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Noir

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Catherine LeFrere
February 21, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Actor, Helen Lydecker.

What is your show about?
Right or wrong, what does it matter? Only the movies are black and white.

What type of theater do you like most to work on?
To me, it's all about new works. I've been fortunate to work on a whole bunch of new plays and musicals in the past few years. In fact, since I graduated from college, I think I've only done two revivals...both Shakespearean pieces. It's great to work on a character that you know no one (or few) have touched because the audience won't come in thinking, "well, so-and-so did it this way!" In a way, it takes the pressure off. She's just yours to play with! And as a storyteller, my favorite thing to do is to take the writer's skeleton and bring it to life. I also love doing theatre that has a particular heightened style or takes place in another time period and that's a huge reason I'm so excited about NOIR.

Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
Well, let me just start by saying that I would LOVE to do more film, tv, or even dabble in the directing world one day! Haha. But, there is no way I could ever imagine myself not being in the entertainment field. I've wanted to be an actor since I was three years old and I love this community more than anything. I always say, "we're all from the land of misfit toys" and I mean that in the best possible way! Theatre people (and artists in general) get each other. There's a common bond that I can't quite put my finger on, but everyone in our world feels it. As for why I do theatre, well, it's definitely my first love. To me, the relationship with a live audience is the best part of acting. Whether or not they laugh, sigh, or breathe heavily during a certain moment can turn a show on a dime and I live for that symbiotic relationship every night. I think art, and theatre in particular, can change the world and I am going to spend the rest of my life trying to make that happen.

Is there a particular moment in this show that you really love or look forward to? Without giving away surprises, what happens in that moment and why does it jazz you?
Speaking of jazz, there's a scene in the play where my character, Helen, gets to sing a torch song. I won't give away where or why she does it, but I think music heightens the magic of any play (especially a stylized, period play such as this one) and I can't wait to see how our director Marc handles the moment, because there's nothing else in the play like it. Selfishly, torch songs just happen to be my favorite style of songs to sing. I was definitely born in the wrong time period.

Which famous person would you most like to get a fan letter from: Meryl Streep, Lindsay Lohan, Steven Spielberg, Philip Seymour Hoffman?
That's a tough one! It's a tossup between Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, because I respect the two of them so much as stage and screen actors. Not that I would turn down a letter from any of them! Ultimately I think I have to go with Meryl (and clearly we're on a first name basis). What actress doesn't want a fan letter from Meryl Streep? Growing up, my grandmother always used to say to me, "that Meryl Streep! She's always different in every film!" It's so true...she transforms. You can't say that about every actor but she truly becomes someone new each and every time. I heard a story once that she makes sure the shape of her eyebrows is different for every film. Now that's dedication!

If you had ten million dollars that you had to spend on theatrical endeavors, how would you use the money?
This industry has really become all about creating your own work and getting noticed for it. I honestly have so many talented friends that are brilliant writers, directors, playwrights, producers, choreographers, and actors, that I would take that money to not only employ all of my amazing friends, but to create a wonderful piece of theatre that we all felt extraordinarily passionate about. My friends and I are always throwing ideas around about revivals of old works that we'd like to put a contemporary spin on and with that much money, we could definitely do one or two! I also think it's really important to spend money on theatre arts education because I want kids to have an appreciation so that when they're older, they'll be regular theatre-going patrons!