1. What was the biggest challenge you've faced as an understudy? Graham Cole (Sir John U/S, Mrs. Jennings U/S) "I know I tend to learn my parts by actually doing them, being up and saying my lines, and performing my blocking in rehearsal. As an understudy, that was not as much a part of the process, so I had to find new ways of learning; ways that will, I hope, prove to be useful as tools in future productions. A particular challenge I faced came from understudying two different actors’ roles, and specifically two roles that share many scenes; I’ve never had to memorize two sides of a conversation before, and I kept finding myself unintentionally switching back and forth between characters while practicing my lines." Katie Kapp (Fanny U/S, Lucy U/S) "The most challenging part was memorizing all of the lines without doing them all of the time. Additionally, figuring out the on-stage set transitions because it can be difficult when you're not always the one physically doing it."
2. Is there a particular role you preferred understudying? Graham Cole (Sir John U/S, Mrs. Jennings U/S) "Honestly, no. I love the heightened characters of Sir John and Mrs. Jennings, and the doubled parts like the gossips and servants are always fun! The joy for me comes from the variety in the characters I’ve been able to work with."
Katie Kapp (Fanny U/S, Lucy U/S) "I understudy Fanny and I wouldn't have it any other way!"
3. Do you have any tips or tricks for future actors taking on the role of an understudy? Graham Cole (Sir John U/S, Mrs. Jennings U/S) "Everyone’s process, especially when tackling an understudy part, is their own, so find the way that works best for you! Write everything down, don’t be afraid to ask questions or contribute to the process, and make your interpretations of your characters unique."
Katie Kapp (Fanny U/S, Lucy U/S) "My best tips are to memorize before the first rehearsal, write everything down in every rehearsal, and meet with your overstudy to talk about the character."
4. What was your favorite part of the process or experience? Graham Cole (Sir John U/S, Mrs. Jennings U/S) "This is my first show at Elon, and my favorite part of the process has been how welcoming, genuine, and caring everyone is. There’s no ego in the rehearsal room, just a group of people trying to create the best show we can."
Katie Kapp (Fanny U/S, Lucy U/S) "My favorite part of the process was being with actors and artists who are excited to create. I also loved hopping in for Sivan, and getting to practice my accent."