Junior Azariah Boy described Ursula, her character in Millbrook’s production of The Little Mermaid, as being “prim and proper, but insane.” Boyd is
Junior Azariah Boy described Ursula, her character in Millbrook’s production of The Little Mermaid, as being “prim and proper, but insane.”
Boyd is no stranger to the stage, as this is the fourth role she is playing during her time with Millbrook’s Drama Club, ranging from both musicals and a play, including Shrek: the Musical, Little Shop of Horrors, and the Importance of Being Earnest. However she said that Ursula has been by far the hardest role for her so far. “She’s such a big character,” she said. “There’s a lot of things that I have to think about with her, that I never really had to think about with the other characters that I played, because she’s this evil, slimy diva, but is elegant at the same time.” Despite how Boyd described herself as “obviously not evil,” she was also able to personally relate to Ursula’s character. “I can be as sarcastic as her, and then when it comes to how sassy she is, I can be that sassy,” she explained. “I kind of relate to her as me when I’m angry.”
When it came to creating the character of Ursula, Boyd looked at several different sources, including both drag queens and past actresses who have also done the role. She observed the drag queens Latrice Royale and Bianca del Rio to study their “mannerisms.” She said she was specifically looking for “how she walked and how she presented herself in front of others.” She also took inspiration for specifically acting as Ursula from Sherie Rene Scott, who played the character in the Broadway production of The Little Mermaid, and Mae West, an actress from the 1930’s. Boyd said that the hardest part of playing Ursula was not in one particular area. She said that she did not worry about her acting and singing for the song ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls,’ but the song ‘Daddy’s Little Angel’ required her to do more “character development with acting.”
Boyd is hoping to stay involved in the Drama Club for her senior year as well. “I think it’s a great experience for anybody,” she said of the club. “You get to reach out to people, you get to try different things. It’s just a good experience if you’re the adventurous type.” She is also planning on pursuing music as a career in the future, specifically opera. “I’ve been looking into different colleges with those sort of programs.” Much of her opera training has also been able to lend itself to playing Ursula. “The thing about big characters and singing overall, it requires an amount of support,” she said. “It’s not just, you open your mouth and sound comes out, there’s mechanisms involved with it. There’s how you breathe, where you’re focusing on placement, where you’re keeping that support, and your expansion. It’s all about how your body’s positioned. In that sense, your body’s like an instrument. It’s a lot to focus on, but then you have to stay relaxed at the same time.”
Millbrook’s production of The Little Mermaid is being performed on Friday, November 10 at 7 pm, Saturday, November 11 at 7 pm, and Sunday, November 12 at 3 pm. Regular tickets are $10 and $6 for children twelve years old and younger.