The Motherf**ker with the Hat
By Stephen Adly Guirgis
Directed by David R. Gammons
September 14 – October 13, 2012
A 2011 Tony nominee for Best Play, The Motherf**cker with the Hat is a ferociously funny play about love, fidelity, and facing one’s demons. Ex-con Jackie thinks he has finally turned his life around now that he’s sober and has a new job. But when he finds a strange hat in his girlfriend’s apartment, he is back on the brink in this razor-sharp new comedy from the author of Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train and The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.
Estimated Run Time 1 hour, 55 minutes without intermission
Contains Nudity and Adult Content
JAIME CARRILLO (Jackie) SpeakEasy: debut. New York credits include King Lear, MARAT/SADE, Macbeth, Mother Courage and Her Children, and Dream on Monkey Mountain (Classical Theatre of Harlem); Red Beads (Mabou Mines); The Vultures, Offending the Audience, and I.E., in other words (The Flea Theatre); Oedipus Rex (Faux-Real Theatre). Regional credits include GALA Hispanic Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Studio Theatre, The Strindberg Festival, and The Fort Point Theatre Channel. TV credits: “School Spirits” (Syfy); “Red Rum” (Discovery ID). Training: Graduate, The William Esper Studio; B.A. with honors in Theater Arts from Brandeis University.
EVELYN HOWE (Veronica) SpeakEasy: debut. Evelyn was recently seen playing Shahrazad in Central Square Theater’s production of Arabian Nights, a role she will be reprising this coming November. Past roles include: Natalya in The Three Sisters, Evelyn in The Shape of Things, Argon in The Hypochondriac, White Fang in Jon Lipsky’s musical adaptation of Call of the Wild, which was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, Hamlet in Hamlet, and Mouth in Samuel Beckett’s Not I.
MELINDA LOPEZ (Victoria) SpeakEasy: Anna in the Tropics, Theater District, and American Daughter (director). Boston credits include: A Month in the Country, The Rose Tattoo (Huntington Theatre); A Girls War, The Oil Thief (Boston Playwrights Theatre). Melinda is also an award-winning playwright. Her plays include Sonia Flew, Gary, and Orchids to Octopi. She teaches theatre and performance at Wellesley College and playwriting at Boston University.
MAURICE EMMANUEL PARENT (Ralph D) is ecstatic to be working with SpeakEasy again after earning an Elliot Norton Award for performances in SpeakEasy’s production of Some Men, Angels in America (Boston Theatre Works) and The Wild Party (New Rep). Boston area: Coriolanus (Commonwealth Shakespeare Co.); Troilus and Cressida, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Coriolanus, King John (Actors’ Shakespeare Project); Rent, Passing Strange, Ragtime, Cabaret (New Repertory Theatre); Man of La Mancha (Lyric Stage). Other Credits: The Rink starring Leslie Uggams and Janet Metz (Cape Playhouse); The Good War dir. David H. Bell and Craig Carnelia (York Theatre); Resident Acting Company, Actors’ Shakespeare Project.
ALEJANDRO SIMOES (Cousin Julio) SpeakEasy: debut. Boston credits include Recent Tragic Events, Aunt Dan and Lemon (Whistler in the Dark); Hideous Progeny, Melancholy Play (Holland Productions); Paperbag Princess, Shh! (New Exhibition Room); Travesties, Romeo & Juliet, Misalliance (The Publick Theatre); Titus Andronicus (Actors’ Shakespeare Project); The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth (Commonwealth Shakespeare Co.); King John (Shakespeare & Company); Olly's Prison; Dido, Queen of Carthage (A.R.T.). He trained at Shakespeare & Company, Southwick Studio, and Northeastern University.
