Taylor Delgado doesn’t exactly identify with the ogre lifestyle. She’s organized. Ogres aren’t. She plans stuff out. Ogres? They roll over in bed and let the day take care of itself.
But Delgado still very much wanted to play an ogre – which is how she ended up with the role of Princess Fiona in the Selma Arts Center production of “Shrek the Musical.” We caught up with her by email to talk about herself and the role.
Q: Have you ever been in a production of “Shrek”?
A: This is my first time. I had been wanting to do this show for a while, so when I saw that Selma Arts was going to produce it, I knew I had to audition.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: I moved back to Fresno a year ago after graduating from California State University, Fullerton with a BA in Business Administration with an Emphasis on Entertainment and Tourism Management. This is my first show at Selma Arts Center, but not my first in the Valley (I am a Clovis West High School and CMT alum). I’ve been acting since I was 8 years old and have won several awards including a Danny (a Clovis Unified School District theater award) and an Inland Theater League Award down in Southern California. I’m 23 years old.
Q: For those who haven’t seen the stage version, how close is it to the movie?
A: It is fairly similar to the DreamWorks movie we all know and love. There are moments the audience will recognize from the movie, but there are also some really fun additions that make the musical version stand out on it’s own. Anyone who admires the film will definitely enjoy the Broadway version, and, much like the film, the humor appeals to both children and adults, so it’s really fun for everyone.
Q: This isn’t your typical Disney “princess” role. (You make a lot of flatulence jokes.) How would you describe your take on this character?
A: I am quite familiar with portraying the Disney princesses, so it was a challenge to kind of let go of that idea and focus on just being more real. I tried to add a lot of my own personality and spunk to the character to make her more relatable to the audience. I studied Sutton Foster, who originated the role, a lot when I was developing my acting choices, so my Fiona has a lot of the big moments like Foster had, but also includes some softer tones that come from my own personality.
Q: Ogres do have some advantages: They don’t have to worry about personal hygiene, they don’t spend much on fashion, and I imagine they don’t waste any time housecleaning. Does any part of the ogre “lifestyle” appeal to you?
A: I think what’s most appealing is how carefree ogres can be. They don’t worry about the little details and just enjoy life to the fullest. They fly by the seat of their pants, which is a little opposite of my personality. I am totally guilty about being organized and planning everything out, so I am not sure if I could give that up for an ogre lifestyle!
Q: Tell us a little about the makeup process you go through in the show.
A: In the show, I have three extremely fast makeup and costume changes to go from a princess to an ogre. I have about a minute each time to apply the ogre makeup and prosthetics, change wigs, and change costumes. Most of this happens just off the wings of the stage in our makeshift make-up station. This couldn’t be possible without our amazing crew and careful strategic planning to get me back onstage at just the right time.
Q: Theater in Selma seems particularly vibrant these days. What is it like to be part of this company?
A: My experience in Selma has been nothing short of amazing. Our cast is so talented and some of the friendliest people I have ever had a chance to work with. It’s nice to be in a supportive environment that gives me the push I need to get me through some of the more physically intense numbers I have in the show. The Selma Arts Center is relatively new to the theatre scene, but the work they are doing is impressive. People shouldn’t be discouraged from making the short drive out here to see some really great theatre.
Q: Give us one “backstage secret” we wouldn’t know otherwise.
A: One of my favorite secrets is my tower. You can’t see it from the audience, but the balcony where the tower is located actually extends all the way behind the stage. I spend most of Act I up there, so I’ve made it my little home with an endless supply of tea, cough drops, and potato chips for my voice and for anyone else who needs a vocal pick-me-up. It’s a nice quiet space for me to think and prepare for the next scene.
Q: Share a little about the production design. What is the most difficult “Shrek” effect to achieve?
A: I love the use of movement in this show. A lot of our scene changes happen right in front of you with the use of moving trees, panels, and projections on stage. It helps create a whole new level of depth to the swamp. I think one of the more challenging set piece would probably be Donkey’s girlfriend, Dragon. This large piece was actually handmade by one of our cast members and, aside from being awesome, is one of the biggest set pieces in the show. It takes a lot of work to figure out exactly how to maneuver the pieces at the right times. It’s a difficult effect, but one of the strongest in the show.
Q: Anything to add?
A: I am just so proud of our cast and creative team for all their hard work on this show. The story is so fun, you can’t help but feel a part of it or relate to the characters. The fact that this cast genuinely gets along and enjoys every second on the stage only adds to the power of this musical. It’s definitely not a show you want to miss!