Whether adapted or classical, Medea requires a tour-de-force performance so it’s hardly surprising that this month’s DC production of Medea’s Got Some Issues emerged from an artistic flirtation between playwright Emilio Williams and actress and No Rules Company member Lisa Hodsoll. We spoke with Lisa after an early rehearsal:
1. What was your first impression of the script in advance of last fall’s reading at the Spanish Embassy?
I loved the fact that it had all the characters it does and all the shifts and the breaking of the fourth wall and jumping back into the Medea text.
Just from an acting standpoint, it’s got so many cartwheels and somersaults to turn, which is both intimidating and thrilling.
So I remember, before the staged reading, I wasn’t quite sure how it all would go, because there was just so much to do within that. You’re playing so many different colors, turning on a dime. And it’s all wonderful, when it all happens.
2. And what’s the difference between preparing to read a play as you did and preparing for a full production as you’re doing now?
For the reading, we had a couple of rehearsals. I think I read it through once with Joshua, then we had a rehearsal over the weekend, and then we just did it. Bam.
Now we have so much more time to dig into the material, and the material is so dense and rich. There’s much more chance to explore for a production than for a reading.
3. I know you had a pretty enthusiastic response at the reading. Were you surprised? What do you take from that as an actress?
I didn’t know how it was going to go. I was slightly terrified, because it’s Medea. As I started performing it, it just kind of — like Joshua has called it in rehearsal, ‘riding the wave’ — happened, and it was exciting and thrilling and it was just a wonderful evening.
4.You’ve worked with Joshua Morgan on several shows now, right?
I love working with Joshua. I always think of him as an actor’s director in the sense that he very much works on getting to the truth of the moment, and I appreciate his attention to detail, his wanting to get it right and not being satisfied with half measures. And he’s also hilarious, so it’s just fun.
5. Have you ever done a one-woman show before? Or had to play yourself?
Well, that’s weird because I’m not playing myself, I’m playing the Lisa actress. So that’s a wonderful challenge, trying to figure out: How do you shift from Lisa actress to Lisa actress playing Medea to Medea? And how do you delineate those three? Working on that now!
I haven’t done a one-woman show before but I used to be part of a comedy troupe in Chicago where we created our own material, did monologues, and interacted directly with the audience. So I’m not afraid of it.
You know, it’s all on you to keep the audience engaged and excited. And that’s the fun. To go on that ride with them.
Co-presented at the 2014 Capital Fringe Festival by No Rules Theatre Company and Spain Arts & Culture, Medea’s Got Some Issues has select performances between July 11 and 27th. Get your tickets here.