“The lunatic, the lover, and the poet, are of imagination all compact.” ~William Shakespeare, Mid-Summer Night’s Dream, 1595
Suraya’s Acting Bio:
Born in New York, Suraya first began acting in college, where she performed in a range of shows, including the ancient and powerful tale of The Bacchae of Euripides to the fantastic and colorful Jesus Christ Superstar. Suraya later moved to North Carolina, where she she first began training in the art of improvisation. Since moving to the Bay Area, Suraya has continued her acting training at various local schools, including the American Conservatory Theater, the San Francisco Acting Academy and Jeffrey Bihr Studios. In 2001, she completed a one-year intensive training in the Meisner technique with Rachael Adler. During the summer of 2005, she participated in an acting internship with Marin Shakespeare Company, and was seen in several of the company’s mainstage productions, including “The Comedy of Errors,” “The Knight of the Burning Pestle” and “Romeo and Juliet.” Inspired by her deepening interest in the work of Shakespeare, Suraya participated in an extraordinary month long acting training with Shakespeare & Company in Massachusetts.
The qualities of presence and connection are ones which Suraya brings on a continual basis to her stage and film work. Since moving to the Bay Area in 1996, Suraya has acted with a variety of Bay Area Theater Companies. Some favorite roles include Tina in the long-running San Francisco production of “Tony-n-Tina’s Wedding” at the Cable Car Theater, Cassie in Neil Simon’s “Rumors”, and Dory in “Sex, Death and Aerobics” at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. She has also portrayed Judy Garland in “LSMFT” (Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco) by Gary Michael White, and Miami in “Seduced” by Sam Shephard with the Actors Ensemble of Berkeley. More recently, Suraya played the lead role of Samantha in the very wacky and poignant musical comedy “Zen Boyfriends,” a play inspired by the experiences of Bay Area writer and teacher Mariana Caplan.
In recent years, Suraya has also dared the world of solo performance by writing and performing two solo plays. Her first solo show, “Dark Days and Sunny Nights,” delves into the hilarious stickiness of a double life lived by a young woman trying to support herself financially by working in the sex industry while pursuing a PhD as a psychologist. Suraya’s second solo show, “From Prison to Peru: A White Girl’s Journey Home,” examines Suraya’s personal encounters with death, drug addicts and prisoners as she attempts to find beauty in a broken world. In 2014, Suraya’s performed a first run of her newest solo show, “Turbulence,” and will perform an expanded version of “Turbulence” in the fall of 2015.
Through her years of theater training and performance, Suraya has come to value the very important qualities of presence, authenticity and spontaneity, both as an actress and as a human being. She is grateful to all of the teachers, directors and other actors she has worked with through the years for continuing to inspire her and deepen her belief in the power of the creative force in all of us.
For more information about current and future projects that Suraya is working on, please see “Upcoming Shows and Events” page.