36 Views’ Tuyet Thi Pham on her Constellation debut and her likable villain, Claire

Tuyet PhamThis is your debut with Constellation – tell us how the experience has been working with the company, director Allison Stockman, and the cast

It has been an absolute joy working for Constellation.  It really is one of the most professional, well managed theatre companies I have had the opportunity to work for.  Allison is a very welcoming and collaborative AD.  From the start, she made me feel comfortable; like my ideas about the character mattered.  Her genius, of course, is that she knows how to reign in the actor’s ideas so that it benefits the story telling and the production as a whole.

Making a pillow book

Making the pillow book

as Claire and John Bell (Ashley Ivey)

as Claire and John Bell (Ashley Ivey)

The cast is lovely.  It’s all about relationships to me, and Ashley made creating the relationship between Claire and John very easy.  He is a dream scene partner and an absolute prince. Our scenes also help shape the way I felt about Darius. Believe it or not, Jim and I don’t exchange a single line to each other! Pretty remarkable given that her need for revenge on him is at the core of the deceptions.

Tell us about your character, Claire. How did you work to develop her? What inspired you?

It took a while for me to a handle on Claire.  Her hanging onto that much anger for Darius seemed diabolical to me.  I don’t hold grudges; it’s a foreign sensation. Thoughts of Iago did flash through my head because of Claire’s own duplicity. But really, I didn’t know where to begin so I decided that rather than make early decisions and choices about the character, I would trust the playwright’s words and let the character develop itself.  I didn’t want to worry about consistency or character arc.  I just wanted to allow my

blog.anime2self to honestly respond to what I felt in each individual moment.  After all, human beings are remarkable erratic and can vacillate between kindness and cruelty pretty easily.

What have you learned about her through the course of the run?

That someone can be utterly ruthless and likeable at the same time.

Do you have a favorite moment in the play?

Choosing is hard.  There are so many moments I appreciate and enjoy.  The Nagashime. The look on Ashley’s face when he sees the kimono dress. Megan’s art line. Mono no aware.  The opening of the second act where I am making the pages to the pillow book; fire and water. And I know there are so many more.

Character inspiration: Seiya Kou AKA Sailor Star Fighter.  He was a man and pop idol during the day but found his true power at night when transformed into a woman to save the world!

Character inspiration: Seiya Kou AKA Sailor Star Fighter. He was a man and pop idol during the day but found his true power at night when transformed into a woman to save the world!

What will you take with you of Claire? Will she stay with you?

I’m not sure how much.  Claire and I are two very different people.  We both might be driven, but we are motivated by very different things.  It was a blast to play a villain though; if you can call Claire a villain.

What’s next on your agenda…where can we see you next?

I get a little short break, then I start rehearsals for The Wedding Dress in January, and then after that, I start rehearsals for Kwaidan in the spring. (both plays are at Spooky Action Theatre)

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