Originally from Texas, Julie Dansby, head puppeteer for the Center for Puppetry Arts, now makes her home in East Point. Juggling her puppeteer duties with motherhood, Julie talks to echoflam.com about motherhood, Atlanta, and her character, the loveable and wise, Charlotte in the current production of Charlotte’s Web. Check her out:
1. How do you juggle being a performer and a mom? Both “jobs” keep pretty irregular hours.
It is not easy, but most of my rehearsals and performances happen during the day, since I’m primarily involved in Family Series shows. So I can usually be home with my daughter for the late afternoon, dinner and bedtime hours, which is important to me, and we use regular daycare during my work hours. If I am performing at night, my husband will watch her or we have several wonderful friends who agree to babysit from time to time. Occasionally my parents can visit and help out, but they live out of state–now that I’m a mom, I wish they were closer!
2. Can you relate to the character Charlotte? Do you see the character differently because you’re a mom?
I can definitely relate to Charlotte. She is a “motherly” sort of figure in the barnyard–very wise and has a calming influence. As a mom, I know I have to try to keep calm (even when I’m not exactly sure what to do) and try to figure out the wisest course of action, and I think Charlotte does that too. I use more of my natural voice for her–I don’t feel like I have to “put on” a character voice–and that makes her feel very close to myself, in a way. The last time I played Charlotte I was not yet a mother, and this time I am; I think one of the biggest differences between the two performances for me personally is when Charlotte refers to her egg sac as “the finest thing I’ve ever made.” I’m always thinking of my daughter when I say that now.
3. What advice would you give to moms who are thinking of getting back into the workforce?
That’s a tough one, because finding a job is so difficult in this current economy, but I would say try to figure out what you really feel rewarded by doing–what gives you inspiration or a sense of accomplishment or fulfillment–and search for work in that field. Whatever is going to take your time away from your family should be something you truly enjoy (or that pays really well!), otherwise you risk getting bored, resentful and unhappy. And life is too short for that!
4. What’s your favorite part of living in Atlanta?
I like the way that Atlanta has all the resources of a big city, but still feels like a “town” in a way (a good way). I love the way each neighborhood has it’s own personality.
5. What is your favorite child-friendly spot in Atlanta?
The Center for Puppetry Arts, of course (and I’d honestly say that even if I didn’t work there!)!
Charlotte’s Web is showing at the Center for Puppetry Arts’ Mainstage Theater through Oct 31, 2010
•Tues-Fri: 10am & 11:30am
•Sat: 11am, 1pm, & 3pm
•Sun: 1pm & 3pm
Cost: Single show tickets, include Create-A-Puppet Workshop and Museum, are required for everyone over 2 year old:
Member – $9 Non-Member – $16
Location: Center for Puppetry Arts, 1404 Spring St. NW at 18th, Atlanta, GA 30309