JEFF ADELBERG (Lighting Design) SpeakEasy: Next to Normal; Red; reasons to be pretty; Nine; Body Awareness; Adding Machine: A Musical (Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Design); [title of show]; Blackbird; The New Century; The Little Dog Laughed; Fat Pig. Other recent work: The Hotel Nepenthe (IRNE Award), Medea, Anthony and Cleopatra, Timon of Athens, The Duchess of Malfi (IRNE Award) (Actors’ Shakespeare Project); Four Places (Merrimack Repertory Theatre); Buddy Cop 2, I Capture The Castle, 42nd Street, The Rimers of Eldritch, Gaslight (Stoneham Theatre); The Balcony, The Full Monty, L'Enfant et les Sortileges and L'Heure Espagnole, The Factory Girls, The Mikado, Twelfth Night, Rent, La Rondine, Machinal (The Boston Conservatory); Volta, Chicago, Permanent Fatal Errors (Concord Academy); Sexual Perversity in Chicago, The Duck Variations (American Repertory Theater) and Boston's Christmas Revels since 2010. Jeff attended the University of Connecticut and teaches at Boston College. www.LDJeff.com
GAIL ASTRID BUCKLEY** (Costume Design) Recent SpeakEasy designs: Xanadu; Red; reasons to be pretty; In the Next Room (or the vibrator play); Adding Machine: A musical (2010 Elliot Norton Award – Outstanding Design); The Savannah Disputation; Blackbird; The New Century; The History Boys; The Little Dog Laughed; The Mystery of Edwin Drood; The Women; and Fat Pig. Recent work includes: Carnival, The Norman Conquest, 9 Circles, (Gloucester Stage Company); The Full Monty, Steel Magnolias, (Stoneham Theatre); Remembering HM (Underground Railway); Photograph 51, Hysteria (Nora Theatre); Art (New Rep); A Christmas Carol (Hanover Theatre); and The Balcony (The Boston Conservatory). Gail received the 2002 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Costume Design, the 2002 IRNE Award for Costume Design for Twelfth Night at Commonwealth Shakespeare Company; and the 2006 IRNE Award for Costume Design for her work on both Caroline, or Change and The Women for SpeakEasy.
PAUL DAIGNEAULT (Producing Artistic Director). The Motherf**ker with the Hat brings the number of shows that Paul has produced at SpeakEasy to 101! SpeakEasy directing highlights include: Xanadu; Next to Normal; Nine; Body Awareness; The Great American Trailer Park Musical; [title of show]; The Savannah Disputation; Jerry Springer - The Opera; The New Century; Some Men; Zanna, Don't!; Parade (2008 Elliot Norton Award – Outstanding Director , Midsize Company); The Mystery of Edwin Drood; Almost, Maine; Caroline, or Change; Take Me Out; Company; Elegies: A Song Cycle; A Man of No Importance (co-production Súgán); Bat Boy: The Musical (2003 Elliot Norton Award – Outstanding Director, Small Company); Passion; A New Brain; Violet; Merrily We Roll Along; Songs for a New World; Floyd Collins; Jeffrey; and Love! Valour! Compassion! Regional credits: Grand Hotel and Nine (The Boston Conservatory and Cincinnati Conservatory of Music); Rent, City of Angels and Sunday in the Park with George (The Boston Conservatory); and Into the Woods, Urinetown and Blue Window (Boston College). Paul is also on the faculty at The Boston Conservatory. In 2007, Paul was honored with the Boston College Arts Council's Alumni Award for Distinguished Achievement. Last season Paul was again back at Boston College where he served as the 2011-2012 Rev. J. Donald Monan S. J. Professor in Theatre Arts.
LAUREN DUFFY (Props Supervisor) is happy to be returning to SpeakEasy, having previously worked on Adding Machine: A Musical. Other select credits include Little Shop of Horrors; A Christmas Story; afterlife: a ghost story; Frankie and Johnny and the Claire de Lune; and Boston Marriage for New Repertory Theatre. She has served as a scenic artist and properties coordinator for Boston Children's Theatre as well as properties coordinator for Central Square Theatre, Stoneham Theatre, and New Repertory Theatre. Lauren is also Charge Artist for the Des Moines Metro Opera in Iowa. She holds a BFA in Studio Art. Originally from New Hampshire, Ms. Duffy currently resides in Boston.
