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Department Of Theatre And Media Arts

Student Q&A: Eden Bostrom Brings Shakespeare to Life in New York City

BYU Acting Student Eden Bostrom Takes Modernized Shakespeare to the Stage in New York City

This summer, acting BFA Eden Bostrom traveled to New York City, where she put on two modernized Shakespeare plays with Renaissance Now, a New York-based theatre company. Bostrom performed as Ophelia in “Hamlet” as well as Robin Starveling/Cobweb in “A Midsummer Night's Dream.” Bostrom and the cast performed at the Chain Theatre for audiences and reviewers in New York, as well as at the Castle Amphitheatre in Provo.

Bostrom answered a few questions about her experience acting in the city.

Joel Applegate, Eden Bostrom, Rick Macey and Austin Zimmerman in Hamlet. Photo by Renaissance Now.

Q: Why is acting important to you?

Eden: Acting has helped me love who I am. I’ve had to learn that I’m not cast in roles because I am talented at being another person, I’m cast because I’m good at being myself. That has been so hard for me to accept and I am still growing into that truth. Being yourself is so hard, especially in an industry that might turn you away for just your hair color or height or the way you laugh. However, I think of all the actors — both in Hollywood and around me in my classes — who have inspired me because of how vulnerable and truthful they are to themselves onstage or on screen. I want to be a source of inspiration and a part of genuine stories that others want to tell. Being an actor gives me that opportunity.

Q: What was your favorite part of your experience in New York?

Eden: I really started to feel a part of the city in a way that I never felt when I went to New York a few years ago as a tourist. New York is filled with people giving their all to things they are passionate about. To be there, giving my all to a show I was a part of in a small theater on the fourth floor of a building downtown, I felt like I was a part of that culture in a way.

Q: What do you hope audiences took away from the shows you performed in?

Eden: Ophelia was the role that most impacted me and the performance I hope most impacted my audience in both locations. Ophelia is one of the quintessential Shakespearean women, remembered for her dramatic death, but I really wanted to try and bring some life to her and develop her aside from her tragic ending. In doing this, I wanted audiences to do as Ophelia directs them to do in Act 3 Scene 1: “see what I see.” This meant I had to be purposeful in giving her moments of joy, moments of intentional outrage and moments of quiet within the show that we all can understand as part of the human experience. I wanted my audience to develop an empathy for Ophelia and see that she was more than just her worst moments. Hopefully, the audience left the theatre thinking and more willing to see others and themselves past their own worst moments.

Q: How has your experience in New York impacted you as an actor?

Eden: It reinforced what I have been discovering about how being an actor is really understanding who you are and being willing to bring it to the stage. I was nervous and under a lot of pressure from myself to be the exact actor and give the exact performance that I had become comfortable with and proud of in Provo, but New York was different from Provo! More than just adjusting to a new stage, I had to accept that my performance would change and allow it to change to what I was feeling in New York. By putting into practice what I was learning and working to be as genuine as I could be as Eden playing Ophelia, I came away a more confident actor with a sense of pride in my totally different performance.

Q: Where do you hope acting will take you in the future?

Eden: Right now I am super excited to start doing more work in voice over. It’s a nice niche in the entertainment/commercial industry where looks don’t matter but being confident in your voice and what you have to give is everything. It’s a hard industry to break into and requires a lot of time, effort and sound editing skills that I am trying to teach myself, things that a year ago I would never imagine I would have the mental tenacity to be teaching myself. I know it will be a huge challenge, but after everything I learned this summer, I have a new confidence in myself that I’ll need to get where I want to with voice over.

Eden Bostromand fellow cast members performing as The Mechanicals in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.