Alysia Reiner Spills All On Dinette

I love that. I think that’s the heart of a true performer who’s in it for the right reasons. It’s like this passion, not like this, “I’m not too good for theater anymore.”

Oh my God. There is no such thing. Especially, there’s incredible content on YouTube, on TikTok, on Instagram. Content is art is art is art. Content is content is content. And I love it all. I love what Michaela Coel, who won the Emmy for “I May Destroy You,” … talked about [in her acceptance speech] about fitting in and success, and that these two things don’t necessarily need to meet. And for me, success is like making. On my bulletin board, it’s probably in there somewhere. I created the expression for myself, “Don’t wait, create.” Because when I was a young artist, my husband was a very, very, very successful white male. And he would get 10 auditions, and I would just sit there, waiting for one. And he got a lot of work when I just couldn’t even get an agent. And I had to teach myself, and it was deeply uncomfortable to go, “Okay. I have to make my own stuff to feel joyful as an artist.”

And I had to really get into the cells of my body that no art is better than any other art. And success is great. I’m using my “Ted Lasso” mug because I love when art gets celebrated, especially art about kindness and art that is written by friends of mine, like Ashley Nicole Black [who writes for “Ted Lasso”]. But I love, love, love when art gets celebrated, and it is such a hook for artists to feel like success is being celebrated and being lauded. Because success is making. Success is just doing, in my opinion. The thing that brings me joy and helps me sleep at night is the doing, not the Emmys. Like, don’t get me wrong — it’s all awesome! I love that stuff, and yes, more please.

But at the end of the day, you spend a lot more days on set and creating. And that has to be, for me, why I do it — the joy of creating, no matter what. This movie I did this summer was small budget and they’re hoping for Sundance; I sure would love that. But I had so much joy doing it, because I was working with fantastic people and I was telling the stories I’ve never told. And that’s how I feel about “Dinette.” The joy is in the doing for me, the art of it, the play of it, of like, “Oh, I like you. I want to play with you. This is fun. I feel safe playing with you.” And we’re telling a story that I think needs to be told, where we’re talking about things I really want to put forth in the world to help heal us as a planet.

On the topic of fun, you have a kind of softer, sultry dancing moment in one of the episodes, and they all end with a dance number to the theme song. Are you a dancer? Was that natural?

No! My mom was a ballerina with New York City Ballet when she was a kid. And so even though she quit when she was like 10, there was always this … I think mothers and daughters are super complicated, as you can see from “Better Things” and “Orange Is the New Black”; any brilliant writer is always talking about mothers and daughters, right? … I can go off, but I never wanted to be a dancer, because I felt like I’d never be as good as her. And I was also kind of a fat kid and teased, so I didn’t want to dance, because I wasn’t comfortable in my body, but behind closed doors … just like people sing in the shower, I would dance out … I was always like a Martha Graham girl. I was never excited about ballet or jazz or tap. Give me a little modern dance music, which could be really anything, and I’m so into it.

Same here. No choreography, but I can feel a little rhythm.

When I got married a very long time ago, because I met my husband when I was in school, we did dance lessons before the wedding. Like Fred Astaire, like that pack of 5 for $9.99 or whatever. And we got into the biggest fight, because he was just like, “Stop, stop moving your hips. I can’t concentrate.” So at least Drae [Campbell, who portrays Mick in “Dinette”] did not feel that way.


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