EXCLUSIVE Q&A: Brianna Cabrera of Public Works’ As You Like It

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It’s the most magical time of year in New York City when The Public Theatre presents its annual Free Shakespeare in the Park at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park. (This year marks their 60th time doing so AND the 10th Anniversary of Public Works!) After a wildly successful gender-swapped Richard III, the second play of the summer is actually a musical version of the comedy As You Like It. We got the pleasure to speak with Brianna Cabrera about her role as Silvia.

SRS: What do you hope audiences take away from As You Like It

BC: I hope the audience takes away a message of hope. One that emphasizes finding and utilizing our compassion, empathy, and love in times of struggle, and the fact that these values and strengths are often more readily available to us when we are in community with others. 

SRS: How do you relate to your character? 

BC: I relate to my character, Silvia, in that there is a sense of innocence to her. Similar to my answer to the first question, despite all she knows about her world and the circumstances informing it at any given time, she holds out hope not only for herself in her immediate life, but for her community and her world as she knows it. 

SRS: This is a musical adaptation. Do you have a favorite song in the show? 

BC: I am definitely partial to “You Phoebe Me” as a favorite song because it really is a fun song to sing and perform, and has served as a fun challenge vocally, physically, and characteristically in some ways. However, the song that always gets me a bit emotional is “All The World’s A Stage (Epilogue)” which closes out the show. Particularly the lines “We leave a ghost light for the ones who’ll start again when we are gone. We leave behind the scenes and steps we’ve learned along the way, and hope they live to see a better version of the play.

SRS: What would your Forest of Arden look like? 

BC: My Forest of Arden would be shrouded in nature; trees, bushes, grass, hills, streams, rivers, lakes – the works! Clear skies, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, and my friends and family. 

SRS: What would be your dream Shakespearean role? 

BC: Two roles are coming to mind when I think of my dream Shakespearean role, and they are both roles that I absolutely adored in specific productions that I saw. The first is Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing, and the second is Helena from Midsummer Night’s Dream

SRS: You have worked with The Public in the past. What makes you come back for more? 

BC: I promise this is not my answer solely because of how relevant it is to this play, but really, the community is what keeps me coming back. I have worked with Public Works and The Public since I was 16 years old, and I have met so many people that I consider extended family and who have become immensely important people in my life that I would not have met otherwise. The opportunity to spend this much time with them and create these beautiful pieces together is always one of my most joyous experiences and something I will never get enough of.

SRS: Do you have any pre-show rituals? 

BC: Aside from technical rituals and practices like vocal warm-ups and (more recently) using a steamer before we start the show, I love interacting with my fellow cast-mates; taking in and living in these special moments we have together. While this is not a pre-show ritual, I also love and make it a point to write notes/letters to as many people involved in putting up these shows as possible by the time the run of a show ends, as a way of expressing my gratitude and love for them. 

SRS: What are your dressing room necessities? 

BC: Honestly, not much… access to water (both cold and hot), a cozy sweater, and either a book or some music to pass any downtime there might be. Mostly though, good vibes and positive energy!

Find out more and how to get your free tickets HERE.