You may have seen Talia Thiesfield portray Juliet in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts’ production of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ two years ago when she was just beginning her journey as a graduate drama student at UC Irvine. Or the following year, in a performance that this promising actress refers to as ‘definitely one of [her] greatest experiences in the O.C.’ titled ‘Seven Guitars’ by her favorite playwright, August Wilson, where she played the role of Ruby.
Presently, as a third-year graduate drama major, Thiesfield holds much anticipation for the future while taking advantage of all the opportunities that the School of the Arts has to offer to her desire of becoming a working actor.
Thiesfield grew up in Connecticut, the same region where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in acting from the University of Connecticut. During her time as an undergraduate at UConn, Thiesfield was tentative to audition for graduate school. But her mind changed after the United Resident Theatre Association auditions, where undergraduates with a theater concentration can audition for various graduate schools at one time. To her surprise, Thiesfield was called back to her first-choice college, UCI, which later accepted her to be one of their few new graduates for that year.
Around the same time that the URTA auditions took place, Thiesfield had a dream unfolding before her eyes. She was offered a job on the national tour of ‘Rent’ as the ‘Seasons of Love’ soloist. Thiesfield would also have been an understudy for Mimi, the lead character who carries most of the progression in the production. Unfortunately, when Thiesfield was finally given the proposal for the role, her moving boxes were already being shipped to California.
‘I thought if I was given the opportunity that early on after graduating from undergrad, it could happen again. I didn’t see it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,’ Thiesfield said.
Thiesfield has no regrets about her move to California and the transition to UCI. Since Thiesfield has been on the West Coast, she has found that she has ‘made a 180 as an actor and person.’ Thiesfield continued, ‘At school, I love being pushed to my limits physically and emotionally. I think a lot more positively and I believe that is in part due to the manner in which we are trained and how we are pushed as graduate actors.’
Another aspect of the drama department that Thiesfield likes is the diversity of the students.
‘One thing I really like about the grad drama department is that no one is the same,’ Thiesfield said. ‘The graduate population of the actors is diverse as far as type and personality. There are a lot of different energies to work with.’
During her third and final year at UCI, Thiesfield is taking advantage of everything that the School of the Arts has to offer her. This fall quarter Thiesfield is one of the several graduate instructors for Drama 30A, and will be teaching Musical Theatre I during winter quarter. Her students always have plenty of positive things to say about her as a mentor.
‘I admire her spirit and convictions. She is really positive and her attitude will lead her to success,’ said Katie Deshan, a first-year drama major. ‘As much as I look up to her as a teacher, she treats us like peers, and that is so refreshing!’
In addition, Thesfield will be portraying the lead role of Claudia in the musical ‘Nine’ during the end of January.
Although it is too soon to tell what she will do after graduation, Thiesfield imagines living in West Hollywood, ‘trying to get to know the west side of the industry better.’
In addition to theater, Thiesfield also expressed interest in film and television.
With her amount of training and experience in the theater, Thiesfield has learned many important lessons.
‘Don’t be afraid to say something,’ Thiesfield said. ‘To do something that says something. This art is a venue to say the unsaid and do the undone. So take advantage of it. Don’t be afraid to take risks. That’s what makes us different from the rest of the world. We take risks for a living.’