MARC FRANKLIN (Production Assistant) is excited to be a part of his first SpeakEasy Stage production! Boston College: The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (Director); Doubt, a Parable (Stage Manager); Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Stage Manager); Reefer Madness (Stage Manager); Isn’t It Romantic (Stage Manager); and All’s Well That End’s Well (Stage Management Intern). Marc is a recent graduate of Boston College, receiving his BA in Theatre and English.
DAVID R. GAMMONS (Director) is a director, designer, visual artist, and theatre educator. David is thrilled to return to the SpeakEasy Stage Company, having directed the Boston premieres of Red (2012 Elliot Norton Awards for Outstanding Production and Outstanding Actor) and Blackbird (2009 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Actress). Other recent directing projects include John Kuntz's The Hotel Nepenthe as part of the Emerging America Festival at the Huntington Theatre; Medea, The Hotel Nepenthe, The Duchess of Malfi, and Titus Andronicus (2007 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Director) for Actors' Shakespeare Project; Doctor Faustus at the Modern Theatre at Suffolk University; the New England premieres of Cherry Docs, The Lieutenant of Inishmore and My Name is Rachel Corrie at New Repertory Theatre; the world premieres of The Farm by Walt McGough and The Salt Girl by John Kuntz at Boston Playwrights' Theatre; Adrienne Kennedy's Funnyhouse of a Negro with Brandeis Theatre Company; and The Winter's Tale as part of the Shakespeare Exploded Festival at the American Repertory Theater. David has proudly served as the Director of the Theatre Program at Concord Academy since 2000. www.davidrgammons.com.
TED HEWLETT (Fight Director) returns to SpeakEasy having played Peter in Company. Selected fight direction credits include in New York: Bill W. and Dr. Bob (Off-Broadway) Mettawee River Company, Lincoln Center Institute; in Boston: Huntington Theatre, SITI Co./ArtsEmerson, American Repertory Theatrer, New Rep, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Ballet, Company One, Merrimack Rep, Gloucester Stage, Publick Theatre, Vineyard Playhouse, Boston Playwrights' Theatre, Nora Theatre, Boston Theatre Works, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company; and Regional: Elm Shakespeare, Shakespeare & Company, Syracuse Stage, Kennedy Center, Westchester Broadway Theatre, Berkshire Theatre Festival, New Century Theatre. Ted earned his MFA from Brandeis University, and trained at the Academy of Theatrical Combat. He is currently on the acting faculty at Emerson College, and teaches at Bay State Fencers' Stage Combat Studio.
ERIC LEVENSON** (Scenic Designer) has designed 26 previous SpeakEasy productions. These have included sets for Next to Normal; Reasons to be Pretty; Nine; [title of show]; Savannah Disputation; Jerry Springer; Blackbird; Some Men; A Little Dog Laughed; Parade; Caroline Or Change; Kiss Of The Spiderwoman; Take Me Out; Company; A Man Of No Importance (co-production with Sugán); A Class Act; Three Days Of Rain; An American Daughter and Balm In Gilead (Elliot Norton Design Award), and sets and lights for Floyd Collins and Our Lady Of 121st Street. Eric’s recent designs include sets for The How and the Why and Silver Spoon at the Nora and Passing Strange at the New Rep. He is a Technical Instructor in the MIT Theatre Department and an All Categories member of United Scenic Artists Local 829.
PAUL MELONE (General Manager/Production Manager) has managed over 80 plays, musicals, concerts, cabarets and special events for SpeakEasy Stage. In addition, he has directed the company’s productions of reasons to be pretty; Adding Machine: A Musical (2010 Elliot Norton Award - Outstanding Direction); The Little Dog Laughed; Fat Pig; The Moonlight Room; Our Lady of 121st Street; and The Shape of Things. Other local directing credits include The Apple Tree (The Boston Conservatory), Curse of the Starving Class (Apollinaire Theatre Company), and Things Beyond Our Control (Brandeis University). Paul is also production director for A Christmas Celtic Sojourn, an annual holiday music event for WGBH Radio. He is also a graduate of Boston University’s Theatre Department. This October, Paul will direct Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson for SpeakEasy.
