Carisa Barreca is a resident actor on The Second City's e.t.c Stage. She is one of six cast members of "A Clown Car Named Desire," which was actually just nominated for a Jeff Award. She is a graduate of Marquette University and has been a performer for most of her life. She is truly the kindest of souls and such a delight. She carved out time to sit down with me and talk a little bit about her journey through Second City and "A Clown Car Named Desire."
You moved to Chicago to pursue The Second City Conservatory program after working in professional theatre in Milwaukee for the better part of a year. Why?
Growing up, I always wanted to work at Second City.
So you moved to Chicago for the Conservatory program and what else did you do?
I also got a job at Second City. I would host and sell merchandise most nights so I could watch all the shows. I'd take classes on Tuesdays, work nights at Second City Wednesday-Saturday and during the day I opened a gym and I was the receptionist. That was my job. I got there at like 6am, worked until about 3pm, came home, took a nap and then came to Second City and worked from about 5pm to midnight. Then I'd go home and do it again the next day.
How long did you keep that up for?
Way longer than a human should...about two years.
Sheesh, so after a few years of show after show, you finally got invited to audition for a Second City boat.
Yes. I auditioned and it took a while to hear back anything, but I finally got my first boat. I quit my job and I spent two contracts on boats and then I got back and things just started rolling.
So you've been in a number of shows including "What The Tour Guide Didn't Tell You," "The Second City's Guide to The Opera" and now you're on e.t.c. So far, what has been the most rewarding experience in your time with Second City?
Honestly, I never thought I'd be on a stage here because there's so much talent in this building. I almost resigned myself to just being proud to be a part of this building. So the day I got asked to be on e.t.c was the best thing. Being a part of the process and creating a show together, that has been the best and most rewarding thing I've ever done.
Congratulations lady. I mean "A Clown Car Named Desire" is a great show.
Aww, thank you, I love it!
So what is this life like, being a part of e.t.c? Is it everything you always dreamed it would be?
It's incredible. I mean, some days you do get tired, because it's a grueling schedule, but I've always made a vow to myself that I won't complain. There are so many people that want this, so to complain just feels like a betrayal to those people. Every night, when we take a bow, I remind myself, "You're lucky and you're living your dream." Sometimes we need those reminders, because I am, I'm so lucky and I'm living my dream.
You can see Carisa living her dream, Thursdays through Sundays on The Second City's e.t.c Stage along side cast members Punam Patel, Brooke Breit, Chris Witaske, Mike Kosinski and Michael Lehrer.
Read the full interview with Carisa on Life's A Funny Scene.
Read more about Carisa's time at Marquette at Marquette Magazine.