Last weekend, soprano Bernie Tirador and the rest of Wheeling Jesuit University's cast put on Pippin for the last time. See what she has to say about her experience with the show in the interview below!
What's your favorite thing about playing Catherine?
"At first, I wanted to play Catherine because she was energetic and kind of cheesy in a fun way, but as I got into the role, I fell in love with the part because she was the turning point of the whole show. She breaks out of the imaginary world, becomes a reality, and saves Pippin's life. Because of Catherine, Death is foiled for perhaps the first time in that vicious cycle. I think her character is representative of the hope we all try to cling to.
What was the hardest thing about playing her?
"Because Catherine starts off lighthearted and sort of manipulative, just like all the other players, I had to make the transition to a real woman falling in love seem somehow realistic. She has to portray love, pain, and loyalty. It's kind of an emotional roller coaster!"
What's your favorite song from the show?
"I Guess I'll Miss the Man. This is the song Catherine sings after Pippin leaves her and she realizes she loves him. It actually has comical undertones, just like the whole show, but I found the song deeply emotional and honest. I actually struggled not to cry while singing it a couple times."
What's your funniest tech week story?
"Well I can't think of any funny tech week stories. But I have a slightly comical, somewhat disastrous show day story so we'll just go with that. Friday the Thirteenth, someone said the "M" word in the theater (for those of you who don't know, saying "Macbeth" inside the theater is bad luck; you're basically asking for disaster to strike). That night, the bad luck fell on me. I have a sex scene in Act II, and sometime during all the squirming and flailing my mic pack managed to open itself and spill the batteries. But I didn't realize this, I thought it had just turned off with all the steamy action. So while the audience thought Pippin and I were getting it on under the sheets, he was actually reaching down my costume and trying to figure out what the heck the problem was. I finished up the act having to project my lines and songs extra loud. When I took off my dress after the show, two AWOL batteries fell out. I taped my pack closed for the rest of the weekend."
What makes this cast special?
"We had so many newcomers and it pulled from so many different social groups. We have a freshman-heavy cast - Pippin, for example, was played by a freshman - and some upperclassmen who had never done theater before. It was an eclectic group that never would have formed without this show, and yet we quickly became a family. Our GroupMe and group snap are still blowing up my phone, and I can't see that slowing down anytime soon."
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