AMANDA OSTROW (Wardrobe Supervisor) SpeakEasy: Xanadu. Local credits: Gross Indecency (Bad Habit Productions); Carnival (Gloucester Stage Company); The Understudy, Nicholas Nickleby, Blithe Spirit, Lady Day, Groundswell, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Kiss Me, Kate, Grey Gardens, Speech & Debate, The Mystery of Irma Vep, November, and Souvenir (Lyric Stage); Hairspray, The Music Man, Into the Woods, La Cage Aux Folles, Mame, Hello, Dolly! (Reagle Music Theatre); Medea, Hamlet (Actor’s Shakespeare Project), Not Enough Air, The Cherry Orchard, Buried Child (Nora Theatre Company); and Design For Living (The Publick Theatre). Amanda also worked in Administration at the Gloucester Stage Company for three summers. She received her BA in Media Studies and Business at The University of Southern Maine.
JULIE A. OTIS (Director of Development, Education, & Outreach) is delighted to have been working in the Boston theatre community for over 15 years. Prior to SpeakEasy Stage Company, she worked with ArtsBoston, Boston Theatre Works, Broadway Across America-Boston, Boston Lyric Opera, and the American Repertory Theater. She graduated from Tufts University with a BA in Philosophy and Drama and has a Masters of Science in Arts Administration from Boston University. She is thrilled to be a part of SpeakEasy's team and to share their love of creating breathtaking moments of intimacy and expression for artists and audiences alike.
DAVID REMEDIOS** (Sound Design) is making his SpeakEasy debut with this production. Recent credits include: Invisible Man (Studio Theatre, DC); Coriolanus (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company); Captors and In a Forest Dark and Deep (Contemporary American Theater Festival); Car Talk: The Musical! (Underground Railway Theater); Marie Antoinette: The Color of Flesh (Portland Stage); The Luck of the Irish (Huntington Theatre Company). Other local and regional: New Rep, Boston Playwrights' Theatre, Merrimack Rep, ART (50 productions), Theatre for a New Audience, Baltimore CenterStage, La Jolla Playhouse, Cincinnati Playhouse, among others. His work has been heard internationally in South America, Europe, Asia and the UK. Awards: IRNE, Connecticut Critics’ Circle, Elliot Norton. Remediossound.com.
DAWN SCHALL SAGLIO* (Production Stage Manager) is happy to be back in the stage management saddle after a two-year hiatus. SpeakEasy credits: Reckless; Savannah Disputation; Jerry Springer - The Opera; The New Century; The Light in the Piazza; Some Men; The History Boys; The Bubbly Black Girl; The Women; Five by Tenn; and The Last Sunday in June. Other local credits: The Road Home (Huntington Theatre); Long Day’s Journey into Night, Grand Night for Singing (Gloucester Stage); The Glider, Monticel (Boston Playwrights' Theatre); Antigone, Van Gogh in Japan, Full Gallop, Betrayal (Nora Theatre Company). Her greatest credits are sons Nick, Eric, and Tucker. Dawn serves on SpeakEasy's board of directors, has been a member of Equity since 2000, and serves on Boston's Equity Liaison Committee.
ALIX STRASNICK (Technical Director) is excited to be back at SpeakEasy in the role of Technical Director. Past SpeakEasy TD credits include Next to Normal and Xanadu. Alix also was Master Electrician for SpeakEasy’s productions of Next Fall and The Divine Sister. Other credits include serving as Resident Technical Director for the Longwood Players’ productions of Lend Me a Tenor and Songs for a New World. Alix is a Boston native and has spent the last three years putting up sets and lights for over 20 Boston theatre groups.
