Gum-Dip Theatre is based in Akron. The theatre company’s mission is to celebrate community identity in the Rust Belt. Katie Beck, Tessa Gaffney, and Josy Jones spoke on behalf of the company. The group will be performing “My North Hill” at Wandering Aesthetics’ “Bigger Than a Breadbox: Akron’s Legends of Tomorrow” on Saturday, November 17.
Describe your legend: In the far future, what will people say about you?
Katie: She was tall, emotional, and brave. May her wild hair and strong heart be forever remembered.
Tessa: A tangled web of contradictions in the form of a human.
Josy: That I had a strange laugh and that I always seemed to be accessible and inaccessible all at once.
Who/ are the legends that influence(d) you as a performer?
Katie: As a performer? Gwen Stefani, Beyonce, and Lady Gaga. As a director, I was once told by a professional that I worked with: “the only way to be a director is by creating your own work regardless of resources.”
Tessa: Strong, authentic, brilliant women who share both their stories and talents unapologetically, such as: Cheryl Strayed, Rachel Bloom, Beyonce, Mindy Kaling, Regina Spektor, Ariana Grande, Samantha Bee, and Lidia Yuknavitch– just to name a few!
Josy: My mentor Jan Lewis really inspired me to just do what I want, without limits. Any woman or person of color I meet, who creates, inspires me.
What is your artistic origin story?
Katie: Born of water, Katie emerged a sensitive but powerful force.
Tessa: I took a music class in which we sang “Seasons of Love” from “RENT”. I borrowed the soundtrack from the library, and moved on to all the other Broadway soundtracks available there. Later on, I got the chance to perform in “RENT” at a community theatre. I never looked back.
Josy: I never thought I’d be a performer or a director or a writer. I was going to be a stagehand. Life said otherwise.
Describe your superhero costume.
Katie: Something flowy and black with stiletto boots.
Tessa: My superhero costume is a comfortable yet fashionable body suit in all black.
Josy: I’d be nude. With a cape to protect against the wind chill.
Who is your arch nemesis?
Tessa: That would be my FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).
Josy: Ostriches, Emu, and any of those other big ass birds who think they want a piece of my fury.
Tell us about the “My North Hill” performance.
Katie: “My North Hill” is a short play that condenses the action to one small stage. The script was created from transcripts of four story circles conducted in cooperation with the International Institute of Akron and Exchange House Akron. The idea of the play is to create conversations by sharing stories of personal experience in order to more effectively manage racial tensions and celebrate ethnic diversity.
How did you pick the name Gum-Dip Theatre?
Katie: Gum dipping was a process used by the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company that made their tires blowout-proof. In much the same way, we hope to strengthen community through our own processes. We’re reclaiming the name as a nod to the industrial history of the Rust Belt.
Join Wandering Aesthetics for another rendition of Bigger Than A Breadbox, Akron’s rousing variety show.
“Akron’s Legends of Tomorrow”, the third #AkronBreadbox production, features a diverse array of artistic talent as they explore legends in Akron, from past to present.
This live vaudeville performance explores Akron’s cultural heritage and celebrates those artists who work to preserve it.
Featuring music, comedy, poetry, art (and a few surprises), this variety show has something for everyone!
“Bigger Than a Breadbox: Akron’s Legends of Tomorrow” takes place on Saturday, November 17 at Bricco Prime (4315 Manchester Road, Akron) in Portage Lakes. Tickets are $20 per person or $30 for two and are available at https://www.watheatre.com/boxoffice.