WW: You are well known for taking on a handful of challenging characters in a theatre season, what is different about working on Turner and a new play? How has your time in the development process effected your journey with the character?
VS: ESDO is definitely different experience for me in that there has been a really nice ongoing collaboration among everyone in the room with respect to discovering who these characters really are. Rather than working on a locked script, we've been able to adjust Turner's voice and path along the way with a little help from our very open-minded playwright and director. It's been refreshing to be able to play around with what is in many ways a blank canvas (yes, that pun was entirely intended) and discover layer upon layer about what makes Turner Street tick. I cannot wait to see where we wind up in a few weeks.
WW: This play won't give you much breaks, how has it been in rehearsal playing a character who rarely leaves the stage and is in a constant triangle with the other two players?
VS: This role is definitely a physical and emotional challenge and there isn't a whole lot of downtime to recover, so it is going to be a sprint rather than a marathon for sure. I could not have asked for two better people with whom to share the stage -- Mike and Melissa have been amazing partners in this process and it is going to make the triangular dynamics a lot of fun to experience (and I hope just as much fun to watch). As demanding as the role is, and as dark as things can get, I am having a tremendous amount of fun, so that will make the wild ride entirely worth it.
WW: How do you relate to Turner's struggle?
VS: Turner has always struck me as someone trying to make sense out of the world, both in terms of the big-picture as well as his own microscopic place in it. He is sorting through a lot of pieces of history -- not all of them positive -- and doing his best to keep them under control, rather than letting them control him (with varying degrees of success). I think that is an innate part of human nature and something we all relate to, and without going into too may specifics, I can definitely appreciate some of the particulars of Turner's own unique path.
WW: If you could give Turner a piece of advice, what would it be? (no spoilers!)
VS: You cannot run from the past, but you can embrace it, learn from it, and let it shape who you are in the future. Unfortunately, that is all much easier said than done. The past can be a pretty painful and awful place, and sometimes it seems far easier to simply bury the memories or dismiss them as unimportant or lacking in influence. In the end, though, we are the sum of our experiences, and denying that piece of ourselves is a formula for self-destruction. All that said, I would tell Turner to turn around and face the parts of himself he'd just as soon forget, rather than continuing to pretend that they aren't always just a few steps behind him, no matter how quickly he runs.