Who are you? What year are you? What are your interests?
My name is Alexandra Berryman and I am a junior this year. My interests lie mainly in theater, music, and writing. I have been interested in theater for as long as I can remember, starting with a production of “Annie” in first grade in which I played Grace. I have been performing ever since in a variety of musicals and plays.
What exactly do you do for Cinderella?
I play Cinderella’s stepsister Charlotte, the most fundamentally misunderstood character in the history of the world. As much a victim of her abusive mother as anyone else, Charlotte has been slighted and insulted throughout her life, constantly relegated to the role of “second favorite daughter”. Though she is self-centered, vain, and somewhat unintelligent (she did skip the second and third grades, after all), at the root of it all is a fundamental lack of self-esteem. The only conceivable route to gain her mother’s affection is to marry the prince, and she will stop at nothing to do so. Unfortunately, nobody could ever see her value through her many faults, and she never gets the happy ending she so desperately needs. This is a fairy tale, after all- only the flawless characters get what they want. #JusticeforCharlotte.
What brought you to join the cast, crew, pit for Cinderella??
I auditioned for Cinderella because of my love of theater. I will take any opportunity to be in a show in any capacity. My experience with Homestead’s theater program has been overwhelmingly positive, and I can’t wait to participate in future productions.
Do you have any stories from rehearsals, practices or crew sessions?
My favorite moments from rehearsal are the times I get to experiment onstage. Charlotte is such a wildly expressive and entertaining character, and I’ve had such a fun time attempting to capture her personality through physicality, character voices, and line delivery. Whether it’s falling on the floor ugly-crying, attempting to throw hands with Cinderella, or violently tossing my shoes offstage, I’ve had such a fun time figuring out how to do justice to the character.
Cinderella is about standing up for what you believe in, living with love and kindness and accepting you can always learn. How have you connected to the story?
Maybe you’ve heard the Ingrid Newkirk quote “The wonderful thing is that it’s so incredibly easy to be kind”. No disrespect to Mrs. Newkirk, but that’s dumb. We are emotional by nature; from an evolutionary perspective our emotionality has enabled us to outlive our enemies. When someone kicks us in the gut, our instinct is to kick them back even harder. The interesting thing about Cinderella is that Ella has every opportunity to punish Madame after marrying the prince, but she does not. She makes the difficult but moral decision to forgive her (admittedly, this is somewhat easier to do because she now has everything she’s ever wanted and Madame has failed miserably, but it’s noble nonetheless). I like this version of Cinderella because it presents this message in a way which is easy for kids to understand and internalize. Being kind is hard, but it’s worth it.
What is it like putting on a show in the time of COVID? How is it different? How is it the same? Other thoughts?
Putting on a show during COVID can be a real pain. Acting -and especially singing- through a mask is tiresome and awful. However, we all recognize the value of keeping each other safe, so we remain masked nonetheless (even when some of our classmates don’t bother to wear theirs at all). We’ve had to cancel two events because of COVID concerns, and as the president of the drama club that was a serious bummer after planning them so thoroughly. Still, we have managed to maintain a sense of community throughout all the challenges, and for that I am thankful.
What’s one thing that is different in this play or rehearsal process than anything else we’ve done in the Homestead Theatre Department?
I have never been in a Homestead show with such a large cast. My first show here was She Kills Monsters, last year’s fall play. Every show since then has had a relatively small cast in comparison to this one. It has been a difficult adjustment to make, but it’s nice to see such a full stage.