A fairy tale
Photos and Story by James Hill
For Juliet Marks, her latest role is kind of like slipping on a glass slipper.
“This is kind of a Cinderella-ish role,” Marks said. “I’ve always been so obsessed with Cinderella.”
She came close to realizing that fairy-tale dream this time. Marks, a 20-year-old PCC student, portrays the title character in the fairy tale “Swanwhite,” the latest offering from the PCC Theatre Arts department.
In the dramatic play, Swanwhite is the embodiment of all things pure: beauty, love, innocence and optimism. She is a young princess betrothed to a prince in a faraway land, but must deal with her evil stepmother as she falls in love with another.
Marks said it’s a story of enduring love for people of all ages.
“That’s kind of the major idea of the show, sort of a love-conquers-all,’’ she said. “… It doesn’t matter what obstacles come across because you can figure how to get by them somehow.”
Luckily, theater-goers don’t need to worry too much about obstacles in their own schedule — a flexible slate of performances means plenty of opportunities to see “Swanwhite.”
Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m. on May 10, 12 and 19, with a matinee May 20 at 2 p.m. The cast will also perform two matinees on Fridays at noon: first a free Art Beat matinee on May 11, then a special discounted performance for middle and high schools on May 18.
All performances are at the Performing Arts Center at the Sylvania Campus. Prices are $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors, and a group rate of $5 per person.
It’s affordable quality theater, Marks said. Written by August Strindberg as a wedding present for his wife, “Swanwhite” isn’t a play with a traditional linear plot.
“Character development and plot points take kind of second stage to emotions, ideas, images, and poetry,” Marks said.
But that doesn’t make it unintelligible.
“It’s a really beautiful story,” Marks said. “It’s a lovely fairy tale. I think anyone would be able to go away with a feeling of hope, happiness, love.”
Meanwhile, Marks feels hopeful about her future. She came to PCC after graduating from Grant High School in Portland.
The second-year student played a leading role, Mary, in last fall’s play “The Children’s Hour” and appeared in a one-act play last spring.
She spoke glowingly of “Swanwhite” Director Michael Najjar, who she said cultivates a tremendous learning environment with his positive, approachable style.
“We’re all learning and we’re all growing with one another,” Marks said. “That’s why he’s really fantastic – because he facilitates that really well.”
Her time at PCC has given her real-world experience in the theater while focusing her future goals.
“I’ve had a lot of time to think and reflect about what path I wanted to take,” Marks said. “I find theater and acting to really be what I’m passionate about. I’ve clarified that with the work that I’ve done here.”
So, after finishing up her PCC classes this semester, she says she’ll start down the road toward a professional acting career, getting her headshots and resume together while she starts to think about finding an agent and looks around the country to find the best theater opportunities.
And maybe, someday, it’ll lead her from the namesake of “Swanwhite” to, well, her own Shakespearean namesake.
“I’ve never played Juliet,” Marks said. “I know that would be kind of cliché, but that would be really fantastic. I really love that character.”