thing you definitely learn how to do is like, lead with rejection. I think that's one of the most important things I've learned for jobs and everything from that.
Gabriel: Yeah, I mean, there's also this think—I mean, I'm not in the theater world. But there is this sense like I'm big into I'm into fiction, I write. And so this thing is like, it can be just a character thing. It's not like "you're a bad actor, so you didn't get it." There's a lot of, especially if it's an original thing and you're talking to the person who wrote it and now like a casting team 200 years after, there's really a sense of this person has really an image and you could take you could have a take on that character. That's like valid, interesting and cool, but it isn't what they exactly had in their mind — that's a hard guessing game to play, right? Like, there's no way for you to know that.
Lucas: I mean, in Brazilian theatre, there's this expression for like, having the lines fit the mouth of the actor. It has to be, like, right for that person. I think. Usually, sometimes that falls through. Like you have someone who wasn't particularly right for that part. But I think that's the beauty of theatre is you find the parts that really speak you to you. You find the parts that speak to you. And that's what actually shines through.
Gabriel: Yeah. And there's, for example, there's this website online where I think—it's a crazy policy—I don't really use this website. But, it's for auditions for voice acting stuff. The policy is, you--literally all previous auditions are public. So you can hear the really different takes that people have right? Like, you'll get like two lines of description of this is the kind of voice, this is the kind of place, this is the kind of character, because some of these projects are A.) Undeveloped or B.) Really unannounced. And you'll get, someone will take, not necessarily their accent but they'll do an accent. Or someone will take an entirely different tonality and voice to them. Yeah, that's that's one of the things that has made me realize, from what I understand from theatre auditions and based on like what I've seen and talked to friends, you're not in the room while other people are auditioning necessarily, right?
Duda: Absolutely not. Yeah, like not at all. I've had that one time, and it was because there wasn't enough time. So they made us like do vocal warm ups and they made three people stay. Yeah. Which is rough.
Gabriel: And I mean usually that means you come in being like, I hope my read is good, right? Like, oh, cool I am playing this person as super kind of up in the air and not super focused and they're kind of--and then you arrive and they wanted someone who's totally different.
Duda: The way at least that Brazilian auditions work. The ones I've been to are like, unless you're called for a specific role. It's open call. So like,
Gabriel: So they'll fit you to the—
Duda: They'll fit you to a character. But at the same—
Lucas: Like generals.
Duda: Yeah, exactly. But, like, the thing is, the thing that's complicated is, you can't sing something that the character would sing, like an actual song from the thing, because then they have their own artistic vision. And then you might not be able to, like they know super well about it. So if you're singing something, you're risking, like, "Oh, we actually wanted it this way."
Gabriel: So you almost want to do something that's kind of divorced from a specific role so that they can fit you in. You want to give them something that they can work in somewhere.
Duda: Exactly. Like if you want, you have to pick something similar, but you can't pick something that is from it.
Gabriel: That's really different, I mean, it's very different industries. But, I'm just thinking of voice acting in terms of like, you have a voice. You're you're auditioning for a character, they give you the lines — you're doing for this or for like a commercial, right?
Duda: But that depends on like...after a while, I got so into the industry. Like I was here in spring and I got called to an audition in Brazil, like, they wanted me to audition for a role.
Lucas: Big shot.
Gabriel: That is cool. Yeah, big shot.
Lucas: I love it. I respect it.
Duda: And I had to send an email like, "I'm sorry, I'm studying. Outside in the United States. I'm in college right now. I can't."
Lucas: Did you feel the tug? Was it like pulling you by your hair?
Duda: To be honest, yes. Because it was like one of the main roles.
Gabriel: Yeah, oh, man. Yeah.
Duda: But um, yeah, then you would read for a character, then you would have probably--they'll teach you a song. One thing that I did that I really loved was, I auditioned for Phantom and then I got a call back. So they called me to audition for Christine in Brazil, and then they would actually, you know, they would, they would give me, like, material to read with.
Gabriel: All these name drops...
Duda: Stop, why'd you call me on the show? [Laughter]
Gabriel: No, I mean, I think the reaction is because like, I'm shocked, it's like a cool thing. I'm like, man...
Duda: Welcome to my life. Yeah, no, it's not like that anymore.
Gabriel: Now someone calls your name and you're not thinking of it. It's like, "Oh, God, I turned in something late."
Duda: Yeah, like I live the life of Hannah Montana, now I'm just Miley Cyrus.
Gabriel and Lucas: [Laughter]
Gabriel: Alright, so we should probably—
Lucas: We should do our last little segment where we want you to plug something on campus. It could be a person, it could be a program, it could be something was happening this week or next week when we're going to be putting this out. What's the coolest, artsy, kind of different thing that maybe people haven't heard about that you think is happening on campus.
Duda: So I don't know if this is, people haven't heard about it, but there's gonna be Fun Home.
Gabriel: I've not heard about it?
Lucas: You haven't? Ok.
Duda: It's November 8th, and it's the Wirtz fall production and one of our co-chairs is starring in it and Emma. She said, it's amazing like, it'll bring you to tears.
Gabriel: What's it about? I really know nothing about this.
Lucas: I have no idea what it's about either.
Duda: I'm not sure of the story, but I remember that. It was like, at the time that it was created. It was like one of those big, you know, like, Tony, things like everyone. It was a lot of buzz about it.
Gabriel: Oh, cool. Yeah. Well, I mean, I guess we'll have to go watch that. That sounds cool.
Lucas: All right. Interesting. So you heard about it here first or not?
Gabriel: Probably, probably not. I heard about it here first.
Lucas: Gabriel did. So thanks. Thanks Duda
Gabriel: Yeah. Thanks for coming in.
Duda: Great, thank you guys.
Gabriel: That was a really fun conversation. Thanks.
Lucas: Thank you.
Duda: Thank you.