Lela Elam is probably the most intense working actor in Florida. Her characters are lived-in, internally consistent, and fiercely themselves; no two are alike, and not one is much like anybody you've ever met. Which is why Elam was also a close contender for Best Actress for her portrayal of a hard-of-hearing, free-spirited lesbian in New Theatre's Fill Our Mouths, as well for her few moments onstage at The 24 Hour Theatre Project as a beauty-obsessed mall-rat surgery-freak with no morals. But she had more lines in In the Continuum than in either of those pieces (it was a two-woman show), more time to cover her character with layers and fill her with life. In the Continuum found Elam portraying a Los Angeles teenager impregnated and infected with HIV by her love-'em-and-leave-'em high school star athlete boyfriend. What audiences found in her was a girl with eyes wide open, forced to witness her own life and dreams and future being sold on the cheap. She overcooked nothing yet held nothing back, and the performance was devastating. People filing out of the big theater at The Biltmore didn't know what to say to each other.