Tracy’s graceful passions.. | Daily News

Tracy’s graceful passions..

Tracy Holsinger. Picture by Timothy Barco

Having been born into the business Tracy Holsinger has made her name in the Sri Lankan theatre culture on her own steam. Admired by many, Tracy is surprisingly modest even though she is very successful and her dreams coming to fruition. The Daily News catches up with Tracy during this season of dreams.

Q. What is your full name and age?

A. Tracy Anne Holsinger, 42

Q. You are an award winning director, actor and teacher and a founding member of Mind Adventures. How did you become so awesome? How have you become so famous?

A. Thank you for the compliments, but I don't really see myself as famous. I've achieved my goals by dreaming big and working very hard.

Q. You are a graduate in Drama and Theatre Arts from the Goldsmiths College and the University of London. You are also have a Licentiate in teaching Drama from Trinity Guildhall, UK. How have you managed to accomplish so much in life?

A. I think it's pretty normal for people to have undergraduate and post-graduate degrees.

Q. You are currently a visiting Theatre Lecturer at the Open University of Sri Lanka. Do you find that teaching and honing young minds is a challenge that you welcome?

A. It's a Master's degree program and quite a number of my students are actually my age or older. They have a lot of experience so it is more of a challenge to keep them stimulated and add to their knowledge. I find that refreshing.

Q. You are the recipient of the BUNKA Award for Special Achievement in Theatre and the Sunethra Bandaranaike Trust grant for new theatre-making. You must be very proud of your achievements? Pride is fine as long as there is reason to be proud?

A. I'm fortunate to have the support of a number of people who have been very kind to me over the years. The Sunethra Bandaranaike Trust has unfailingly supported me since 2010 and I treasure the wonderful relationship that has grown between us over the years. I was honored to receive the BUNKA from the government of Japan, as I am a huge fan of Japanese arts and culture.

Q. You have worked in several capacities both in Sri Lanka and the UK for companies such as Stoll Moss Theatres, Adventures In Motion Pictures, BBC Radio 4, Stages Theatre Group, Joint Effort, StageLight&Magic Inc, The Workshop Players and The Performing Arts Company. How can you manage to do so much? How can one woman manage to do so much?

A. This is my full time job, so I guess like any professional, I understand the benefits of working with diverse entities and have relished all the wonderful opportunities that have come my way. I was born into the theatre business and my career spans more than two decades now. These are just some of the incredible organizations I have worked with along the way.

Q. What do you think of the English theatre culture in Sri Lanka?

A. I think we're in a period of unparalleled experimentation and original output, and I am very happy about these developments as they benefit our particular industry as a whole.

Q. What do you think of the Sinhalese theater culture in Sri Lanka?

A. I admire it very much, and think there is a lot I can learn from their theatrical practices. I particularly appreciate the work of Parakrama Niriella and his Janakaraliya troupe. I have just entered into collaboration with them for a show in 2016, which is very exciting.

Q. What do you think of interactive theater? Do you find it exciting? Does it have a future in Sri Lanka? Is it practiced widely in other Asian or Western countries?

A. Interactive theatre is the way forward; nothing appeals to me as much as this form. It's about breaking down the barrier between audience and actor, giving the audience more power and even inviting them to be a part of a creative experience, to contribute actively to that. It is an exhilarating experience. Yes, it has a future in Sri Lanka and yes it is practiced widely around the world.

Q. If you could go into the past as far as you want, which event in history would you prevent if you were given the power?

A. Sri Lanka's 1956 Sinhala Only Act.

Q. If there was any day that changed your life what would that be?

A. The day I gave birth to my first child.

Q. What do you consider the happiest and most important day in your life?

A. I'm 42 years old. I have had many happy and important days!

Q. Which leader in history do you admire the most and why?

A. No world leader has an unstained reputation (in Bill Clinton's case, quite literally!) Their actions are validated depending on which country is writing the history. Yet, there is a lot to admire in some of them, such as King Asoka, King Pandukabhaya, Catherine The Great, Elizabeth I, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King Jnr, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Che Guevara - I could go on and on...

Q. Who are the historical and contemporary figures you admire and why?

A. Aristotle, Demosthenes, Sophocles, Konstantin Stanislavski, Aphra Behn, Ada Lovelace, Isaac Newton, Bertholt Brecht, Karl Marx, Jerzy Grotowski, Augusto Boal, William Shakespeare, Akira Kurasawa, John Donne, Mohamed Ali, Jane Austen, Aung San Su Kyi, Malala Yousafzai, Queen Anula, Iranganie Serasinghe, Sathischandra Ediriweera, Barack Obama, Desmond Tutu and many more. For their intelligence, passion, courage, vision and convictions.

Q. What forms of music are you into? What is your favourite song?

A. I love all kinds of music (ok, I'm not much of a fan of Country music), but I suppose my favorite genres are rock, funk, blues, trip hop, acid jazz and drum ‘n'bass. I really can't pick one song.

Q. Are you into watching movies? What kind of movies? What is your favourite movie?

A. Again, I like watching most genres except Horror. It's very hard to pick just one. My favorite franchise is Star Wars.

Q. Do you enjoy reading books? What kind of books do you read? What is your favourite book?

A. I am a bookworm. I read anything from Terry Pratchett and Mikhail Bulgakov to Kipling and Rushdie; from Tom Holland and Dickens to Dawkins and Shehan Karunatilaka. I don't have one favorite book.

Q. Who is your favourite fictitious hero and villain?

A. My favorite fictitious hero is Luke Skywalker from Star Wars. My favorite villain is Professor Moriarty from Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes series.

Q. What is your muse in life? What inspires you?

A. Experimentation; adventure; the unknown; knowledge I have gained from years of studying the works of some great masters. Freedom of expression inspires me. People and events also inspire me. Most of my plays are about socio-political concepts and issues.

Q. Who is your greatest role model?

A. You know, I don't really have one. There's a lot of people who have inspired me and guided me my whole life, but I have always tried to forge my own path and stay true to my personal convictions.

Q. Are you into sports? What is your favourite sport?

A. I used to be very into sports when I was younger. I followed football and cricket fanatically, and still keep tabs on what's going on, but not with as much vigor.

Q. What is the most important thing to you in life?

A. My family.

Q. What motivates/ sustains you in life?

A. Curiosity. There is always something new to learn. 

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