We were a bit nervous about working with a child actor– especially one that hadn’t really done much acting before. This is a serious play, with complex emotional characters. And for the most part, they ain’t happy. You can’t exactly talk to a child actor as you would an adult — making suggestions, planting seeds, etc. But our Herk is awesome and it’s going be exciting to see where the young actress who’s playing him goes.
We mentioned our initial concerns to an ex-(theatre) professor, Matt Tomlanovich, who is an acting coach. He said that when he works with child actors, he tells them upfront: “I’m not going to treat you like a child. I’m going to treat you like any other actor I work with.” He said you go back to the basics: find your objective, something you want. And then put something (an obstacle) in front of it. That’s it. Simple. Actable. And in the process you access the imagination. Think you can’t imagine something you’ve never experienced? What about your funeral? We’ve all imagined (even briefly) our own funeral — who would be there, what they would say, how they would look and feel. And yet none of us still living have died (at least not long enough to experience a funeral).
A long, winding way of saying: working with the young lady playing Herk has been such a treat. Can’t wait to share her work with an audience.