Behind the Curtain

Official Blog of International City Theatre

Michelle Holmes Hopes to Spook You a Little

May 5th, 2015

Michelle Holmes

Abigail/1702 just opened this past weekend, and cast member Michelle Holmes was kind enough to answer some questions for us about the show and herself. Enjoy!

1. As rehearsals finally end and performances begin, what has your experience at ICT been like so far?

This is my second experience with ICT, and the first one was a musical, so doing a new work like this is so exciting. I, personally, love The Crucible and have done it, so the chance to do a sequel was too irresistible. Yet, it’s so well-written you don’t have to know the original play to appreciate Abigail/1702.  caryn is such a great director, loving to her cast, yet very specific and direct, which I so appreciate. And her choices of script, set, lighting and direction were so bold. Everyone at ICT is just a joy to work with, and the theatre is so beautiful. The cast is also to die for, and they’re not only talented but some of the finest people I’ve ever worked with. And I get my own big dressing room. What can beat that?  But I’m definitely excited to open and begin the run of this extraordinary piece. Oh, and our stage manager rocks!!!

2. What do you hope audiences take from Abigail/1702?

I hope they are all surprised and enlightened in different ways. I hope they appreciate what a spectacular experience live theatre can be and then get to witness the West Coast Premiere of a play this good that is so well-directed and acted. It’s a remarkable play, and I don’t think you’ll find a finer production of it anywhere. And I hope they get spooked a little, too!

3. You play multiple roles in the show. What are some of the perks of embodying different characters and what are some of the disadvantages?

I see no disadvantages in playing multiple characters.  I love it.  Bring it on!!  And, luckily, in Abigail/1702, I have a nice amount of time between entrances to be able to fully transform in makeup and costume.  To be able to go through so many ages and from comedy to pathos to high drama in one play is a gift.

Jennifer Cannon & Michelle Holmes in Abigail/1702

Jennifer Cannon & Michelle Holmes in Abigail/1702

4. Since Abigail/1702 is a new play, what are your thoughts on new works and theatre companies’ role in developing them?

I love working on new plays, and I give International City Theatre so much credit for being a larger theatre still willing to take a chance on something new and bold and not always doing the familiar or the reliable.  I mean, there’s certainly a place for both, but you usually see newer, edgier works done at small theatres that don’t have to rely on the box office as much.  But ICT takes chances, and their audiences and subscribers are extraordinary in that they go right along with them and know that caryn desai is a smart, creative woman who will not steer them wrong.  When you have a title like Abigail/1702, it can be confusing to potential patrons.  But everyone who’s seen the previews, whether they knew or even liked The Crucible, has remarked on what a great experience it was to see a play like this and this production in particular.  So I laud ICT for its continued willingness to promote new works.

5. What play or novel might you want to see an imagined sequel to?

Hard question, because there are just so many works, both literary and theatrical, that I love.  I would have to say that I would be interested in the sequel to most anything because I always imagine years later what the characters I’ve already seen in anything from theatre to movies to even television, would be doing now.  I mean, look at how much Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher have changed from the original Star Wars trilogy. Seeing Hans Solo and Princess Leia together as an old married couple now, if they even are still married, slays me!  You know, I would love to see a sequel to The Crucible, and here it is!!  And I’m loving every minute of it.

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