Q&A: Junior plays Miranda for second time in Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’
Junior Monique Lonergan has been performing for eight years and has appeared in productions such as “Anything Goes,” “The Fantasticks” and “The Donner Party.” She will be reprising the role of Miranda in the Actor’s Workshop of Sacramento’s production of “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare. The play opened on Sept. 8, and Lonergan will be appearing on Sept. 17, 22, 24 and Oct. 7 and 8 at the California Stage Theatre inside the California Stage Complex (1721 25th St.).
Q: How did you get the part?
A: I actually didn’t really do that much. One day after an acting lesson (at the Actor’s Workshop of Sacramento), my teacher, Ed Claudio, approached me about appearing in a production of “The Tempest” that he was co-directing. He knew that I had already played the part of Miranda in the Sacramento Theatre Company’s (STC) production of the play and thought that I would be a good fit.
This time I’m going to be alternating with someone else for the role of Miranda.
Q: Who is Miranda?
A: Miranda is the daughter of Prospero, a duke with magical powers who was banished by his brother when (Miranda) was a baby. (Miranda) has been living on this island with him and a servant, Caliban.
Q: Is it different playing the part for the second time?
A: It’s a little bit easier since I’ve done it before. I’ve already memorized the lines for this role and have gotten a lot of practice with iambic pentameter from the other production.
Q: What’s different about this production?
A: In this production, I get to have a little more freedom in my interpretation of (Miranda) compared to the other one.
This version also has a different concept, so it’s interesting adjusting. The production of “The Tempest” that I did with (STC) took place in the past, and we wore somewhat traditional costumes for that kind of era.
However, in this production, the concept is more modern. We’re on a trash island, and all of the bad guys, who in (STC)’s production were royalty, are (comparable) to the politicians in our current government.
Q: How is the set different?
A: (In) the other production of “The Tempest,” the set was half of this big boat. It was supposed to represent the boat that we were originally banished on and was now damaged and on the island (where the story takes place).
In this interpretation, the story takes place on a trash island, meaning that there’s a lot of trash on the stage – a bunch of bottles, cans and other garbage are all over. We even have something similar to a tire ladder that Miranda climbs on.
Q: What’s your rehearsal schedule like?
A: (Rehearsal) is usually a little later in the day because all of the cast members are adults, so they can’t rehearse during the day.
We’ve been rehearsing for about four weeks, and I go (to rehearsal) most days of the week. At (STC), we’d never practice on Monday, but here we never practice on Wednesday.
It’s also a little less busy and a little more flexible compared to the other play because it’s not a professional production – it’s just a community theater. During my last production, we’d have rehearsal every day from 4:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. on weekdays and then 11 a.m.-9 p.m. on weekends.
Q: What would you do during a typical rehearsal?
A: Usually, we would talk about the scene, like what’s happening, what (the characters) are feeling and what the director wants to happen.
As rehearsals went on, we would start to shape it into the skeleton of a theme. But, of course, we can always try new things or mess with the structure a little bit during each show.
Q: What’s the cast like?
A: They’re really nice and cool people. A few of them are really experienced with Shakespeare plays, and there are some people who have never done a Shakespeare play before – although I’m kind of new to Shakespeare also. It’s really interesting to see the less experienced Shakespearean actors’ progression with the play.
I’m the youngest cast member of this play, but I was also the youngest actor in my last production of “The Tempest.”
Q: What’s it like being the youngest?
A: It’s interesting, although I’m kind of used to being the youngest. Sometimes (the adult actors) feel like they do have to watch what they say and do around you. But it can also be a little frustrating because I want to be treated like an equal, not just a kid who is trying to hang out with the adults.
Q: What’s your favorite part of the play?
A: I don’t really have a favorite part. I like the storyline; it’s really interesting and it’s one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. (The story) takes place in one day, whereas most of (Shakespeare’s) other work takes place over longer periods of time. All this stuff happens in one day, and it’s crazy to me.
—By David Situ