Agnes Herrmann is the featured performer in Stranded, the latest release in Playwrights Local’s PodPlay Series. A graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, Agnes has appeared in various summer stock and Off-Off Broadway theaters, and worked steadily as a voice actress in New York. Since moving to Cleveland, she has performed at Ensemble Theater, Public Theater, and Dobama, and has been active in films in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Agnes has written many 10-minute plays and a full-length play, Makin’ Sawce, and is currently working on a full-length musical entitled The Curious Cabinet.
We’re thrilled to share Agnes’ reactions to the following 3 Questions.
Stranded concerns a key moment in the life of your character, Vickie Schultz. Can you talk about what Vickie is going through, and also how you approached that as an actor?
Vickie is facing a professional crisis, as well as a personal one. She’s been downsized from her job as a reporter at a Cincinnati newspaper, and she’s broken up with her fiancé. When she arrives at her new job at a New Jersey newspaper, she’s dealing with a move from another state, a new editor, and trying to move on from her ex, who took up with her best friend. She’s anxious to succeed, and like all good reporters she yearns for a good story. She thought she had one, but was reassigned to cover a beached whale on the Jersey shore. She is overwhelmed physically, emotionally and professionally, something most of us have experienced at one time or another. I reached back into my own experiences to recall what I was thinking and feeling, and how I ultimately got through it.
You’ve worked with playwright Edward J. Walsh and director Tim Tavcar before. What kind of relationship do the three of you have and what was your experience like in producing this play?
My working relationship with Ed and Tim is an extremely comfortable one, since I’ve performed in several of Ed’s plays in public readings or workshops, and I am a member of Tim’s company, WordStage, which performs public readings usin
g works by or about historical events, famous authors, artists and musicians, often paired with music. Since we’re all familiar
with each other and our working process, it’s easy to ask questions and suggest things without judgment. The art of theater, whether on-camera or off, is always a collaborative effort.
Stranded is the first of a series of “podplays” (or whatever you want to call them) produced by Playwrights Local. Can you talk about your own experience with voiceover work and radio plays and how that applied in this project?
My experience in V.O. work runs the gamut from commercials to educational, sales, and training films. However, doing this podcast is most closely related to my work in audio books and radio drama. Interestingly for me, I have found that my experience in the recording studios has helped me in my work on stage and on-camera. When I approach any role now, the first thing I do is try to find the character’s voice. I’m not necessarily referring to a regionalism/dialect or a quirk, but the organic way in which the character comes alive vocally. Some actors find getting into costume and make-up helps deepen their understanding of a character. I’ve always found that finding “their voice” is my key to creating the character.
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