Spotlight on Megan Graves, Cindy in GillianBy Laura & Mike Clark • Nov 4th, 2007 • Category: Backstage, Interviews, To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday
Listen to Mike interview Megan Graves, who will be playing Cindy in To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday [MP3 10:25 4.8MB].
Mike: This is Mike Clark with ShowBizRadio. I am backstage with Megan Graves, who has the role of Cindy in Port City Playhouse’s production of To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday. Thanks for talking with me, Megan.
Megan: Thanks. I’m excited. This is my first interview. It’s a big moment.
Mike: Well, you have to start somewhere.
Mike: So tell me, how does Cindy fit into Gillian?
Megan: Cindy is a friend of the main character David and his daughter Rachel. Rachel and David have been vacationing on Nantucket for several years. Before the play begins they had met Cindy. Now they live there year round Cindy is sort of a family member as David says in the beginning. She’s as good as family. As the play progresses Cindy becomes more and more alienated from David and Rachel as David attempts to cope with the loss of his wife and sort of moves out of this fantasy world that he has created which does include his sort of child like relationship with Cindy. As he moves towards a more real adult existence he sort of has to in a way leave her behind. As the play progresses Cindy goes from a place of being kind of like family to sort of a place of alienation. She’s a very interesting character and it was really interesting to develop how she fits into this little jigsaw puzzle of a story.
Mike: The first few readings was kind of a creepy relationship that never evolved.
Megan: There is more than a bit of a creepy sort of undertone to David and Cindy’s relationship. It was a question that Dan and I, Dan who plays David, how does he view their relationship? How does Cindy view their relationship? Then try to interpret the script in kind of our own separate ways. I think Cindy is really searching for a father figure, but she doesn’t quite realize that. I think it’s sort of a psychological thing for her. She’s looking for maybe this love that is missing. We never meet Cindy’s parents or her brother. We never meet the rest of her family in the script. She sort of speaks of them as kind of a absent point of reference in her life. She doesn’t seem to have a good relationship with them and so and I think she’s trying to find a place to fit in and she’s trying so hard that it develops unhealthy aspects in her relationships.
Mike: Does she know it’s unhealthy?
Megan: I think she has an inkling. I think she realizes when Rachel comes back from spending the Summer on the mainland with her aunt and uncle how awkward it is to have a crush on her best friend’s father and I think as the summer has gone on she has developed this relationship with David and it’s only when Rachel comes back and the events that you see in the staging of the play that Cindy realizes that this is a little strange and it’s not quite working and she doesn’t quite fit in to this little act.
Mike: Some of the scenes I guess later on with the drinking, is that Cindy being Cindy or is that Cindy trying to be an older person for David?
Megan: I think the drinking isn’t necessarily Cindy trying to be an older person for David. She certainly does that. Especially when the character of Kevin come a long. Kevin is a woman who David’s sister and brother-in-law try to set him up with. Cindy definitely sees her as a rival and tries to kind of up her “womanly appeal” you might say and tries to distract attention from Kevin and keep David’s attention on herself. The drinking, I think, the final scene Cindy does crack open a bottle of wine and I would say get a little tipsy. I don’t think it’s so much a reaction of trying to get David to notice her as sort of a reaction to David’s not noticing her. I think Cindy’s a girl who is always kind of on the edge. I wouldn’t say that she has never drunk before, but I wouldn’t say it’s a reaction to David necessarily. I think it’s just sort of a way to have fun, but it doesn’t really work out that way.
Mike: Is Cindy at all like you or has this been a role to stretch you some?
Megan: It has definitely stretched me. Originally when I first auditioned I thought I had nothing in common with her. Then reading the script and kind of delving into her character I do find a lot of similarities. I mean she does kind of have a lot of universal qualities. Everyone wants to be loved and I think everyone has gone through a portion of their life where they wonder do they really fit in and they have struggled to find themselves. I think in this respect I do identify with her and I identify with all the conflicts that go on. I mean she’s sort of a typical adolescent taken to the extreme and so I do identify with some aspects and some I don’t. A lot of her personality and the things she does, I wouldn’t do. But it doesn’t mean I don’t identify with her and a lot of the things she does, that do go on in her mind.
Mike: What other roles have you done?
