Erin Struckhoff is back at CCT for Inherit the Wind. She most recently headlined our production of The Women playing Mary and before that was nominated in the inaugural Theatre Mask Awards for her performance as Mrs. Scottish Person in the Scottish Play (footnote: I am not superstitious myself about the name of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy set in Scotland, but I know some people are, so . . .). Erin gave me a few minutes during a break in a recent rehearsal. Here are her responses to a few general questions:
Joe: So, “The Scottish Play” was your first show with Clayton. Is that what brought you here? Was Mrs. Scottish person a bucket-list role for you?
Erin Struckhoff: It was Clayton’s solid reputation that attracted my attention. By the summer of 2014, it had been eight years since I had been on stage. I had set theatre aside after the birth of my second daughter, and my husband’s work schedule being mostly evening shifts. But that summer, theatre was calling me again. Children were older, and schedules set. I searched for companies with solid reputations, and then waited for auditions to be announced. “Macbeth” is definitely a siren song to actors who love Shakespeare. I had played Lady Macbeth before, but I think it is role and a show an actor can do several times and always find it thrilling.
Joe: After Mrs. Scottish person and a transcendent performance in The Women, here you are as Mrs. Krebs. Is your process the same? How is it different creating Mrs. Krebs from the other prominent roles you’ve done for us? And how is it similar?
Erin Struckhoff: I think the process is always the same. You start with the text, because it gives you all of your information on how your character is to be constructed, and how you’re going to find the character within the context of the play. The major difference is when your character has fewer lines and little said about them, you have less information to guide you. So, in that respect, I would say creating Mrs. Krebs is a little more challenging. I have to come up with everything about her, beyond the hints from the text, and Mark’s vision for character.
Joe: Do you like Mrs. Krebs?
Erin Struckhoff: I admire her ability to – she has a clear sense of what she believes in and she sticks to it. I’m not particularly fond of her. If she were a person I probably wouldn’t be friends with her, and would probably avoid interaction as much as possible. But that doesn’t make it harder to play her. It’s more fun.
Joe: Will the audience like her? Should they like her? Will they see themselves in her at all?
Erin Struckhoff: I think there will be moments when they see themselves in her – as with all the characters. I doubt they will like her, though.
Joe: You are here with basically your whole family. Does that change the experience?
Erin Struckhoff: Yes, of course. My husband, Jeff, and I actually met doing a show. This is the first play for both of my daughters. To get to be on stage with all of them is a unique experience.
Joe: Have your daughters done anything in audition or rehearsal that have surprised you? Reminded you, maybe of yourself?
Erin Struckhoff: Well, Kellann cracked me up at the auditions. I wanted to see how the girls did without any guidance, so we had never rehearsed it or gone over anything beforehand. And she was so into playing the scene– and so much bigger than I expected – and she was the one who, in the beginning, was afraid to be up in front of all those people. And Delaney has made some wonderful observations during the rehearsals. They’re very happy to be in the show. They love coming to rehearsals. And I truly thank Mark for making it such a happy, fun, and creative process.