Sophomore Monique Lonergan, who has been performing for eight years (“The Fantasticks,” “Guys and Dolls,” “Anything Goes,” “The Music Man”), is playing Miranda in the Sacramento Theater Company’s production of “The Tempest.”
Q: When did you audition for “The Tempest”?
A: Earlier in the year, I did a general audition for The Sacramento Theater Company, which means I auditioned to be considered for a callback for any of their shows in this year’s season.
I was surprised to see that I was called back for “The Tempest” because I haven’t had that much experience doing Shakespeare. I didn’t think that they would choose (me) because of my lack of (experience), but I still wanted to try because I thought it would be fun and a good experience.
Q: What other shows were you called back for?
A: I was also called back for Neil Simon’s “I Ought To Be In Pictures,” their British pantomime version of “Cinderella” and a new musical called “The Donner Party.”
Q: How did you audition?
A: For my (callback) audition I was sent sides (lines) for Miranda and Ariel (a fairy/spirit thing that is from Miranda’s dad’s imagination). I thought I had a better chance at getting the part of Miranda, so I primarily prepared those sides, which were comprised of a monologue and a scene she has with Ferdinand (Miranda’s love interest). I performed both in front of the director and the producer.
Q: Who is Miranda?
A: Miranda is 15 years old and daughter of Prospero, a duke with magical powers who was banished by his brother. She has lived on an island for the majority of her life with only her father and a creature of the island, whom her father has enslaved. She is very innocent because she hasn’t had any experiences in the real world, but she’s very smart and she knows what she wants. Above all, she looks up to her dad and is a very loving and passionate person.
Q: What’s your costume like?
A: At first, I wasn’t sure how my costume was going to turn out, but when I saw the finished product I was so excited. The skirt is a cross between a curtain and a tablecloth, and it has paint thrown all over it to make it look old. The top is a purple tunic with a suede patch. And I get to be barefoot the whole play. It turned out (to be) really cool looking.
Q: What was your rehearsal schedule like?
A: I rehearsed almost every day and for about four hours a day on school nights. On the weekends I would be at the theater pretty much all day. We rehearsed for about three weeks, and on preview week (a week where we have dress rehearsals with an audience leading up to opening night), I had to leave school early for some last-minute readjusting.
Q: How does this role compare to others you’ve had in the past?
A: This role was a real challenge because I specialize in musical theater, which is extremely different from doing Shakespeare. In addition to the normal character work and memorization you have to do before starting any type of show, there are some other things you have to do. The language alone is difficult to understand, so I had to spend a lot of time figuring out the meaning of my lines. And I also had to make sure I was stressing the right syllables so that (they) would be clear and people would be able to understand what I was saying.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about “The Tempest”?
A: It’s super funny, and it also has a lot of cool musical elements. I only sing for a small part of the show, but Miranda’s father’s spirit, Ariel, carries a guitar almost the whole show. So whenever anything “magical” happens, she (Ariel) plays or sings something to go with it. Our ensemble also sings a lot throughout the show. The coolest part, I think is the very first scene, which is when a big storm takes place. It’s just this huge explosion of guitar, drums and singing. It’s really intense and super fun.
Q: What do you think of the cast?
A: I absolutely love them! My director, Aaron Gallinger-Stierle, has been so supportive and wonderful. And it was just so fun to get to work with someone who has had a lot of experience directing Shakespeare.
At the beginning, I didn’t think I was going to like doing Shakespeare because it was so different from what I usually do. However, after a few rehearsals I was inspired by the cast to be a better actor. They were all so passionate about the show, and Shakespeare in general, that I couldn’t help but fall in love with it as well. By watching these amazing actors, I learned how to improve my clarity, character development (and) how to make a piece of text come alive, all of which, I can carry over to all genres of theater.
—By Spencer Scott