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Office Hours with Dr. Stafford

May 10, 2011

Erratica’s Lisa Herceg was kind enough to indulge our sillier impulses by thoughtfully answering our ridiculous questions.

Tell us a little about your character.
Samantha Stafford is sharp-tongued, prickly and totally irreverent – in a massively multi-syllabic kind of way.   She is way too smart for her own good and sees the world entirely through the prism of the printed page.   She has a tendency to get suddenly carried away with her own cleverness and finds herself in those “Aw, crap, what just came out of my mouth?” kind of places from time to time…but most of the time she just doesn’t care.   Diplomacy is for wimps.   Her general feeling about other people is that if they’re smart enough, they’ll give as good as they get…and if they’re not, they’re not worth her time.

Do you worry about Stafford coming off as harsh or shrew-ish, or is that exactly the sort of thing that someone not worth Stafford’s time would say?
No, I don’t.  I did early in the process – I actually worried about the opening monologue in particular a LOT.  (That is still a little bit on the b*tchy side.)  But Dan Foss’s direction pushed me toward a much more likeable, more comedic Stafford: she’s exasperated instead of angry;  laughing because there isn’t really anything else to do, rather than railing.   I think we succeeded; so far no one has told me they find Stafford harsh or unlikeable.  (At least, they’re not TELLING me so.)


What was the first show you ever did?
My very first role in a full-length play was Clytemnestra in Iphigenia in Aulis.   I was 16 years old and had no business in the world with that kind of material.   But I attacked it with everything I had…and it bit me back.   I haven’t stopped acting since.


16 would be high school, right?  What possessed your high school to do Euripides?

My highschool was bizarre – tiny little private school that used only primary texts, never textbooks, and utterly devoted to “The Classics.”  (With Capitals).  They ONLY did Shakespeare and Greek tragedy – no musicals, no modern plays, these weren’t worth their time.  And ALL the students had to be involved, so I’m afraid they did them…rather badly.  (Probably still do.)  But hey, everything else from there was cake.

What is your dream role?
Only one??   Ummmm…Rose in Gypsy…Lady Macbeth…Regina in The Little Foxes…Phyllis in Follies.   I’m finally getting old enough to actually PLAY the roles that interest me most.

You get one super-power.  What is it?
Flying.  Figures in my dreams all the time.

Where would you go?  Do you think you’d have any interest in fighting crime?
I would go…wherever I wanted to.  Quickly.  And I wouldn’t have said I had any interest in fighting crime until very recently when I suddenly developed a very keen sense of injustice and a rather quick reaction time to it.   I’m suddenly finding myself doing things like running down purse-snatchers (successfully) and screaming obscenities at men kicking a drunken buddy on an El platform.  It’s fabulously cathartic but my wife is pretty sure it’s going to get me killed.

Magic genie.  Three wishes.  Go.
No more war, bloodshed or violence of any kind, ever, anywhere.  (Is that three right there?  If not, then….)   Unending health for everyone I come into contact with, but they won’t know it.   And the ability to earn a fantastic living doing theater without ever worrying about what happens between gigs.

Ok, what if I gave you two more?
Perhaps super-human strength, now that you mention it.  Ability to fly would be nice, too.  (Doesn’t that all just tie in beautifully?)

What really pisses you off?  I mean REALLY.  I’m talking murderous rage here.
Violent criminal behavior.   (How’s THAT for ironic?)

Seems like normal survival instinct, honestly, although the irony isn’t completely lost on me.  Like refusing to tolerate intolerance. (See Dan’s interview.)
Dan and I are frequently joined at the head.

What is your personal motto?
When in doubt, say nothing.   (I rarely follow this but it sounds like a good idea.)

If, hypothetically, someone wanted to seduce you, how would they go about it?  In theory.
Dress elegantly; turn on a low-pitched, sexy voice; use loads of eye contact; and employ accidental brushing.   Or just be Helen Mirren.   Helen Mirren from the late 90s would be good, but Helen Mirren anytime would work just fine.

Who do you consider a modern-day demigod?
See above.

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