Alana Arenas joined the Steppenwolf Theatre Company ensemble in 2007 and created the role of Pecola Breedlove for the Steppenwolf for Young Adults production of The Bluest Eye, which also played at the New Victory Theater off Broadway. She recently appeared in Belleville, Head of Passes, Good People, Three Sisters, The March, Man in Love, Middletown, The Hot L Baltimore, The Etiquette of Vigilance, The Brother/Sister Plays (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); Disgraced (American Theater Company); and The Arabian Nights (Lookingglass Theatre Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Kansas City Repertory Theatre). Other theater credits include The Tempest, The Crucible, Spare Change, The Sparrow Project (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); Black Diamond (Lookingglass Theatre Company); Eyes (eta Creative Arts); SOST (MPAACT); WVON (Black Ensemble Theater); and Hecuba (Chicago Shakespeare Theater). Television and film credits include Boss, The Beast, Kabuku Rides and Lioness of Lisabi. She is originally from Miami, Florida where she began her training at the New World School of the Arts. Alana holds a BFA from The Theatre School at DePaul University.
Watch & Listen
Q & A With Alana Arenas
How did becoming a Steppenwolf ensemble member change your career?
It dramatically changed, because one of the things about acting is that it’s a very, very unpredictable lifestyle and being a company member somewhere, having an artistic home, it’s nice because there’s an opportunity for you to always see theater. Especially in my company, there’s a lot of people there that I look up to, that I admire, so there’s an opportunity to always be inspired to do better and be sort of fed, artistically, and I have to say that my company has also been very generous with offering me roles, so it’s been a really huge benefit to me.
How is it working with ensemble members Tracy Letts and Anna Shapiro as a team?
I feel like working with Tracy and Anna is—you are on the US Olympic team for theater. You are working with champs. There was actually a point in the process where I thought, ‘You could give them anything and it would be amazing.’ If they’re in the room together it doesn’t matter what play it is, they’re going to ride you, encourage you, inspire you to give the audience an experience that is human, that is true. These are people who are really approaching the work with an extreme amount of passion and respect for the art and for the craft. So these aren’t people who are O.K. with ‘Well, we’ll throw up this play in time and then it’s O.K. if everything doesn’t work out.’ These are people who are striving not for it just to work out, but for it to work out well. And they inspire you to do the same.
Credits & Awards
Te Lioness of Lisabi, Kubuku Rides (This Is It)
Arabian Nights (Berkley Rep and Kansas City Rep), Hecuba (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), Late Bus to Mecca (Eclipse), Black Diamond, Eyes, The Way We Were, WVON, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Love’s Labour’s Lost, SOST, Notes from the Bottletree and Final Angel.