ARTS & CULTURE
Photo Courtesy of Jackera Davis
Jackera Davis plays the role of Girl Scout and understudies for the character of Lydia Deetz. Davis is a recent graduate of Sam Houston State University with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts specializing in musical theater. The talented young actress is now on her national tour debut. On her way to Tulsa, she was interviewed about her role, being a part of a Broadway production, and traveling the country.
Below are questions and answers from Davis provided to the TCC Connection and The Oklahoma Eagle.
Can you share about your background and how you decided to pursue a career in Theatre?
I got my start in church, always involved with church Christmas plays and the children’s choir. However, my very first musical was in freshman year of high school. I remember forging my mother’s signature to stay after school to audition for “Alice in Wonderland.” I had never sung in front of my family let alone a group of my peers alone. I ended up getting the role of Alice.
Can you explain the audition process for “Beetlejuice”? What was your reaction when you got the role?
My audition process started with a self-tape because I was still living in Texas, having just graduated from college with my BFA. I also did my first callback on Zoom as well and from there they flew me out for the final callback, and I found out I got the job about a week later. I was completely over the moon, and I feel so blessed and lucky.
How do you prepare for the role of the Girl Scout and as the understudy for Lydia? Did you draw inspiration from personal experiences or other sources?
Although I am not 10 years old, I actually can find lots of similarities between the Girl Scout (character) and myself. Like her bubbly personality and humor. Lydia as well has so many relatable qualities, like her vulnerability and her lack of being apologetic for who she is.
What do you find most challenging about your character, and how did you overcome those challenges?
The Girl Scout’s physicality married with her humor was challenging but makes the character all the more fun to play!
Are there any standout moments or scenes in “Beetlejuice” that you are particularly excited about or find personally meaningful?
I always enjoy my time on stage. However, I find the most joy when I get to pop in as an understudy to play Lydia. It keeps everything new and fresh, and I love a good challenge.
How do you prepare mentally and emotionally before going on stage?
By listening to my favorite music to get me pumped before a show!
Can you share any interesting behind-the-scenes stories from the rehearsal or production process?
Probably not the most interesting but seeing my Lydia wig for the first time was magical! As the first black Lydia I was so nervous but excited to be that sort of representation, and when that natural curly wig was presented, it made it all the more real!
What messages or themes do you hope the audience will take away from this play?
Determination, grief, and finding humor in dark circumstances.
As an actor, how do you balance your individual creative input with the director’s vision for the play?
Theatre is so unique in that it truly is a collaboration in all aspects to get the show up and running. These creatives especially were good about allowing us to bring aspects and bits that we organically brought to our characters and (they) just built us up from there.
What do you do to have fun or as an escape from the demanding work of acting?
I really try to focus on maintaining my hobbies! I love finding new music, journaling, crocheting, going on hikes, thrifting etc.
Touring can be a demanding lifestyle. How do you manage the challenges of being on the road, both personally and professionally?
Just making sure I prioritize self-care whenever I can!
As an actor on tour, you are away from home for an extended period. How do you make each new city feel like a temporary home?
Moving from city to city every week can make it difficult to feel like you’re home so I kind of treat each city like a new vacation spot or adventure. I love finding new coffee spots, doing tourist things, and trying new foods.
What advice would you give to aspiring actors who are inspired by your work and want to pursue a career in theater?
Keep working at it! And never stop trying to find ways to learn more about what you enjoy doing!
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers?
Come see our show for a good cry! Whether you’re laughing or genuinely crying!