Ballard-native brings fun and frivolity to Teatro ZinZanni
There are many talents at Teatro ZinZanni but there’s one who stands out for being equally loved by the audience as she is feared and that’s Ballard’s very own Christine Deaver.
Born and raised in Ballard, Deaver now lives in Los Angeles and works as as an actor, singer, writer, director and voiceover artist. For four months out of the year she comes back to her hometown and performs under the Spiegeltent at Teatro ZinZanni.
In the current production “Hearts on Fire”, Deaver performs as three hilarious and salascious characters.
“I developed three different characters and the umbrella of the characters is that she’s considered the spirit of the party and her overall goal is to bring fun and frivolity to the tent,” Deaver said.
The characters are Penelope Wilde, a crazy psychic; Voluptuous Panic, a German dominatrix; and Juliet in search of Romeo through a game called Elizabethian Elimidates.
“ZinZanni is Cirque the Soleil meet Moulin Rouge,” said Deaver.
“I’ve had people come up to me and say, ‘I’m dying of cancer and I haven’t laughed so hard in the last year’ or ‘My husband just left me and for one night you made me forget all that.’ That’s the power of entertainment and the power of laughter. It’s a much needed necessity, I think.”
Deaver knew she wanted to be an entertainer ever since she was a young child.
“I remember my parents taking me to the Elks Club and seeing a Top 40 band. I was mesmerized and I remember thinking, ‘When I grow up, I want to be a night club act’,” she said.
Deaver received a Masters in acting from the University of Washington and moved through the ranks of Seattle’s community and professional theatre before she decided to seek success in L.A.
“Once I matured, I reevaluated what was important to me,” she said and bases her success on three questions. “Am I artistically fulfilled? Am I being challenged in my work, and do I still love it?”
“I meet people everyday that don’t like their work and I think life is too fragile, too short and too uncertain to do anything that you don’t want to. I have to love what I am doing. To me, that is my perimeters of failure,” Deaver said.
“That’s not to say I’ve never done a gig purely for the money. Sometimes you go, ‘What will I get out of it? I’ll get my mortgage payment out of it.’”
But what Deaver loves most, she said, is live performance.
“There’s nothing like a live audience, especially when you’re doing comedy,” she said.
There’s a lot of improvisation in her act at Teatro ZinZanni and it’s largely dependent on the members of audience.
“It’s different every night because you never know who you’re going to pick in the audience. I’m basically the person everyone is afraid of,” Deaver grinned. “There’s quite a bit expected of the poor little guy who came thinking he was just going to have dinner and see a show.”
Starring at a Teatro ZinZanni for her seventh year, Deaver said that some of her favorite characters to play have been at ZinZanni, including Voluptuous Panic.
“It’s been a wonderful chapter in my performance work. It’s very challenging and it keeps me on my toes,” she said. “I think it’s very important that you do something, at least once a year, that absolutely scares the crap out of you and when I first came to ZinZanni it did that for me.”
Another part of why Deaver enjoys performing at Teatro ZinZanni is being in Seattle, which she still considers her home.
“When I was in Ballard, it was drunk fisherman and little old ladies that drove 13 miles per hour,” Deaver said. “Everytime I come back I’m amazed how Ballard has changed.
“If I wasn’t in showbizz I would live here full-time but I just can’t make the living I want to make living here.
“I miss Northwest climate. I miss all the green. I miss that the people are very real. When I come home there’s always such a sense of nostalgia so it’s always nice to revisit that,” Deaver said. “And Dick’s. A Dicks Deluxe with fries and a chocolate shake. It’s a staple. You gotta have it.”
Deaver will be performing in “Heart on Fire” until January 23rd.