Will actress be brought to her sneeze by Troika role?
Julia Frith is set to play a French feather duster in Troika Bermuda's upcoming production.
Her problem with the role? She's allergic to feathers.
Time will tell how well the 18-year-old copes — she takes to the stage as Babette in Troika Bermuda's production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast next month.
“I haven't rehearsed yet in my costume, but it's made of feathers and I have a little bit of an allergy to feathers,” she said.
“I am probably going to make myself sneeze all the time, so I'm hoping I can control my body's reaction to that.”
The production runs from August 28 to 30 at the Ruth Seaton James Centre for the Performing Arts at CedarBridge Academy. Directed by Steven Huntsman, with choreography by Eric Bean, Jr, the play aims to transport audiences to the heart of French provincial life where an unlikely love story between the book-smart Belle and temperamental Beast unfolds.
Miss Frith has become pretty adept at mastering foreign accents after being cast as an Italian girl in last year's Troika production of Bermuda Glee.
For the role of Babette the teenager had to brush up on some of her high school French by looking through old notes and listening to foreign language tapes.
“I also like to listen to French music because you really get a feel for the accent in the songs,” the budding actress explained.
“There is a lot of background work that goes into it. A lot of people think you get up there on stage and wing it, but I did a lot to prepare myself to step into this role. “Actors have to do research to create a real foundation so the character doesn't feel flat, like they are empty. When you meet a person on the street you can tell they have had life experiences and have a personality. Characters on stage need to be the same way.”
Miss Frith happens to come from a family of entertainers. Her grandfather is puppeteer Michael Frith, the creator of Fraggle Rock, a television show in the 1980s, which was inspired in part by Bermuda.
“The line of Friths that I come from are involved with the muppets so my grandparents have worked for Dr Seuss and Jim Henson as well,” she told The Royal Gazette.
“Acting and the performing arts have been in my blood since I was born.
“My parents really encouraged me growing up to keep doing what I love. And over the past couple of years I have been taking bigger steps to get into theatre and build up my stage experience.”
Her plan is to first develop her own career in the arts and get experience overseas, before returning to Bermuda where she hopes to teach young people what she has learned. She is preparing to study drama at Julliard next year.
So far she has enjoyed having the chance to act a little “silly” on stage in the role of candlestick Lumière's love interest.
“It's not every day you can go on stage and work to make an inanimate object believable,” she said.
Another reward has been sharing in the experience with other young people passionate about music, theatre and dance.
“I have found so much love and encouragement with the team here at Troika,” she said. “You feel like you are part of a family and are learning, growing together and sharing this experience.”