Bree Klauser is a New York based singer, actress, voiceover artist, songwriter and funny lady who happens to be born legally blind. She grew up 30 miles from NYC fell in love with singing and performing through musical theatre and later on the Jazz greats of the 40s, 50s, and 50s. She earned her BFA in acting from Brooklyn College. She has spent the past several years being mentored by former Metropolitan Opera singer Francisco Casanova, and has studied with many other coaches and Broadway musical directors. She has worked extensively in New York Theatre and is a member of the Off Broadway company Theatre Breaking Through Barriers.
In 2018 Bree Klauser started production on her breakout role of “Matal” in See, a new series starring Jason Momoa, available now on the Apple TV+ streaming service. We chatted with her about See, working with Jason, her singing and vocal career and how she feels about being one of three low-vision actors on the set of See.
Tell us about the role of Matal in See. Who is she and what motivates her?
Matal is a member of the Alkenny Tribe (the hero tribe we follow in the series led by Jason in the series). She is a warrior but not your typical grunt on the front line. She is respected in the village and by the tribe’s warriors, a “Presage” which is someone who had an extrasensory ability to feel emotions and intention in the air, by the slightest shift of the mind. I compare her ability to one who is an empath, and this ability makes her a part of the tactical division of the tribe’s band of warriors.
What was a production like on the set of See in terms of playing a blind character when you identify as a PWD?
I am proud to be one of the three low vision actors recurring in this series, providing authentic representation to low vision/blind characters. I’m particularly excited that this show shows blind characters in a way we have never seen blind people portrayed in the media before, as three-dimensional humans who have no sense of victim-hood and rely on no one beside themselves to survive in this post-apocalyptic wilderness.
Without giving anything away, how much does your character interact with Jason Momoa’s Baba Voss?
She is part of the tactical support in the Alkenny tribe. She is one of his many advisers on the battlefield.
Describe what it’s like to work with Jason?
It was such a joy and privilege to work alongside Jason for months on this project, especially as an actor this early in my career. He is a tremendously supportive person for the entire ensemble and is fantastic at keeping the morale up on set when we would have our many cold wet days covered in mud in the Canadian wilderness. There were many times he would come to the make up trailer and congratulate us on a job well done and a warm hug. He’s a real chill dude and such a teddy bear.
Any funny set stories with Jason or the other cast members?
I remember we had a chaotic day with the second unit director and a huge scene with many different moving parts. Me addressing Jason’s character was one of the many smaller moving parts that had to happen, and I think it was one of the first days I had an actual dialog on this set. Needless to say, with all the chaos happening around me and this production being my first big rodeo in film and television (I’ve only been a theatre actress before this) I was a little intimidated. Before we shot my bit of the scene Jason in his usual light-hearted jovial manner turned to me and said, “okay don’t F@%k this up Bree”, totally understanding his sense of humor. When we were done with the shot, in a low gruff voice he gave me a thumbs up and a’ Nice job”. It meant a lot to me at that moment.
What do you want people to take away from See after watching the entire first season?
I certainly hope they are thrilled by it, but it’s an emotional story and family and tribes as larger families. I hope it touches their hearts as much as it gets them excited for all the action. I hope to come along this journey with these characters in this world, unlike anything we have seen in fiction. Finally, I hope this show begins a massive paradigm shift for the perception of people with disabilities, especially affected by blindness. So many equate blindness or loss of sight with their world ending or death, but I think that will all change when people see these characters truly living, and not just surviving, but thriving.
With a second season of See confirmed, can we expect to see more of Matal or is that a spoiler?
I cannot comment on that at this moment.
Do you believe the skills involved in being a songwriter and musician has translated well to being an actress?
I think rhythm and musicality are very essential skills that translate seamlessly from music to acting. In this project for me that went beyond just words for me. We have thought in movement training in pre-production, that each tribe in this world had their own unique way of moving through space and a pattern to their gait. I was able to tap into to this immediately for Matal and create a musicality in her movement that was all her own, especially when she is using her presage ability.
Do you believe See can help launch the careers of other creatives who have visual impairments?
I hope, with a second season coming up they increase the number of blind low vison actors accurately by tenfold. I’ve heard people in the industry complain when trying to authentically cast blind/low vision characters that the numbers/talent isn’t out there and every time I hear that I want to laugh. I know for a fact there are dozens, if not hundreds, of us out there, because like anyone whose different-abled, we know that hardship and unique perceptive in life breeds a good storyteller.
With acting, voice-overs, music, and improv, what’s your favorite creative outlet?
Oh god, that’s tough! They all serve such an important function to my creative life and I’ve learned crucial artistic skills for each medium. Being on set is like running a marathon, while performing on stage is training as a sprinter. Music will always be my first love and passion, but like so many of us I had a very difficult time to make a viable career out of this particular passion, but I feel like at the center of all of it, the best way for me to contribute to the world is by being a storyteller, whether script or unscripted, on mic or on camera or on stage, storytelling is at the heart of all of these.
How do you use social media and what is your favorite platform?
I’m addicted to Instagram…follow me @Breeklauser.
Let us know what upcoming projects you have and where we can see you next?
I’m really excited to be starring in a lead role in one of Audible’s new Audible Originals, in a new series called “Phreaks”, that will be released in early 2020. Check out breeklauser.com for upcoming details on this project TBA.
“Homewrecker” her self-produced music video for her project Bree And The Whatevers, has received international press online. For many year she has been the front woman and chief songwriter of this music project, which has had the opportunity to play all over NYC as well as regionally.. Alongside her own music projects she performed as both back up lead vocals for cover bands, jazz trios and cabarets, for parties, cooperate and fundraising events. Notable venues include, The Bitter End, The Knitting factor, The New York Stock Exchange, The Triad, and The HBO Theatre.
As a song writer, Bree Klauser has gotten the chance to collaborate with musicians from Berkley College of Music as well as producers whose credits include: Sean Lennon, Yoko Ono, Mary J Blige, Gladys Knight, and Patty Smith. Bree is an affiliate on the UK based label / international artist Collective Montiel Records. She is also alumnus of The Visionary Media Songwriters Collective from 2013-2016. Bree has had the opportunity to provide vocals and her writing talents for other artists’ projects ranging from Hip-Hop to Holiday Music.
If that weren’t enough she has also added voice over artist to her extensive resume with providing her expressive voice to animation and commercial projects.
We thank Bree Klauser for taking the time to chat with us! She can be found on Instagram, Facebook, and her website. You can also check out her music and vocalist tracks on YouTube, SoundCloud and Vimeo.
In the far future, a virus has decimated humankind. Those who survived emerged blind. Jason Momoa stars as Baba Voss, the father of twins born centuries later with the mythic ability to see—who must protect his tribe against a powerful yet desperate queen who believes it’s witchcraft and wants them destroyed. Alfre Woodard also stars as Paris, Baba Voss’ spiritual leader.
Coming November 1 to the Apple TV app with an Apple TV+ subscription: http://apple.co/_See
Trailer with audio descriptions: https://youtu.be/03RAKJipMeM
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