My name is Ariana, but I almost always go by Ari. I grew up in MA near the NH border thinking that I wanted to be a veterinarian for the rest of my life. Oddly, when I went to agricultural school, it was not veterinary medicine that I found interesting, it was theatre- if you could even call it that. My high school had no budget for a “drama program” and left all the decisions and after-school time up to one man who decided he could make it happen, a woodworking teacher who we called Mr. V.
Mr. V taught us canoe carving by day, but in the evenings, he helped us write ourselves into a play about growing up. This took up our whole year and it only performed ONCE! Our principal became more of a believer after that, so we were allotted a small budget and told to choose a play already written. My sophomore year I played a daft middle-aged women hooked on pain pills. I was lucky enough to land two more comedic roles my junior and senior year, but we never performed more than once and, as you can imagine, hilarity ensued as we could do whatever we wanted once those lights were up and that audience was hushed. I loved this new outlet I found and I had more courage onstage than I had offstage. The best thing I learned from there was how to imagine again. And in all of this imagining, with our inexperienced yet passionate carpenter of a director and the various gym teachers and others who helped in the creation of our shows, I learned that I wanted to make things happen. This was a lucky realization on my part since I learned later that I was petrified of auditioning.
At Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI, I found my next fix. I stage managed. I was a big fish in a small pond lacking technical expertise, as small ponds do. I took the opportunity to help out backstage, and side of stage, and above and around stage. I couldn’t get enough. I probably stage managed around 10 times between my Sophomore and Senior year. I was lucky enough to direct “Orange Flower Water” my senior year which remains my greatest theatrical learning experience.
When I graduated from college in 2007, I wanted to move to London, but finances disagreed with that decision, and I came back to Boston. Here, I found the heart of it again, working with small theater companies with great big dreams and a whole lot of passion. I’m happy to say that this is my first, but certainly not my last time working with Whistler in the Dark!