Jacklyn Collier can currently be seen on stage in Gulfshore Playhouse’s production of VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE as Nina. As a young actress living in NYC, Jacklyn teaches at TVI Actors Studio and has been in many productions including the Off-Broadway production of I HOPE THEY SERVE BEER ON BROADWAY. She is also passionate about new works and has done staged readings of new plays for PlayLab NYC, Variations Theatre Group, and Ensemble Studio Theatre.
New York City has been my home for the past four years. Most of the time, I love it there. As a young girl growing up in the small coal region town of Mt. Carmel in Pennsylvania, I dreamed of moving to the “big city” and making my dreams come true. So, four years ago, I arrived in the Big Apple with a large suitcase, about $600 in my checking account, and a heck of a lot of hope.
The last four years have been an exercise in extremes- a lot of highs and a lot of lows. I’ve been lucky enough to find a job teaching children’s acting, I have acted in plays, indie films, and a few TV shows, and I made a group of supportive, loving friends who have become a second family to me. However, the last few months of 2014 were pretty rough for me, both personally and professionally. I was getting called back for roles but not booking them, I worked so many hours that I was exhausted all the time and I felt like I was spinning my wheels and was zapped of my creative energy. I was beginning to lose the one thing I arrived in New York with an abundance of : HOPE
Enter Kristen Coury.
My agent called and said I had an appointment for Nina in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. I was excited. I love Christopher Durang and I have several friends who have done shows at Gulfshore Playhouse and loved their time in Naples. I wanted to do this play, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up. For every yes I hear as an actor, I probably get at least a dozen no’s. I tried to reign in my enthusiasm for this project because I didn’t want to be disappointed later.
But I couldn’t help myself. I loved working on the audition material and when I walked in the room Kristen was warm, friendly, and made the environment a safe space to do my work.
About a week later, I got a call from the casting director (the awesome Michael Cassara) telling me that my agent would be calling me tomorrow with an offer. I was so thrilled that I did a happy dance right in Columbus Circle!
As I began to get ready for my time at Gulfshore Playhouse, I didn’t know what to expect. I had never been to Naples before and hadn’t worked with anyone in the cast or crew. Almost immediately after meeting, I knew we had something special. We all clicked, and there isn’t a crazy one in the bunch! (Well maybe some of us are a little crazy, but in the mentally stable, fun kind of crazy way.) I couldn’t have imagined a more brilliant, loving, fun, creative, talented, and kind group of people to have with me on this adventure.
The people of Naples have been welcoming and endlessly supportive and the weather here is gorgeous! I had hoped this contract would be enjoyable, but my time here has already exceeded my expectations.
At the end of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Nina tells Sonia, “You must always get your hopes up.” Sonia replies, “Really? That sounds wise but scary.” Sonia is right. It IS scary to get your hopes up, being hopeful is an act of bravery. My time here in Naples has given me the courage to be brave again and restored my creativity, my energy, and yes, my hope. I’m grateful that I was here to share this play with you all and I hope to join you for more storytelling in the future.
Love this article as well as the wonderful actress! When you lose hope in nyc, it’s time to move. She’s a great city but can really bite where it counts some days.