*MEMBER OF ACTORS’ EQUITY ASSOCIATION. AEA was founded in 1913 as the first of the American actor unions. Equity’s mission is to advance, promote, and foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of our society. Today, Equity represents more than 49,000 actors, singers, dancers and stage managers working in hundreds of theatres across the United States. Equity members are dedicated to working in the theatre as a profession, upholding the highest artistic standards.
Equity negotiates wages and working conditions and provides a wide range of benefits including health and pension plans for its members. Through its agreement with Equity, this theatre has committed to the fair treatment of the actors and stage managers employed in this production.
AEA is a member of the AFL-CIO and is affiliated with FIA, an international organization of performing arts unions. For more information, visit www.actorsequity.org
**MEMBER OF UNITED SCENIC ARTISTS, LOCAL USA 829, a labor union and professional association of Designers, Artists and Craftspeople, many who are world famous, organized to protect craft standards, working conditions and wages for the entertainment and decorative arts.
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About the Show
The Motherf**ker with the Hat
By Stephen Adly Guirgis
Directed by David R. Gammons
September 14 – October 13, 2012
An Interview with Stephen Adly Guirgis
Playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis has been a member of LAByrinth Theater Company, a New York City ensemble theatre, from its 1992 inception. Since 2009, he has also been its coartistic director. His best know earlier plays, Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train, Our Lady of 121 st Street and The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, were all produced by LAByrinth and directed by fellow member Philip Seymour Hoffman. The 2011 production of his latest play, The Motherf**ker With the Hat, received six Tony nominations including one for Best Play. It was produced on Broadway by Scott Rudin, The Public Theatre and LAByrinth.
Growing up on New York’s Upper West Side, were you exposed to theatre?
We didn’t have a lot of money, so my mom would take us to the theatre once every couple of years for a special occasion. But she took us to the movies all the time. There was an old revival house in our neighborhood that used to show double features. She always talked a lot about theatre and performing, so I think that’s how it got into my blood.
How did you end up a theatre major in college?
I did some plays in high school and thought I really wanted to be in the theatre, but at the time I didn’t think you could major in theatre. I didn’t think it made any sense. I kept switching my major [at State University of New York in Albany] always taking theatre classes on the side. Finally, I realized: If I’m ever going to graduate, the most credits I have is in theatre; and it’s what I want to do anyway; so why don’t I just become a theatre major?
Was your first intention to become an actor or had you always wanted to write?
No, my first intention was to be an actor—and I’m still an actor. I just kind of fell into writing along the way.
Did you write your first plays for LAByrinth?
When we first started we were just a “gym for actors.” But over the course of a year of two, we bonded together really strongly and decided that we wanted to produce work. Nobody at the time knew who we were, so it was hard. We’d find a play we wanted to do, but the playwright maybe wouldn’t want to give it to us. Or we’d find a play, but then when we found a director, he’d say, “Well, I don’t know if I can cast it within the company.” So pretty quickly we made a decision to do it all within the company. At some point, we did an evening of little one-acts and they asked me to write one. And I guess it went well, so they kept pressuring me to keep writing.
When you were first writing plays, how did you balance writing with supporting yourself?
I worked in restaurants for twenty years—everything you can do in a restaurant. Eventually, I started doing arts education, which was a lot more fulfilling. I was always working day jobs up until Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train.
Was that when Philip Seymour Hoffman helped you out?
Yeah. We were going into rehearsals in a couple of weeks and I was still writing the play. I told him, “I don’t know if I can finish the play. I don’t have time. I can’t pay the rent, blah, blah, blah…” And he asked me how much money would it take to get by for a few months? I told him and he gave me the money. I was like, “No, no, no.” But he was, “Nah, you know, take the money and write the play. And then, you know—‘cause I have a feeling after this you’re not going to have to worry so much about day jobs—and then some day in the future maybe you’ll do the same thing for someone else.” Which I did.
What does it take to get you going on a play?
Well, usually what gets me started writing is something that I’m feeling—something that’s going on inside of me that I either can’t articulate or can’t understand. There’s things you can’t share with your friends or your therapist or whatever. It’s usually like that. Something that’s been going on inside of me that just launches me to want to write. Then some dialogue will emerge and trying to get the feelings on the paper in the form of dialogue often times will launch the beginnings of a play. Then I keep going back at it and working on it.
