Friday, February 24, 2012

Cast Interview #1: Erin Cronican as "Masha" in THREE SISTERS

Welcome to our exciting series of interviews, where you can get to know the cast & creative team in our production of Three Sisters -- an adaptation by Brian Friel of Anton Chekhov's classic story.

Three Sisters runs March 9-25, 2012, Wed-Sat at 7:30pm; Sat & Sun at 2pm in New York City.

For tickets, please click here.

For more info about The Seeing Place, click here.

Your Name:
Erin Cronican

Role in this Production:
Masha (also the co-producer. I know, I'm crazy.)

How long have you been acting?
My first play was Charlotte's Web, where I played The Gander at the tender age of 9. Role #2 at age 10 was Grumpy in Snow White. Apparently, I played a male role so I well that it took me a long time to start playing females.

How long have you been in NYC?
I've lived in New York City since August 5, 2005. Well, wait - I left home on the evening of August 4 and landed on August 5 - so, you decide what my anniversary date is. 

Where are you from originally?
I'm from San Diego. Brandon (our Artistic Director) and I were friends & colleagues in the theater scene there. For those of you who wonder why in the world I would choose NY over the sunny weather in CA... I have one word for you: Pizza.

What's been your favorite role, to date?
I have a tie: My favorite role in a play was Anna in Closer (The Seeing Place, 2011). My favorite role in a musical was Cathy Hiatt in The Last Five Years (North Coast Repertory Theater, 2004.) They're both roles I'd love to play again, especially Cathy. 

If you could play any role in any play right now, what would it be?
Is it a cop out to say Masha? Ok, fine. Someday I'll get a chance to play Becca in Rabbit Hole. But I have a few years yet before I get there...

What's the wackiest experience you've ever had onstage?
Oh, sheesh. Well, I was performing in Camelot at a huge outdoor amphitheater in San Diego. The backstage area was known for having all kinds of bugs, since there were no doors to shut them out. One night we were doing the coronation scene, and there's a part of the scene where the company freezes while Arthur battles with his conscience. As I was standing still, a huge bug crawled out from the shoulder of my cape and just stared at me, beckoning me to scream, or run, or do something. All the blood drained from my face, but I somehow made it through the scene without making a movement or sound. When I got off stage, I squealed and threw my cape on the ground, and asked a stagehand to kill the bug. He chuckled, thinking that I was just a squeamish girl. But as this big, burly stagehand picked up the cape and he saw the size of the bug, he jumped back and shouted, "Holy sh*t!" Not gonna lie- I felt vindicated. 

What's your experience with Chekhov?
This is the first time I've performed in a Chekhov piece (or Friel piece, for that matter.) I've done a production of The Good Doctor, which is Neil Simon's take on a bunch of Chekhov short stories. But this feels very, very different. 

What's been the most challenging thing about preparing for this role?
There are a couple of things. 1) I lost my father 6 years ago, so playing a role in which a daughter is mourning her father is a sensitive thing to achieve (to say the least.) 2) This role is forcing me to confront the kind of person I was in my youth, when I felt stymied and oppressed, as teens tend to. I'm learning how to unleash some of the impetuosity and extreme yearning, which is direct conflict with the mature and (ehem) sane person I appear to be today. At the end of the rehearsal evening, it's tricky to go back to being my "regular" self - I feel a bit at war inside. But the truth is... it's kind of exhilarating. 

What's been the most exciting thing about the rehearsal process?
Seeing the cast coalesce as a true ensemble - that magical thing that happens when you get to know the rhythms of another actor and feel comfortable really sharing with them on stage. 

What parts of yourself are similar to the character?
2 arms, 2 legs, a pair of eyes...a habit of diffusing a situation with humor (albeit silly humor.) I have an insane need for being self expressed, and I think Masha feels the same way. I have a passion about artistry and music, as she does. And, I have very complicated relationships with my siblings (as a fellow middle child, I feel her pain!)

What excites you about THREE SISTERS?
I'm excited that we at The Seeing Place have chosen to tell this story in a way that, I think, audiences will relate to - perhaps in ways they haven't before. I'm looking forward to being able to have a conversation about Chekhov with everyday people after seeing this adaptation. I think Friel makes Chekhov's story more accessible to a modern audience (yay, Brian Friel!) It's exciting to think about how current the themes are today and how we can try to learn something from them.

To learn more about Erin, visit her website at

1 comment:

  1. Great interview Erin! It's interesting to hear about how your life experiences are influencing your work, and I agree that this adaptation is not only exquisite, but accessible. I ALSO played boys for the first years of my acting career. At age 11 I was resentful, though by 19 I was resigned to my fate. I'm still mad good at dressing in drag. I've also had my fair share of mutant bugs in outdoor theatre :)


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