Saturday, November 8, 2014

Spotlight On...Em Grosland

Name: Em Grosland                  

Hometown: Elgin, Illinois

Education: BFA from Washington University in St. Louis

Select Credits: Off-Broadway: Eve Ensler’s Emotional Creature, and The Anthem (Hermes). Regional Theatre: Berkeley Rep, Stages St. Louis, Florida Studio Theatre, Totem Pole Playhouse, Candlelight Pavilion, Fullerton Civic Light Opera, Cape Fear Regional Theatre, and The Los Angeles Opera. TV and Film: "Law & Order SVU"

Why theater?: When I first decided to pursue theatre as my career, it was honestly just because I loved it. However, I have seen over and over just how powerful theatre can be to instigate change. I truly believe in the power of theatre to challenge people’s ideas, start important conversations, and create a space for people and ideas that were previously invisible or avoided.  

Who do you play in The Erlkings?: Eric Harris

Tell us about The Erlkings: The Erlkings is a new play by Nathaniel Shipiro that explores the days, and months leading up to the attack on Columbine in 1999. The text is primarily pieced together from actual writings from the two boys (Eric Harris and Dylan Klybold) who committed the murders.  

What is it like being a part of The Erlkings?: I’m not gonna lie, it’s rough. I have been delving into a lot of research about the attack, the victims, and the boys. I have read all of Eric’s journals and they are not easy to stomach. I am not naturally a very angry person, so stepping into the Eric’s shoes is exhausting. He carries so much hatred and anger. There are times that it makes me physically ill to say some of the things that he wrote. But working with this incredible cast is a joy. James Scully, Blair Baker, Matthew Bretschneider, Jonathan Iglesias, Reynaldo Piniella, and Kayla Wickes are all so inspiring. They each bring so much life to their many characters, and are so insightful during our table discussions.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I love theatre that aims to effect change. Activist theatre gets me excited to be a part of this business. New work that tackles difficult subjects and causes us to rethink our assumptions about gender, politics, sexuality, or race. But I have to admit; I also love the occasional happy little musical that provides a respite from reality. 

Any roles you’re dying to play?: Yentl (the play version), Romeo, and Jack in Into the Woods.

What’s your favorite show tune?: "Wig in a Box" from Hedwig

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?:  Diane Paulus and Lisa Kron.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?:  Child version of me: Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, Teen me: Tom Phelan (currently on The Fosters), Adult me: Myself.  Future me: Ellen. I would title it: "Gray Area"

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Fun Home.

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: MIKA’s "Grace Kelly"

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Watching "Project Runway" and eating fast food.

What’s up next?: I have a scene in the upcoming film “Ricki and the Flash”, starring Meryl Streep.