Good afternoon, YouthMundees!
At YouthMundus, we aim to not only be a platform for music, film and global change, but for the artists and global changemakers who create them. Our Artist Spotlight series aims to create a space for discovery of new, budding global talent, while simultaneously offering you an exclusive glimpse into their creative process. In this week’s edition, we’re extremely ecstatic to feature Bretana Turkon, an emerging singer, dancer, and theatremaker based out of New York City!
Despite living in Ithaca, New York since she was only 8-years-old, Bretana Turkon was pulled towards the magnetism of the city and the theatre it’s known for to pursue her aspirations of auditioning and starting a new life.
It was Bretana’s grandfather that inspired her passion for theatre: “He founded the Rhineback Theatre Society, so I had an amazing opportunity to spend a lot of time growing up watching rehearsals and building sets; it made me fall in love with the theatre community.”
Bretana immediately connected with the familial aspect of theatre, finding it to serve as the overarching glue that helps foster a sense of community: “Theatre has always felt like a community builder to me, even as an audience member. I have so many memories of my family sitting together over a cup of tea after a night of theatre, discussing and debriefing the nuances of what we’d witnessed.”
Since her recent graduation from Ithaca College, where she earned her BFA in Musical Theatre, Bretana has spent her time auditioning and creating a new life within the city that’s the cultural hub of her most treasured passion: theatre.
What inspires you and your creative process?
I am inspired to create because I want to move people. 2) I don’t believe that every performance needs to create a huge impact on it’s audience. There are three main categories of theatre, each as important as the next: theatre as a form of escapism, theatre for social change, and socially conscious theatre.
Theatre as a form of escapism often gets a bad reputation for not being thoughfully written or for sending a positive message out into the world (think “Cats”), but it makes people happy and allows them to escape our everyday problems and the messed up world we’re living in for a couple hours. Theatre for social change has a very clear message, it tells the audience what they should think and how to change themselves in order to make the world a better place (think “The Cradle Will Rock”). It puts a mirror up to the audience, to make them look deep within themselves and understand their flaws. Socially conscious theatre, on the other hand, falls somewhere in the middle. It often disguises itself as escapism with comedy or dance breaks, but it manages to get the audience subconsciously analysing themselves or the way of the world. In my opinion, this is the most powerful device we can utilize to creating real change in the world. Instead of yelling at people what to think, we can craft a fantastically entertaining evening for them... which also gently nudges them to examine different aspects of their lives.
What inspired you to pursue musical theatre? What were the challenges you overcame in this? Musical theatre makes me so happy, I get so much joy from every aspect of it - not just singing and dancing, but also digging deep into the emotional life of another human and discovering their nuances. This is the overlying factor that made me choose this career path, but of course I find it challenging to think about the future of this career, as it is by definition nomadic. As someone who wants to have a family, I often think about what will happen when I choose to have children. I don’t know how I’ll navigate that when I get there, but for now, I am putting all my time and energy into furthering my theatrical endeavors.
What’s been the most rewarding part of being an artist for you? Do you have any advice for future artists? Collaboration. There is something so special about the teamwork that is necessary to create a fantastic piece of theatre. Each element requires a specific skill set, that when combined create a new world. Also, it’s cliche, but don’t let yourself get swept up into trying to fit the mold. Your weirdness is what people will love most about you, and where you’ll get the most attention!
Thank you for your continuous support and kindness.
Lots of love,
Interview by conducted & written by Veronica Velez