What was the genesis or trigger for The Motherf**ker with the Hat?
When I started to write the play, I was responding to a lot of things that were going on in my life. I think the primary engine of the play is something that’s probably a recurring theme in my work: a main character past the age where they should have already grown up and matured emotionally but they’re still trying to do that. I was experiencing how the world can be different as an adult than it was as a child. When we’re young we form close friendships with people of the same sex—guys have guy friends and girls have their girl friends—and there’s a sense of loyalty that is part of that friendship. Then, when we get older, a million other things influence us and sometimes those values are lost.
And then the aspect of the play that deals with 12 Steps is reflecting on my observation—and I think the observation of others, too—that those programs, in and of themselves, are perfect. They work. They save lives and enhance lives. The program is perfect, but the people inside the program are not perfect. They’re often a work in progress. Nobody comes into those rooms because they’re so well adjusted. It’s obviously not true of everyone, but a lot of people in recovery saw the play and the overwhelming majority were like, “Yup.” It’s just reality—people behaving badly, struggling with their own moral compass.
LAByrinth has announced a new play from you for next summer but there’s no title and no details given. So, where are you at with this play?
Early! That’s why there are no details. I’m writing it now and it’s really early on.
Does having a deadline like that work as a motivator for you?
It’s definitely a motivator. Whether it’s the best way to go about doing it—maybe, maybe not. Maybe not. Oftentimes it’s been the way that I work. The page count is very low at this point. I think in this case they really wanted a play from me and so I thought to myself, “Why not do one for the company?”
The Making of a Motherf**ker
The life story of every play is different. The journey a play takes – from inception to first performance – is as unique as the play itself. This season we at SpeakEasy Stage wanted to share with you the histories of the shows we are producing to give you a sense of what it takes to bring a new play to the stage.
Playwriting can be a lonely occupation. But if you’re Stephen Adly Guirgis, that’s exactly the way that you want it. “I gotta be home alone,” he says. “I can’t even-- a lot of people like to go to Starbucks or go to the library. I can’t.” The focus that comes from isolation is a huge benefit while writing, even in such a collaboration-friendly form as theatre.
Guirgis, though, has realized an important truth: it’s easier to churn out pages in your room at midnight when people are waiting to perform them. For Guirgis, those other people are the company members of New York’s LAByrinth Theatre Company, which has produced the world premieres of every one of his plays since 1992. As an original member, and now co-artistic director, of LAByrinth, Guirgis has long used the self-described “gym for actors” as a place to work out and bulk up his plays-in-progress until they’re ready for the stage.
The journey of The Motherf**ker with the Hat began in the summer of 2008, when Guirgis brought the first 20 pages to one of LAByrinth’s summer intensives, a workshop where members present work and receive feedback from the company. He then took the play home and continued writing through the following year, with frequent return trips to LAByrinth to hear it aloud. With the exception of Elizabeth Rodriguez, for whom the part of Veronica was written, there was no fixed cast at these readings. Roles were read by different actors at different times, allowing Guirgis to hear new takes on the characters he was creating. After each iteration, he would return to his room, write a new chunk of pages, and then bring them back to LAByrinth.
A brief break in the cycle came in August 2009, when Guirgis was invited to bring the play to the annual Ojai Playwrights Conference in Southern California. Founded in 1998, this ten-day conference provides visiting playwrights with a director, dramaturg, and actors for the piece they are workshopping in order to support the development of new work. It’s one of many similar residencies offered to playwrights around the country every year, and Guirgis used his time to further polish the play. His ten days culminated in a staged reading (actors presenting the piece with script in hand and with limited blocking), followed by a feedback session with the audience. He then returned to New York and continued to work.
