5 Questions With Cornish Graduate Alyssa Norling

Alyssa is a theatre and movement artist currently based in Seattle. She graduated from Cornish College of the Arts in 2015 with a BFA in Theater and a concentration in Original Works. Recent credits include A Great Hunger (On the Boards), Christmas is Burning (Café Nordo), and To Savor Tomorrow (Café Nordo). She is currently in collaboration with Jeffrey Fracé and an ensemble of diverse artists to develop Nightswimming, a new original theatre-dance-opera and is excited to tour her original performance of “The Gas Trap” with Coltura this summer.

1. What kind of artist are you and how might people know your work?

I’m a theatre artist with a background in dance. I received my BFA in Theatre with a concentration in Original Works (playwriting and directing in addition to acting), but the works that I create usually end up being heavy in movement, something I’m not able to shake after having grown up a dancer. Since graduating in 2015, I’ve performed as an actor and/or dancer at various theatres in Seattle, but Coltura’s Gas Trap is the first performance of my own creation to hit the streets.

2. What exactly was your role in building the Gas Trap?

Basically I was given two things:

1) A concept – gasoline is horrible for the environment and we need to take action right away to break our addiction to it and

2) A stage in the form of a bubble. My job was to fill that bubble with a performance that would bring that concept to the public. I daydreamed, sketched, wrote, erased, wrote again, then presented an outline of a movement-based performance to a fellow theatre artist, Grace Orr. I gave direction in each rehearsal and Grace and I worked together to polish specific moments. I tracked down all the props and costume pieces, cut and pasted material during rehearsals, then performed alongside Grace at our first performance of The Gas Trap at Westlake Park!


3. How do you feel about the end result?

I love that we presented a performance that demanded attention, raised different questions in each individual, and got so many people thinking about their use of gasoline.

4. Do you drive an electric car? If not, what do you see as your challenges or obstacles to making that switch?

I don’t personally own or drive a car but my partner does. I think we both assume we couldn’t switch to electric because of money. But we also haven’t done extensive research so maybe there is one out there we could afford to switch to!

5. Do you live a particularly green lifestyle?

Yes! When you grow up in Oregon, living green is a value that you pick up on at a very young age. Recycling, conserving, minimizing. I’ve worked for the obliteration of the use of plastic bottles of water within communities I’m a part of. My partner and I live in a very small apartment of essentials that hardly uses any power at all. We grow our own food in our tiny yard and have built our own compost bin, which turns our waste into compost for the garden. Most all of our clothing and household items have come from second hand stores. The uh-oh for us is that we do drive a gasoline-powered vehicle when we go on trips outside of Seattle. But our transportation on a daily basis is either by bus or foot.

For more about the art and artists involved with Coltura, visit us here >>

All photos by Sy Bean for KOMO 4 News / SeattleRefined.com.