Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Spotlight On...Josephine Wheelwright
Education: St Ann's School, Yale, The William Esper Studio
Select Credits: Varvara in The Storm, The Abbes in If the Saints Arrive in Germany, several classical roles with the Faux-Real Theatre Company.
Why theater?: The theater demands so much hard work, but at the same time rewards you for every ounce you put in. That’s a lot of satisfaction. Plus it’s so darn fun and so darn good for society. There can be a lot of dissonance between people’s inner and outer realities. Theater’s job is to peek under that hood, which is a great kindness. In my experience, when you’re acting well, you’re engaging all the same qualities it takes to be a good person. Even if the character is despicable and selfish, if you’re doing your job, you’re being honest and open, tuned into your surroundings. It’s not easy doing that, which is why so many people in the world don’t, and are instead closed off from each other. And I imagine it’s why actors have a reputation for going crazy.
Tell us about If the Saints Arrive in Germany: It's an historical play set during the protestant reformation. I was so impressed and flattered when Eric sent it to me. It's bold subject matter that you don't usually see in independent theater. And why not?
What is it like being a part of If the Saints Arrive in Germany?: It’s a blast. Vocal, a lot of singing and laughing. Which is impressive considering it’s a play about 16th century nuns.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Great performances inspire me. Anywhere, anyhow. This year I’ve been inspired by a lot of cross-dressing performances. One of the best performances I’ve ever seen was Samuel Barnett as Viola in Twelfth Night. He definitively expanded my concept of beauty. I’m in love. I also loved Taylor Mac in The Good Person of Szechuan. What’s so cool about Taylor Mac is that he’s like a gentle vacuum. He effortlessly but authoritatively draws your attention and gaze to him. It’s like a super power. Otherwise I would have to say I like theater that has a little something off about it. Some tang, like it’s been left out on the kitchen table all night.
Any roles you’re dying to play?: It's one of my dreams in life to play a zombie.
What’s your favorite showtune?: That one from Cats. It's embarrassing how many times I saw Cats as a kid. Next question.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Woah, that's really hard. I haven't worked with so many people! I might have to say Heidi Schreck cause she seems like one of the nicest people ever and I have fantasies about her being my big sister.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Why not Samuel Barnett? He's amazing. It would be called, “Why Won’t My Soul Stop Krumping”. Or "Not as bad as I like to think it is."
What show have you recommended to your friends?: Lots! The Good Person of Szechuan, anything by Clubbed Thumb, off the top of my head.
What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: An ambient rain sounds track that I use to go to sleep at night.
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: I eat ice cream for breakfast every morning. I don’t feel guilty about it though.
What’s up next?: I’m going to finish the Brothers Karamazov in Russian.