Q & A with Dyanne Lile

Dyanne Lile, senior vocal performance major, is no stranger to the stage. Performing since a young age with roles in such productions as My Fair Lady, Oliver Twist, and the Southern production of Chicago, she has now landed the title role in Southern Theatre’s upcoming production of The Drowsy Chaperone.

When did you first take interest in theater?

My parents teach theater – they’re the teachers here [Missouri Southern] — so I grew up around theater my whole life. It was kind of instilled in me since I was a child. I mean, I went to rehearsals and memorized lines and did choreography since I was a kid.

How long have you been acting and what are some of the performances you have been in?

My first musical was maybe when I was 5 or 6, and it was chorus roles and things like that, and then I was in my first Shakespeare plays when I was around age 2. I had my first lead when I was 8; I was Oliver in Oliver Twist. Roles recently that I have done though … I was Velma Kelly in Chicago two years ago here and I’ve been in a few productions at JLT (Joplin Little Theatre). I was in Godspell. I was in Into the Woods. In high school I was Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. I was Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls. So I’ve had a few leads in there and chorus roles all over the place.

What is your favorite role that you have played, and why?

I think it would honestly be a tie between Velma Kelly in Chicago and Eliza in My Fair Lady because Eliza was so similar to me but so different at the same time, because she’s English, and I had to get a Cockney accent down, plus the English, the English dialect and so that was really lots of fun and she had so many levels. She was angry, she was happy, and that was really fun to play. And then Velma was just this sexy, sultry, you know, like very, very feminine woman who is just very demanding and gets what she wants and I thought that was a really awesome character to play as well, because she’s such a strong character. Kind of like Eliza Doolittle. Eliza is very, very strong, so I really like playing the strong women, I think. I have a knack for those, I guess.

What’s it like to play the part of the Drowsy Chaperone in the upcoming performance?

It’s a very different role for me than what I’ve played in the past and that’s why I think I like playing it so much, because she’s not always the center of attention, but she has a lot of fun, I think. You know, she doesn’t have all the big dance numbers and she doesn’t have all of the big songs, but I think that it’s just a fun role to play, because it gives you a lot of freedom with the character.

What first inspired you to audition for The Drowsy Chaperone?

Well, it will be my last musical here in college, so I definitely want to do it, plus my mom is directing and I always love working with my parents. And I love musicals and I love working with my friends – all my friends are in it. I wanted to have fun.

Do you ever feel nervous when you go into an audition?

Musical theatre, not so much. If it’s a competitive setting, or even like a competition or things like that, yes, I do. I have horrible stage fright, you know. But auditions, no, I don’t really get too nervous for auditions, I don’t think.

Have you ever had a bad audition in the past?

I would definitely say I’ve had auditions that weren’t the strongest, vocally or acting-wise, or I mess up the dancing, but I don’t really have any horror stories.

What kind of roles do you most like to portray on stage?

I like characters that push me to do things that aren’t me, but I also like characters that I can connect with as well. I think that that’s important to find something in each character that you play that you connect with, but I also like playing characters that are just not me, like things that I would never do.

What role would you most like to play?

I’d love to be Lucy in Jekyll and Hyde, but that will never happen because I don’t have the voice for it, but in a perfect world that would happen.

Who are some of your favorite actors/actresses, on stage or in film?

I love Meryl Streep, I think she’s fantastic. And I love Maggie Smith and Cate Blanchet, I mean, they’re just so well rounded, they can do anything. And then I love Sir Ian McKellen and Denzel Washington, I think he’s way better than people give him credit for. I think Leonardo DiCaprio is fantastic, too, and I think he’s just incredibly well rounded and again, people don’t give him enough credit for what he can do in movies and on stage.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I think for me it’s more internal than external and I think that I am so incredibly hard on myself and so I demand as close to perfection as I can possibly get. I am never going to be perfect and my parents have always said ‘there’s always going to be someone better than you’, but I can do the best I can do and I just want to do better every single night and I want to improve on one thing every single night. I think that, for me, I want to do the best that I can do every single day.

What do you like to do in your down time?

What down time? What is that? I don’t know. Sleep, and do homework, and I work, and the off chance that I actually have some time to myself, I like watching movies.