DAVID KWIATKOWSKI – STAFF WRITER
Reporter’s Note: Each summer, Chautauqua Theater Company and Chautauqua Opera Company invite young actors and artists into its program for a fully-funded fellowship. This summer’s program consists of seven actors and five young artists. To better connect readers to the actors themselves, Q-and-A interviews will run regularly throughout the rest of the summer.
Who: Jada Owens, from New Orleans, is in the master of fine arts acting program at University of California, San Diego. She previously graduated from Texas State University with a bachelor of fine arts in acting. She portrayed the lead role of Raylynn in Blood at the Root and portrays Isabella and Dottore in Commedia this summer.
What is your favorite album right now?
Old Church Basement by Maverick City. They are songs that a congregation would sing; they’re like testimonials. The songs are written over how people encounter Christ and they’re just very lyrical. I love how they take the journey and it’s different people singing certain solos. I grew up in church, so that’s all I really know. I just constantly look for new albums or new artists that are creating a different kind of generation for the gospel industry.
What is your go-to comfort movie?
“The Parent Trap.” It’s always good on a Sunday at 3 p.m. when it’s raining. It always came on when I would come home from church. My mom and I were just going to sit around eating Oreos and then it would come on and I would be like, “We’re watching this, everybody shut up!”
What is a recent performance that wowed you?
Taylour Paige in “Zola.” No more sleeping on Taylour Paige anymore.
Do you have a dream role?
I am looking forward to diving into a one-woman show for myself. I never really thought about dream roles when I started to investigate what theater was going to be for me, and I never thought about that.
I always think about the platform, so I would love to make my mark on Broadway regional theaters. I imagine traveling everywhere as much as possible, not just the avenue of theater but also dance, songwriting and ministry. My dream experience is to reach as many people as I can with whatever story I’m telling.
No matter how big or small the role, that’s what I want to do: … create something new for me, but also to pave the way for someone else to do the same.
Who inspires you?
As a person, my mom; my teachers in different ways serve in that capacity to keep me going, to keep my heart soft for how tough this industry is, and how to build a skin for it. It’s definitely been such a blessing to be surrounded by a community of people who continue to help you inform your process so I know that when I reach that Oscar, I don’t care how long the music has to play, I have to honor a lot of sisters who have been my heart and rock.
As an artist, watching all the Black classics and having love and joy when I get to see my community of people win and thrive in different ways. Whether it be film, TV series or off Broadway, I like sitting around those kinds of people who have the language to navigate such an interesting industry that is slowly changing.
They are making a way for themselves. It just makes me want to sit down and eat and break bread with them about their process.
What is your go-to food after a long day of rehearsal?
It depends on the region. Here, it’s sushi. Back in California, it’s burritos. And if it’s a bar, I will always go for a glass of wine. I think always getting a drink is really nice after a long, long day, or it just depends on the comfort food can change — because sometimes, it can be like, broccoli.
What is the best part of being a part of CTC so far?
Meeting these people. My classmates are incredible. As close as we are living in the house together, I will forever hold that in my heart.