The Acting Lesson
nytheatre.com q&a preview by Kitty Hendrix
October 12, 2012
What is your job on this show?
When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
I am one of the lucky few who was exposed to and hired by a professional theater company as a child apprentice. I grew up in Carmel California at a time when there was tremendous funding and interest in the arts and particularly theater. The productions were lavish, attendance was high and the artists I got to work and train with were noted nationally and top notch. So I got tremendous training and opportunities and thought that it was like this everywhere. There was never a time when I consciously decided to work in the theater. It was just what I did from age 12 on, the way kids now compete in sports. For me, the theater became my church, my community and my home. This is why I love playing the role of Maddy Hogan in The Acting Lesson. That is also who she is.
Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
I do film and television. I know very few actors anymore who can afford to exclusively work in the theater. There is more money to be made in less time for an actor working in film and television. I enjoy all of these mediums as an actor but theater is where I am able to really challenge my technique. After I do two hours on stage non-stop with only one other actor (The Acting Lesson)everything else is gravy!
In your own words, what do you think this show is about? What will audiences take away with them after seeing it?
This is a play about mentors and students and how complicated that relationship can become. It is about erasing boundaries that exist in gender, age, wealth, power and education. This play questions all of the standards that we have grown to accept and yet because the playwright Wesley St John is such a master with words it never gets preachy or one sided. Every night there are audience members visibly moved to tears who approach us and thank us for the experience. What more can I say? I am grateful to be part of the experience.
Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
All of the above. What more could you want? A SEXY SMART renowned drama coach and a SURPRISING explosive rugged and ultimately SMOOTH committed young actor.
Theater is a necessary ingredient in democratic societies. Do you agree or disagree, and why?
I agree.Throughout the ages theater has been a component of social change in both democratic and nondemocratic societies. If you get together a group of living breathing people and they enact something for and with each other you have theater. You also have a group of people with a shared experience and a platform where it is safe to express ideas and issues. In spite of all of the technological advances we are now living with and how these compete with our focus when it comes to entertainment, the theater provides nourishment and generates ideas on more levels than anything else. It isn't going anywhere but it may morph into new forms. That's OK. The principals remain the same.