After my adventures in Louisville, I’m now in the midst of tech week at another regional theatre that’s been on my bucket list for a while: Milwaukee Repertory Theatre! I’m here to do a new adaptation of Dial M for Murder, originally a 1952 play that was the basis for Alfred Hitchcock’s (yes, THAT Hitchcock) 1954 film of the same name. If you’re in the area, please join us for a thrilling ride – our first preview is November 14th, and ticket info is below.
Every time I start a new rehearsal process, I feel grateful to work in a field where I get to keep experiencing firsts and learning new things. For instance…it’s my first time in Wisconsin, and I’ve been enjoying the beers, brats, cheese curds, and morning runs along Lake Michigan. It’s my first time doing a 1950s period piece, and it’s been a great challenge to sound natural while using the speech patterns and cadences of the period. It’s my first time wearing a wig that’s 1) MADE FOR ME and thus 2) supposed to look like my natural hair. Just shorter. Much, much shorter! The pic above is from my wig fitting – did you know that all you need to create the perfect wig base is some saran wrap, scotch tape, and a permanent marker?! It’s true, as long as you’re also wig master who knows what you’re doing! When I put the real wig on for the first time and looked in the mirror…I saw a younger version of my mom staring back at me. It’s definitely going to take some getting used to, but it totally works for my character!
In this adaptation I play native New Yorker Maxine Hadley, a novelist who writes thrillers and is caught in a bit of a love triangle between two other characters. She has a no-nonsense sensibility, always has a wry comeback, and will never say no to a glass of bourbon and a cigarette. She’s also often the smartest person in the room – though people constantly underestimate her – and when she decides she trusts someone, she does so completely. I find her quite fun! I’m excited to have the opportunity to inhabit this kind of role, and it’s been fascinating to dig into the history of Indians in America pre-1950 as part of my character research. I’ve also learned that the one true downside of doing a 50s period piece is…heels. Why did women torture themselves so?! I’ve been practicing walking in 3-inch pumps since our first week of rehearsal, and I truly hope I’ll look like some semblance of graceful, stylish, and poised on stage.
As I sat in my dressing room (another first – my first dressing room to myself!) writing this very newsletter during breaks in tech, a Very Big Thing happened: SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP came to a tentative agreement. After 118 days on strike, the longest in my union’s history, we won! The new proposed tv/theatrical/streaming contract includes strong protections against artificial intelligence to ensure the survival of my profession and critical increases in compensation and benefits, among many other necessary gains. Our negotiating committee, comprised of fellow actors who volunteered hundreds of hours of their time and energy, worked tirelessly to get to this moment, and I’m so grateful that they didn’t let up until they received the fair contract terms that we all deserve. A huge thank you to my union siblings for standing with us on the picket lines, literally and figuratively. The AMPTP may hold financial sway, but we showed them who has the real power! #UnionStrong
Though I have been very fortunate to have had work in theatre throughout much of the strike, I am relieved that this (tentative) agreement means that the more than 2 million people who work in and adjacent to the entertainment industry can go back to work now, too. And perhaps I’ll soon be able to share news of the television show I shot a recurring role for last year!
Come See Dial M for Murder!
“Any of us, even the nicest, most passive milquetoast, can be a killer.” ~Maxine Hadley, Dial M for Murder
Written by: Frederick Knott
Adapted by: Jeffrey Hatcher
Directed by: Laura Braza
Featuring: Amanda Drinkall, Marcus Truschinski, Jonathan Wainwright, Alex Weisman, & me!
Dates: November 14-December 17, 2023 (Tuesdays-Sundays)
Tickets: from $20 HERE
Full Creative Team: HERE
Here’s a fun intro to the play – we did these interviews on our first day of rehearsal, and I think I’d amend some of my answers now, but the basics still hold true!