Meet Malena Pennycook – Liz in ms. estrada

ms. estrada written by the Q Brothers Collective and directed by Michelle Tattenbaum is now open in The Flea’s upstairs theater, the Sam.  We sat down with members of the cast to hear about why they love this new hip-hop musical adaptation of the Greek classic, Lysistrata, and what The Flea means to them.

The work you’ve put into ms. estrada has been immense, what do you love the most about working on this production?

The raw energy in ms. estrada is addicting. It’s exciting it is to embody a story this large. And as a womyn, it’s a relief to have a temporary home for my rage (which isn’t always welcome in the spaces I inhabit). The writers, the Q Brother Collective and Director, Michelle Tattenbaum have done an incredible job creating an empowering rehearsal room. I hope the audience will feel that when they see the show.

Creating a safe space for actors to do great work is important. What’s your favorite aspect of working in this medium?

I love the sense of community that the theater offers (both from a performer and audience perspective). In an increasingly high-tech world, I’m grateful for the opportunity to sit in darkness with an audience who choose to lend their attention to one thing— the stage. I feel safe in the theater.

And beyond the shared experience with an audience, what lessons have you gained from working in the business?

Saying “Yes!” That has been a fundamental lesson for me. It is scary to take the first step but great things usually come out of taking a chance on something new.

What was the first acting gig you said “yes” to?

My first job in the theater was as a counselor at my childhood Shakespeare camp when I was 16-years old. Learning how to teach from my childhood mentors was one of the greatest artistic gifts I’ve ever received.

Are you working on anything other than ms. estrada?

Yes! I facilitate Contact Improv Jams (a movement form) each month and I recently finished the writing and performance of a cello accompaniment for a reading that was directed by fellow Bat, Jen Parkhill.

And before we go— Do you have any advice for actors who are just starting out?

Don’t take it all too seriously (it’s just pretend, after all). And please, remind me to do the same!