Blog #1: It's Magic!
By Daria Pilar Redus
Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of blog posts from actor Daria Pilar Redus. A graduate of Otterbein University, she appeared at the Festival in 2018 inBig RiverandThe Greenshowand this year is playing Sarah inRagtimeand Kate inThe Pirates of Penzance*. She is also the recipient of the Festival’s 2021 Michael and Jan Finlayson Acting Award.*
In 2017, I carefully selected my audition materials for the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s summer season. I was confident that I had a good chance of getting a spot at this festival that my university had a long-standing relationship with. The juniors at Otterbein University are encouraged to submit for the Festival’s summer season upon returning to school every year. But in my junior year, nothing came of it. I wasn’t defeated, I just knew that I had to be patient and wait for my cards to play out as they were meant to. It was only a matter of time before I’d get my chance to work at this festival—a festival that I wanted to be a part of so desperately, but couldn’t articulate a single reason why.
Fast forward, one year later, I was the only senior at Otterbein that insisted on having one more chance to shoot my shot with the Festival. There was such an overwhelming magnetic pull to this festival out in Utah that I felt so intensely before ever knowing a single thing about it. I got a song, monologue, and dance filmed, submitted my tape, and found out that I’d be joining the company in 2018 for its summer season. I was over the moon. I was so excited for my first professional gig out of college. But it felt deeper than that. It felt so intentional, and I had no clue why. Then, I showed up. Then, I knew.
It started as early as the flight into town. The breathtaking mountains of the West were miracles that I’d never seen before, and I couldn’t believe that I was still in America. I’d been so ignorant all my life, not knowing that anything so beautiful even existed. As I got off the shuttle into Cedar City, I noticed that this pocket-sized city was hugged by these stunning red rocks from every corner. The beauty was inescapable. I couldn’t walk out of my housing at the Festival, walk to the Pastry Pub, or even push a shopping cart out of Walmart without the mountains reminding me that I was so far from home, and yet I’d never been closer. I was spectacularly overwhelmed with the all-round beauty of this new adventure without even entering a day of work yet. Then, rehearsals began.
Magic is real. I’m not certain whether it’s real in all forms, or in the way we often see on television or in magic shows with card tricks and disappearing coins. But magic exists, and it roams the halls of the Randall Theatre, hides in the wings of the Englestad Theatre, sits in row B at the Anes Theatre. I was first introduced to its enchanting presence on the first day of rehearsal for both The Merry Wives of Windsor and Big River, and it’s followed me ever since. I’ve also learned that magic and heart are dear friends, and here at the Festival, they coexist. One wraps tightly around the other’s hand, and they travel together, infecting everyone that passes through this festival—audience members, sound technicians, actors, administrators. Me.