January 2018: Jeremy Weschler (Artistic Director) and Clare Cooney (Casting Director) at Theater Wit asked me to understudy two roles in The Antelope Party by Eric John Meyer.
I hadn't understudied before, so it was a baptism by fire as I memorized the lines and blocking for two significant roles. I had the chance to go on twice for Evan Linder while he was in New York being a famous playwright, and it was exhilarating to jump right in the deep end like that. It happened to be a weekend when a considerable cadre of friends and family were in town (see my post about Lefty and Crabbe at the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival), so the house was full of my people on the nights I went on.
The cast was incredibly talented (go stalk them online—you'll see.) They also looked great in My Little Pony costumes, as you can tell.
I learned so much just by watching more seasoned Chicago actors work through their process. Understudies attended one performance per week, and I was able to see how the performances evolved through the run.
I now know so much more than I ever anticipated knowing about My Little Pony. The play is also about fascism and how people gradually lose their ability to tell what's ethical when the world around them spirals into groupthink and chaos, so it's not all ponies and rainbows.
The other understudies and I soon became fast friends. They were all such doggamn delightful people, and we still have our group text going months later.
All my love to the #Underponies slash #Wonderstudies slash #TransplAntelopes.