Merrimack Repertory Theatre Blog

Interview with Stephanie Fieger

A big thanks to Stephanie Fieger, who took time out of her busy performance schedule to answer some questions for the blog. Stephanie is currently appearing onstage as “Paige” in A View of the Harbor at Merrimack Repertory Theatre.

Stephanie Fieger

Stephanie Fieger

What attracted you to the role of Paige in A View of the Harbor?

I have to say, I was immediately intrigued by the play and its strange, deadpan, and twisty nature from my very first read back in September.  I zipped through it in no time, excited about the prospect of doing something so contemporary, unique, and really really fun.  What drew me in with Paige was her fearless ability to own up to who she is at every given moment.  She is a person with absolutely no verbal filter who is constantly moving forward and seeking what she wants out of life–and let’s everyone around her know it at all times.  Needless to say, those are very attractive (and active) things to latch onto as an actor, and with that I knew exactly what her “spine” was.  So, on the one hand she’s pretty straightforward, but connect that with her privileged upbringing, her worldview, and what ultimately moves and changes her, and you’ve got one complicated lady.  Paige’s journey is definitely a wild one in this play, and I was really enlivened by the challenge of finding my way through it.

What was the audition process like for you?

It usually doesn’t happen like this, but I was contacted directly by Charles to consider coming in for Paige.  My agents were subsequently notified, and I was given a generous amount of time to read and prepare (also a pretty rare occurrence)!  The session was pretty lengthy one where Charles and I worked on two of Paige’s scenes a number of times.  It was ostensibly the audition and callback rolled into one, and two days later I was offered the part.

I remember one of the biggest challenges in the audition (and rehearsal) was what I now know as the “Dresser Style”–basically resisting the temptation to “send it up” as a joke or comment on a line while delivering it.  Paige says some pretty outrageous things (as do the other three characters), but they are 100% genuine and strongly rooted in who she is, no matter how seemingly thoughtless or absurd.  A small example of this is the Whizzer speech in the first scene.  This is a really big deal for Paige, and is probably the greatest loss she’s suffered in her life.  It may seem insensitive to compare losing a pet to losing a parent, but not to Paige.  It’s a serious hole in her life and one she still thinks about after all these years.  She can’t think it’s funny because no one else will.  This is kind of a rule of thumb for all comedy, really, but it is especially key for Rick’s particular dialogue and style.

Do you have a dream role or job? Where do you see yourself in the future?

I definitely have a list of roles I’ve been dying to play, and the clock is ticking on a few of them.  Some include Ophelia, Louise in GYPSY, Catherine in A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE, Hedda, and the #1 being Maggie the Cat.  I love working regionally because it combines my love for travel and people with my chosen profession.  I’ve seen some pretty great things and can honestly say I know what it’s like to live on the West Coast, the true South, and now New England.  Eventually, however, I’d love to stay put in my home of NYC and work, leaving town only for the right role or a spell in L.A., and ultimately I want to raise a family.  I truly think it’s possible to have it all, just maybe not all at once, and I’m fine with that.  The bottom line is I love what I do, and although much of this career is up to the gods, I am determined to suck the marrow out of it for the rest of my life. 

How has your education impacted your growth as an actor?

Utterly invaluable.  I went to undergrad at a small liberal arts college in central PA, and graduate school at NYU, so my experiences couldn’t have been more different.  I knew I wanted to be an actor at the beginning of college, but it was very important to me to have a well-rounded academic experience and explore all aspects of my interests and personality before committing 100% to acting.  It was the best thing I could have done for myself, because being an actor is about being utterly human, and my time at school studying writing and literature (and the year I had in between) taught me that.  It’s a journey that never ends, though, and my conservatory education at NYU taught me that.  Besides all the obvious vocal, physical, and technical training that I received there, I learned what it means to discover a process that will take you through your entire career.  By no means was I a “complete” actor after my three years at NYU, but my way of working had begun and was so ingrained in my body and soul that it never takes long access what I know and move forward with it.

What advice would you give to young actors making their way in the business?

Eat your Wheaties.  You’re gonna need ’em.

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