At the time, Motherf**ker was on the same trajectory as all of Guirgis’ plays: continued development of the script at LAByrinth, followed by a downtown world premiere by the company. But Producer Scott Rudin read the script, and contacted Guirgis about bringing the play to Broadway. Guirgis jumped at the opportunity, but also let Rudin know that he wanted LAByrinth actors in a number of the roles: Rodriguez as Veronica, Bobby Canavale as Jackie and Yul Vasquez as Cousin Julio. Rudin agreed, and preparations for Guirgis’ Broadway debut began. After three years of feedback, staged readings and late-night writing marathons, Guirgis and his Motherf**ker were stepping out of his isolated apartment and on to the Great White Way.
- Walt McGough
Introducing Evelyn Howe
Originally from Haverhill, MA, Up & Coming actress Evelyn Howe is currently making her SpeakEasy Stage debut as “Veronica” in The Motherf**ker with the Hat by Stephen Adly Guirgis.
A graduate of Fitchburg State University with a degree in English and Theatre, Evelyn recently spoke with SpeakEasy’s Artistic Fellow Jeff Kubiatowicz about her experiences as a young working actress in Boston.
JK: So when you graduated, did you intend to make a move to Boston?
EH: I was hoping to make some sort of move, make the plunge; and then I started working full time in mortgages, trying to save some money while I found the right people to move in with. I had the whole "within three year years it has to happen" plan, so I did set a deadline. A couple years later, we were all in the right mental place; so in May, we moved to Quincy. It ended up working out really well. My roommates are actors too, and we’re all in that frame of mind: “Let's go. Let's do this.”
JK: What does your family think of your career?
EH: They love it. Especially my dad. They've been coming to my little shows ever since middle school. They know I went to school for theatre and they're like “OK. This is the path you've chosen.” Kind of makes me proud to finally go from "OK, let's just get through her play" to "oh, this is really real. You could actually have a future in this.”
JK: Had you auditioned for SpeakEasy before?
EH: No, never. I definitely had wanted to find a show that I was going to be right for. This year was the first year that I finally went out and did it.
JK: Did you know you nailed it when you did your audition?
EH: [laughs] It was weird, yeah, because it just went exactly how I hoped it would go, and that rarely happens. But it was one of those things where Veronica was the first Hispanic character I've ever been able to play even though I am Hispanic. But she's very different from me.
JK: How so?
EH: [laughs] She's very blunt and loud and sassy. I went into it saying, "I know that girl. I have heard her speak. I have seen her. I just have to kind of hope I can channel that somehow." just thought of the people in my life that I could mirror and that really helped for the audition—just putting my head in the right space. But I felt really good leaving there. I felt confident. I was hoping for at least a callback, but they actually cast me right away. It was just one audition and that never happens! I haven't really gotten a chance to do specifically non-white roles. It's been exciting to get to delve into playing somebody that is Hispanic and being able to do that justice. [laughs]
JK: I wouldn't have known that you were using an accent when I heard you read at the first rehearsal.
EH: Right? So I feel like people might think that I talk like that. [laughs] It has to sound so natural. Even David Gammons, our director, was like "So, is it an accent? Or do you..." And I'm like "No, it's totally an accent." I have to be conscious of getting into the accent, just like when you use a Southern accent or a British accent. It's a state of mind. If you can get into that, it'll all [laughs]...you start doing your hands. ["does" her hands] but it's a state of mind [laughs]. Once you're in there, it makes it easy to just keep going.
JK: How would you rate your experience at SpeakEasy thus far?
EH: It's been one of the best experiences. The Motherf**ker with the Hat is a very intimate play in which I have scenes with just one other person. Coming off of Arabian Nights [at Central Square Theatre] where it was everyone and everything all at once, I find it really awesome to be able to sit and play off just one person.
And [director] David [Gammons] has been amazing. He just makes it easy because he knows when to let you do your thing. He lets you play in rehearsal, and if you're feeling like something is missing, he knows exactly what that is. "Oh, I think we could do this" he says. I'm like, “that's exactly what I was feeling needed to be tweaked there.” So he's just very intuitive like that. I love working with him.