by Christie Reed
To Alice Gasparian, actress and University of La Verne alumna, wearing a corset and boxes on her hips is just a part of the job—her night job, that is. Theater actress by night and Universal Studios dresser by day, Gasparian never leaves the acting realm she has loved her entire life.
Gasparian is currently parading the stage as the wife to Mozart in the Inland Valley Repertory Theatre production of “Amadeus.” Her character, Constanze Weber, appealed to her from the start.
“I saw this flighty, robust, crazy and sexual being,” said Gasparian. “I was sure I had it in me, but I wasn’t sure if I could bring it out.”
This doubt in her ability does not overshadow her confidence—a confidence that was reinforced through her years at ULV.
She recalls years of overlapping performances and practice after practice. At times, she would even be directing and starring in more than one performance.
“It helped me break through the barriers,” said Gasparian. “If I could do that all at once, then I knew I could do one play at a time.”
Gasparian also received vocal, movement, acting and directing training from some of the “best directors in the world,” while at ULV.
Among her teachers were Steve Kent, who will teach acting workshops this semester, Georgij Paro, Jane Dibbell and Dr. David Flaten.
“I learned so much from my professors. They still come to see me in my performances and that means a lot when you’re not even paying tuition,” she said.
After receiving her bachelor’s in theatre arts, with a minor in English, in 1993, Gasparian decided to take a much needed hiatus.
“One morning I woke up and for the first time in 23 years I had no class to go to,” said Gasparian.
After this transitional period, she began to pursue her lifelong dream of theatrical acting.
“I was determined to find a way to do what I like to do, and make money at the same time.”
Gasparian found a job that fit that description at Universal Studios. Her job as dresser gives her the opportunity to work with actors, rather than being one herself. She works with the costumes, wigs and make-up used in live performances and aids in quick changes.
Gasparian is thrilled that her two careers complement each other so well. Her true desire is to be in the limelight and as close to the audience as possible, whether it is in community theater or on Broadway.
“I was one of those kids that danced in my living room,” said Gasparian.
She took leading roles in theatrical productions beginning her freshman year in high school, and has done everything from dramas to musicals.
Acting is not easy for Gasparian and that is the one stereotype she wants to delete from the minds of the public.
“I think everyone needs to take just one acting course,” said Gasparian. “ It is made to look easy on the big screen, so people take it for granted.”
Gasparian never takes a performance for granted, especially not her own.
“Sometimes I stand backstage and think, ‘Why is it I do this again?’”
Whenever she begins to wonder why she puts herself through the backstage agony before a big performance, or why she is willing to compete tooth and nail in one of the most competitive careers in the world, she remembers the feeling at the end of a performance.
“When I take the curtain call, it all comes together. It is not necessarily the applause that does it, just the fact that I got on stage and became another person,” she said.