When you grab your biggest dictionary and look up the phrase "theater bug" the picture you see will be the one above.
It’s Cyndy Przybylski, 24 years old. A software engineer at Rockwell. A competitive cheerleader. About to show her wares for the first time in the prestigious Milwaukee generals, the audition day at the Milwaukee Rep where dozens of casting and artistic directors from around the state show up to look for talent.
And she’s been in two plays.
"I’ve got the bug," she said recently over a glass of wine at Black Sheep in Walker’s Point. "I’ve got it."
Ask an actor – any actor – about when they caught the acting bug and you’ll get all sorts of answers, ranging from being in a school play to from when they were a little kid to a class they took in school. I’d venture to say that nobody answers that question "when I finished my electrical engineering degree and was working with transients, OO programming and embedded systems."
This young woman came to my attention first when I saw the marvelous production of "Carrie" at Theater Unchained earlier this year. Then she was there again when the same company presented "The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical." Her next production is "Bare: A Pop Opera," at Soulstice Theatre.
She was obviously very new to the stage, but there was something about her that demanded attention.
In the Edna Ferber George S Kaufman play "Stage Door" one of the characters talks about that ineffable quality that some actors have on stage.
"If you saw Helen Hayes walking down the street you’d never notice her," the character said. "But if you put her on a stage it’s as if you had lighted a thousand incandescent lights behind her eyes."
This is not to say Przybylski is now, or ever will be, Helen Hayes. But she does have a certain magnetic quality on stage that is not something that can be taught.
And if teaching is the issue, there is ample proof that she understands the value of teaching and studying. In any theater resume, the actor always lists "skills," In her’s the skills are "positions in stunting, dancing, choreography, strength and flexibility skills."
In her regular resume she also lists skills.
"Basics: VHDL, C++ Programming, Quartus, Wireshark, AVRStudio. Intermediate: Multisim, SAP, IronPython Scripting, .NET, Wiresnake, Python. Extensive: MATLAB, C Programming, AutoCAD, Eclipse, Solidworks. Courses Completed: Advanced MATLAB Programming, Power Electronics, PLC’s, Steady State I and II, Transients, OO Programming, Embedded Systems, System Interfacing, Neural Networks. Built autonomous sumo fighting bot and placed in top 16 of competition out of 60"
So, it’s pretty clear that the concept of learning is not a foreign one to her and she realizes that will help her in the goal to become an actor.
"I have a scientific mind," she said.
And her approach to becoming an actor has a distinct scientific quality about it. She knows that knowledge is important and she has set about getting.
"I study voice," she said. "I can dance and from cheerleading know about choreography. My acting needs work. I wanted to try it in high school but it was too intimidating for me."
In some respects it’s hard to imagine this determined and accomplished 24-year-old being intimidated by anything. But she understands that being an actor is hard. It’s a tough business and especially tough if you want to be great.
"I’d like to see where this all goes," she says. "I’ve got a good job and am paying off my student loans. But acting has really gotten into my blood."
With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.
He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.
This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as OnMilwaukee.com keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.
Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.