Meet a NYFA Artist: Anne DeAcetis

Meet a NYFA Artist: Anne DeAcetis

NYFA speaks with 2010 Fiscally Sponsored Artist Anne DeAcetis.

NYFA: Can you tell us what are you working on and what’s coming up for you?

AD: Right now, Violette, Violette [Ed: DeAcetis’ Fiscally Sponsored performance project] has my full attention. The working draft I created last year was a great start, but now I’m adding a lot of original writing and trying to flesh out the story…I want to answer the question, “Why are you doing this? Why do you want us to know about this French author, Violette Leduc?” As an artist, I usually resist justifying my work in that way. But in this case, it’s personal. I have a hard time answering that question myself. And it seems to me that both artist and audience deserve an answer

NYFA: Who was Violette Leduc and how did she become the focus of this work?

AD: Violette Leduc was a French writer who lived from 1907 to 1972. She was a contemporary of so many famed French literary figures: Jean Genet, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre…Albert Camus actually published her first book. But outside of France, she remains oddly obscure. I discovered her in 2001 while doing some dramaturgy for The Genet Project, a piece my theater company, Division 13 Productions, was creating based on Genet’s The Thief’s Journal. I found her to be an extraordinarily passionate and lyrical writer. As a person, I discovered, she was insufferable! She provoked sympathy and rage in everyone around her, in equal measure. I’ve been fascinated by her ever since.

NYFA: What kinds of resources are you most in need of right now?

AD: Rehearsal space. It becomes so costly so quickly, but I won’t cut back on it. Dancers stretch and move every day, pianists play scales for hours. As an actor, you have to hone your instrument, which is your body and your self. And it’s so much more helpful to work in a room that gives you the chance to throw energy a certain distance. I don’t need to work in a massive empty dance hall. But my living room is not an appropriate place to work on theatrical energy. So right now, I’m looking for affordable and/or free space with some room to move. NYFA: What makes your work like no one else’s?

AD: I think Violette, Violette is a bit unique because it combines so many disciplines: speech, voice, language, movement, storytelling. My subject, Violette, is a completely unique person. So she’s getting a custom performance – a narrative structure all her own. I’m making up the way I tell her story as I go.

NYFA: What project or idea is on the edge of your horizon right now?

AD: I’ve been working on a screenplay about a temporary employee who finds herself at a moment of very permanent decision-making, and I’d like to see that film made in the next five years.

NYFA: What is your relationship to nature?

AD: As a child, I felt deeply connected to the elements. You had to lock me inside when thunderstorms came through because I just wanted to run through the trees with the wind howling overhead. But adulthood really civilized me. Today, I’m a city mouse who won’t even discuss going camping.

NYFA: Where did you grow up?

AD: I grew up on the North Shore of Long Island, near the water. I find water very mysterious and romantic, and I guess I feel that way about live performance.

NYFA: How do you balance your work and your life?

AD: It’s not easy! Right now I’m juggling two jobs to make a living, plus working on my performance career. But it helps to feel lucky, which I do. I have something in my life I’m very passionate about, something I work very hard for, and can enjoy it. It’s a gift.

NYFA: Do you have a dedicated workspace? If so, what is it like?

AD: I don’t have a dedicated workspace, I’m more of a gypsy. I do have a desk that I write at, it’s cluttered and small, but the imagination has infinite space no matter where you’re sitting.

NYFA: How has The NYFA Fiscal Sponsorship impacted you?

AD: Fiscal sponsorship means I can have experts guiding me through the process of raising money and handling it legally and responsibly. I worked for a long time with my own non-profit, but I was never the book-keeper. With NYFA’s help, I can focus on making the work and telling other people about it, and those are my strengths. I’m beyond grateful for the sponsorship. It’s going to be enormously helpful in bringing Violette, Violette to life.

Anne DeAcetis was a founding member of Division 13 Productionswhich produced in Chicago and New York from 1996-2005. She is now an AEA and SAG-eligible actor available for projects in both New York and Los Angeles. Anne recently earned her Acting MFA at the California Institute of the Arts. Her original performance project, Violette, Violette, based on the life and writings of author Violette Leduc, is now a sponsored project of the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). She also writes and performs music for her boutique label, Red hand Records

For more information on Anne DeAcetis, visit her website.

Amy Aronoff
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