Megan: I’ve played a lot of more character costume kind of roles. My first main role I played Jo in Little Women, which was a lot of fun. That was another kind of performance that kind of stretched me because I sort of always viewed Jo as kind of a tomboy. That wasn’t me, but it was a lot of fun to play. I played Mrs. Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. It was probably my favorite role, a lot of fun. Definitely a lot of big loud character role. I did a couple of things with the Little Theatre of Alexandria. I performed with them in their educational program for a couple different schools in the area. We did a show on poetry to it was a lot of fun to kind of explore the educational side of theater. I’ve really enjoyed by experiences thus far.
Mike: Do you have a role you would just kill to do?
Megan: No specific role. I’m really into Shakespeare right now. I’m a real “Bardolator” as they say. I just finished reading Hamlet for the second time, which I know isn’t a lot, but I’ve really been struck with he character of Ophelia. So I really enjoy just a lot of Shakespeare’s female characters. I think there is a wide array of them. It sound corny to say, but I would love to play Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. I think she’s sort of a misunderstood heroine and a lot of people don’t like her because she seems so niave, but I think there is a lot more there and I would love to be able to develop that. I would probably accept any Shakespearean role.
Mike: I’ve asked everybody else about the charcter workshop. Have you done anything like that in your past experience?
Megan: Nothing in that same format. Most of the shows I’ve done we’ve talked about our characters and kind of what’s going on in their minds. I think this is probably the most in depth I’ve ever gone at least with the rest of the cast. I usually create a back story for each of my characters if it’s not really explained in the script. But it was really really great to sit down with everyone and see what everyone thought about certain issues and sort of fit everyone togther and how they all work as a cohesive unit. It was really nice to explore sort of the psychological issues and dig deep into our character’s minds and see what’s really going on and what they’re really saying when they do certain things. I really enjoyed that and I would love to be able to do more of that in shows that I do.
Mike: Something else I’ve asked everybody else is how do you learn your lines?
Megan: Usually I memorize my lines by pacing up and down. I don’t know why this is. I think a lot of people do use movement, but for some reason it translates for me just pacing up and down in my room. We had a lot of rehearsal time for this show so I didn’t really feel the need to do that as much. Usually when I’m down to crunch time and I need to memorize my lines I’ll take a half an hour or an hour and just walk up and down and memorize. It was nice becaus we had so much rehearsal time that I was really able to get the lines just by rehearsing them so much and then I would flip through them in my free time. I would be on the metro going over my lines and people would look at me like I was crazy because I tend to mouth them and put expression on my face even when I’m trying to memorize them. I think I scared a lot of people in the DC metro area, but I have most of my lines memorized so it was worth it.
Mike: Who would Cindy like other than Rachel and David since everybody else is just kind of an acquaintance?
Megan: I think beside David and Rachel, Cindy’s probably best friends with Paul, who is David’s brother-in-law. I think the two of them share a lot of similarities and this is something we explored in the character workshop is how did they view each other. I think while Cindy and David have kind of an unhealthy strange relationship, Paul and Cindy have sort of developed an almost brother-sister type relationship even though he is also a father figure to her. He sort of comes down to her level in a way, it sounds strange. But they have kind of a bantering relationship and they get along very well as friends. I think Cindy probably works more cohesively with Paul than maybe with anyone else in the play because she doesn’t have the same issues with him that she does with David and because of her issues with David she also has these issues with Rachel. I think her relationship with Paul is probably the most healthy of any of her relationships.
Mike: What do you see yourself doing in five years. Sticking with acting? Do you want it to be a career or is it just a hobby?
Megan: I would like to go into acting as a career. I realize it is very difficult. Anything in the creative performing arts world is a very difficult wolrd to break in to. I would like to get a degree in theater. I’m also really passionate about literature and English so I’m keeping that as a backup. I would love to be a children’s book editor or something like that in the future. I’m sort of pursuing both at the moment, but my true love is acting so I’m hoping to find some way to make that work. I don’t think it necesarily has to be Broadway or Hollywood, but there’s a lot of great theater and I’m really excited to see what the future has for me.
Mike: Do you have any immediate plans after this?
Megan: I have been cast in Little Theatre of Alexandria’s Christmas Carol. I am starting to work on that now and that will be staging in the beginning of Decmber so I am planning on doing that. After that I am sort of just waiting to see what comes along.
Mike: OK, well thank you very much for talking with me. I appreciate it.
Megan: Thank you.
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Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.