“All you need for theater is two planks and a passion”—one version of a saying attributed to Spanish playwright Lope de Vega (who actually said something a little less pithy). Planks can be gotten anywhere. For passion, you need actors.
Given the cooperation of the Fates, this will be an occasional feature, exploring the life and work of actors by means of a standard set of questions. My current subject was suggested to me by previous respondent Jeff Still, whose answers can be found here.
Lusia Strus was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Ukrainian parents and now lives in Jersey City, New Jersey. The play in which she’s currently performing happens to be set in Chicago, and she skillfully renders the sound of that city in her vocal work, which evokes not the broad South Side tones of the stereotype but something a little more north- and west- side. You can find her on Twitter.
What’s your current role?
I’m playing Bette in the world premiere of The Undeniable Sound of Right Now, by Laura Eason, at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. It’s a co-production with Women’s Project Theater. I’m loving it.
A movie I did, Cotton, written and directed by Marty Madden, is doing very well in film festivals right now. It’s won five or more awards so far. I’ve been nominated for best actress in this year’s St. Tropez International Film Festival—it takes place on the Côte d’Azur in May—which is nice. I play a tent-revival preacher named Maggie Mae Welles.
In May, Wayward Pines, written by Chad Hodge and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, premieres on Fox. You never see me, but you hear me through the first season. It’s one of the best pilots I ever read.
What sparked your interest in acting?
I was always a bit of a pretender. And from a very young age I understood I could make people laugh. I was offered a talent scholarship at Illinois State University, and that’s when I realized I wanted to and could do this and nothing was going to stop me.