What are some of the differences in the rehearsal process between a typical UW-Parkside show and this experience at MCT?
At UW-P, we rehearse for 4-7 weeks, 5 days per week, for four hours. At MCT, we've been rehearsing 6 hours per day, on weekdays and 8 hours each day on the weekends (with Mondays off). At first I thought it would be difficult to adjust to a typical Equity schedule, but it's actually been a great experience. I really enjoy utilizing all 6 to 8 hours, diving into the character and being able to remain in the moment for hours. Also, working with professionals is a very different experience in a positive way: rehearsals are focused and I really feel the need to be the best I can be all the time, because they're wholly dedicated.
Tell us your first reaction upon reading BUS STOP.
I read BUS STOP aloud with another student as my first experience with William Inge. I was surprised at how well Inge captured the essence of each person's background. For instance, my character, Cherie, comes from the Ozarks and you can definitely hear it in her speech patterns, both in her dialect and in her diction. The story is so fascinating because it's so inclusive: these people are trapped in a single place together because of a snowstorm. There's this magical kind of fate feeling to the entire plot, while the characters remain rooted in reality. I remember being fascinated.
What is it like to act on stage with your professor?
Seeing Jamie [Cheatham, UW-P acting professor] act and acting with him is a little like watching all my acting classes flash before my eyes. I remember certain lectures where he emphasized utilizing certain techniques and I see him putting those into action. It's also much more relaxed than I imagined. Jamie has been my director on previous shows, so he knows what I struggle with as an actor. Having an acting partner who understands that feels really good. I've also found that this has been an amazing opportunity to ask more about acting than I ever have before. While we struggle together on a particular scene, I'm able to ask questions, and he's able to answer both as a professor and as a fellow actor.
What have you learned as a student/performer during the course of rehearsal?
As a performer, I've learned how to be compassionate and generous to my fellow cast-mates. I've learned how to better communicate myself to a director. I've learned how to relax into a role and just have fun, even when you're doing something that is really, really scary (i.e. my solo song). I've learned how to focus my energy and concentrate on technique in a new way. I've learned how to contribute, not only to the director's and my own vision, but also to the playwright's vision. I've also RE-learned how much I love acting.
I really appreciate my time at MCT and most of all, I'm really excited to share both Cherie and BUS STOP with Milwaukee!!