Miriam Metzinger is an actress and producer of Rhinoceros Productions. She has acted with Starcatcher, Theater in the Rough, Theater and Theology, and J-Town Playhouse. Miriam was most recently a part of the cast of Into the Woods and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. We asked Miriam some questions and would like to share her answers with you.
JET: Why did you get involved in acting?
MM: In rural Indiana, there was a program to let kids out of school once every couple of months to go see a production at The Indianapolis Repertory Theater. At IRT in the 80s, they did mainly classic plays–Eugene O’Neil, Thornton Wilder, Tennessee Williams, Pirandello, Sheridan, Wilde etc..the first time I went on one of these trips was to see A Long Day’s Journey Into Night. The teachers were concerned because it was long, serious, heavy play and they were worried the kids would get bored and be disruptive. I was fixated from beginning to end and I felt the wind had been knocked out of me by the end of the show. The other kids were speechless. I thought, “This is what I have to do with my life.”
JET: What is the hardest part about being an actor?
MM: [The hardest part about being an actor is] recreating life and emotions on stage while being focused as an actor on lines, cues, blocking and other details. Being inside and outside of a role at the same time is crucial to acting for the stage.
JET: What was the most rewarding show you have done?
MM: I know this sounds like a “diplomatic” answer, but almost every show is rewarding to some degree, and I always learn something valuable. I feel privileged to have done some bucket list roles like Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret and Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. I knew from the beginning I would love to tackle these. But with some minor roles, (i.e. Gratiano in [The] Merchant [of Venice]) I managed to discover a character there that I didn’t see from the first reading and that is definitely rewarding.
JET: How do you prepare for different roles?
MM: Wow. That really depends on the role. I like to have my lines early so I can actually get around to real acting. Since I have to work for a living, I don’t usually have lines as early as I’d like to. I review some of the things I learned at HB studio from students of Uta Hagen–where am I going when I’m onstage? What just happened? What do I want? I find things in the life of the character that relate to my own life and use those as focal points. I sometimes keep a little journal as the character or cook dinner as the character. I usually never have time to do all these things for all the characters I portray, but these are some of the things I have done (for instance, I cooked dinner for my kids as Sara Jane Moore in Assassins with the accent [and] kept a journal as Martha, etc.)
JET: What is your pre-show routine?
MM: [I do a] dance workout, vocal exercises, diction exercises, meditation, [eat a] sushi or fish and rice dish (nothing gassy), review lines, [and have] a bit of caffeine.
JET: What is your dream role?
MM: I’ve been lucky to have done two of my bucket list roles–Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret, and Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. I have a few other bucket list roles–Mama Rose in Gypsy, Hannah Pitt in Angels in America, Mrs. Lovett or the Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd, Volumina in Coriolanus, Queen Margaret in several Shakespeare plays, Richard III’s mother, the Duchess of York, Joanne in Company and others.