Rita Maria Aires stars as the title character in Peter and the Starcatcher. This summer, they took on roles in three Shakespearean productions with Shakespeare in the Woods in Manchester, Vermont, and recently, they performed in Vintage Theatre’s Shakespeare in Love. This fall, Rita’s swapping the Bard’s tales for our imaginative prequel to J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan.
Where were you born?
In the words of Katy Perry, “California.”
How long have you been in the business?
Although I have been performing since 5th grade, I have been in the business professionally (i.e. getting paid) since 2019.
Favorite role to date and why?
I like to try to say that the role I am currently working on is my favorite role. Being in the present is one of the keys to authenticity, an important tool for my acting practice that prepares my body to exist as an instrument of the human experience.
Role you are dreaming of playing and why?
In all honesty, Peter Pan has always been a dream role. I feel a deep and curious connection to his boyish nature, which was revealed because I saw myself in him; or at least, I saw who I wanted to be in him, which is a Rita I often feel my physical body renders invisible.
The thought of being able to exist as a boy for even just a little under two hours in a space that would not just ask strangers to believe this existence, but would demand them to suspend their disbelief around my physical body, birthed a euphoria I couldn’t resist pursuing.
And actually playing Peter? He is showing me ways to see my body as a gift that can connect to my boyhood in wonderfully unique and nuanced ways, even if, in the other 22 hours of the day, a stranger’s perception of me disagrees. If “I just wanna be a boy for a while,” I can, and I am.
Favorite food and why?
In the words of Sarah Ruhl, “You ask me about soup. Why soup. For me I think there is something about the distillation process of making soup, and knowing that you are eating something distilled by time and patient human beings. And of course soup comes in bowls, and I love bowls” (Letters from Max).
Featured image by Romeo Vidal