I am playing Becky, a 17-year old and the niece of Sterling. Becky is in many ways a regular teenage girl. She is popular and outgoing and her world is very small. But she also has this childish quality that is beautiful and unique. Sometimes it comes in the form of her wildness, her unfiltered view of everything. Other times it is her sweetness and vulnerability. She is extremely likable and also larger than life.
How have you been preparing to take on this role?
I have written in my journal as Becky, writing down observations as she sees them, both in the world and in reaction to things pulled directly from the script. I have worked to access truthfully the outgoing talkative side of me, which I am not far from, but I often lack the uncensored aspects. Her total freedom in herself is really inspiring, and I've thought a lot about that letting go. I wrote about all of Becky's senses, because her reactions to the world have a visceral relationship to what she takes in through her senses.
Is there anything about playing Becky that intimidates you?
Even though I am still very much going through the crises of my teenage years, when I play a teenager I feel a bit of separation from the character so I am able to have empathy. I care very deeply about Becky, and I want to make others care about her as well. What is scary is embodying her pain in a way that does not seem trivial or juvenile.
What excites you about working on SLOWGIRL?
I have never had a role of this magnitude set against such an intimate story. I am so excited to start this work with Paul and Robin. I have worked with Paul before, and cherish the level of comfort and trust between us. I know I am going to be facing challenges as an actor I've never encountered, but I'm excited to be challenged by people whose artistic integrity and expertise I have complete faith in. I know I am doing what I love when the opportunity to put myself out there and be so vulnerable, as a character and as a learning actor, fills me with a sort of giddy excitement.
What is your favorite line in the play?
When Becky says "Thanks for having me."
I believe it is genuinely meant and not a mere formality. It sets her apart from a regular teenager (not that there is such thing...). Her ability to be both completely wrapped up in her own social world and still have such sensitivity is astonishing to me. Many teenagers brush off the kindness of adults, and feel their intrusion into the kid's lives is smothering. But Becky has this special appreciation for her uncle, and her sincerity really affects me. It was that line that really made me love her.
What would you like the audience to be thinking about after the show?
Why are these two people important? I hope the show will provoke reflection about the significance of this story. It really is moving, and the troubles these two characters go through are at once trivial and profoundly human, thus universally relatable.
Why should someone come to see this play?
There is a great deal of hope in this story. The relationship between Sterling and Becky can be excruciating, but every little resolution, as well as the grander, vaguer resolutions resound triumphantly. This is a story about humans provoking and protecting each other. And this show is funny. This teenager makes her uncle very uncomfortable.