In Ask Aunt Susan, Seth Bockley's sharp new satire about the Internet era, Meghan Reardon plays Betty, an aspiring young actress who's decided to unplug herself from all her addictive digital devices. Luckily Reardon hasn't completely abandoned new media herself, and sat down to answer a few "backstage" questions for the Goodman blog.
|(L to R) Alex Stage (Aunt Susan) and Meghan Reardon (Betty) in Ask Aunt Susan by Seth Bockley, directed by Henry Wishcamper at Goodman Theatre
Place of birth and/or hometown?
I was born in Topeka, KS and called it home for 18 years before swapping the Sunflower State for the Land of Lincoln.
First professional role/production you were in?
My first role out of college was playing Mina in a silent, graphic-novel inspired production of Dracula at The Building Stage. I come from a background with a lot of physical theater training, so working to create and tell story with just my body and the other actors was a blast. We used sepia-toned drawings on wood panels to evoke different images and projected lines of dialogue over the top of the set, just like in old-timey silent films. The Building Stage just closed its doors last year. They did such imaginative, work—they will be much missed.
Favorite professional role/production you were in?
My favorite role was playing Regan in Young Jean Lee's Lear at Red Tape Theatre. For those of you who don't know the play, think King Lear, only without King Lear. And with Big Bird. It was weird and wonderful. I got to stalk around stage in sky-high heels with a whiskey bottle and a ton of eyeliner, picking fights and raising hell. Plus, I got to play with some of my favorite folks every night, my fellow company members at Red Tape.
Dream role or production you hope to be in someday?
Barbara in August, Osage County. I know, I know—it'll be a long time before anyone is bold enough to touch this play after Steppenwolf's unbelievable production. But by the time I'm old enough to be right for the role, maybe it'll be time for a revival!
Role you know you’ll never get to play because of your age/sex/race but would love to play in an alternate universe, and why?
Judas Iscariot in Jesus Christ Superstar. I'm not just in love with the show itself, but Judas' songs are absolutely incredible. i I rock out to "Heaven On Their Minds" in the imaginary karaoke bar that is my room. And is there a more tragic villain in history? I can't think of one. He's a figure who endlessly fascinates me.
Production or role you've experienced as an audience member that left you speechless?
A few years ago, the Goodman hosted a festival of Eugene O'Neill's work that featured a performance of The Toneelgroep's Mourning Becomes Electra. I walked in knowing nothing about it except it was a play I was forced to read in college (and never actually finished), but it had a cool poster. This company from Amsterdam took this tried-and-true play and turned it on its ear. By the time the show was over, the usher had to peel me out of my seat. Last year they came to New York for a weekend to do a six-hour Shakespearian cycle called The Roman Tragedies. I saved up for months to fly myself out there just to have another chance to see this amazing group. It was worth every penny and every minute of the six hours.