Cast Member Interview: Getting into Into the Woods

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Like his cast-mates in the upcoming Department of Theater and Dance production of Into The Woods, Ansel Burn ’20 is ready for opening night. He cites the group as one of the most prepared he has seen in his time at Trinity. Burn will play the role of the narrator, a more minor role compared to the personality-driven parts that populate the show. In a moment of levity he chuckles about type-casting. “I think the accent does help… It’s an added layer of separation.”

As a sophomore, Burn’s journey as an actor at Trinity has only begun relatively recently. He has observed these seniors as they near the end of their respective college acting careers, some of which have spanned all four years and a great many productions. Among these, this is his second Sondheim show, following Sondheim’s Company in the fall of 2016.

This show features the senior leads who have become Trinity’s theater landmarks over their time here. The senior leads consist of triumphant Heathers lead Adelaide Jenkins ’18, with her costar in that performance Cooper Jennings ’18.  James Nash ’18, Chris Perkowski ’18, Jack Lynch ’18 and Kira Mason ’18 will all take the stage again, as will  Lydia Haynes ’18 in the pivotal and coveted role of the witch, made enviable by Bernadette Peters and Meryl Streep.

On the topic of performances, Burn enthuses about the perfect casting all around, with special emphasis on what Haynes will be bringing to the table. “She does it so well. I can’t wait for people to see, and I’m so glad she was cast  in the role.”

The cast, which is driven by this core of seasoned seniors but supported by several underclassmen actors has reportedly spent the rehearsal period painfully aware of the time crunch involved in adapting such a complex and long show in a short period of time. Burn says the tight schedule was difficult for all involved: “We’ve had since January to put this show on in the beginning of March, which is ridiculous, because it’s so massive. We put in a lot of hours. It’s been an intense process because we haven’t had time to take a break.”

An obstacle in putting on any Sondheim show is the vocal dexterity needed to pull off the quick-paced singing and lines. Yet even this challenges was met by the talented group. “when you watch it…it’s really incredible how everyone’s very good.” One of the challenges for Burn and the cast in putting on such a musical theater standby is that there is little room for variation. “There’s not much room for improvisation,” says Burn. “It’s a long musical, intense from start to finish.” Into The Woods will be performed at Austin Arts Center March 1, 2, and 3.

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