ED- The Eerie Digest is excited to introduce a young actress who has started her acting career at an early age. She has already been on stage and is now breaking into film. Amanda Wright is traveling the path that many young actor dreams of. Amanda, tell us about the training that you have taken so far to reach out towards your goals.
AW- I have been taking private and group acting lessons from teachers at George Mason University, and Hollywood directors such as Tom Logan. I have also recently undertaken singing lessons, and I hope to someday advance to dance lessons to make myself a triple threat.
ED- When did you first started training and what classes did you feel that were the most important for you to take towards your career?
AW- I first started training when I was in seventh grade, right after I finished Annie with my middle school. I have been continuing these lessons for the past four years and I like to think that I am improving! Improvisation classes are definitely the most important classes I need to take. Thinking on your feet is a necessary skill in this field, and without the training I know I would not be able to do it very well.
AW- My first performance was one of the most nerve wracking moments of my entire life. Before then I have never done anything in front of more then a couple people, and seeing the whole auditorium packed scared me to death. As the curtain opened I was shaking so hard I could barley stand up. But as the performance got going, and I starting singing with the rest of the Annie cast I calmed down and something sparked. I knew from that moment that the stage is my home, and that performing in front of people and making them smile and laugh is what I was meant to do. When the audience starting applauding I gained so much more confidence because I knew that I had done something right and found my place. It was an eye opening experience.
ED- You were then in ‘Radio Vega’ and ‘The Music Man’. What were your roles in these?
AW- In ‘Radio Vega’ I played Tanyalee Rodman who was a news reporter covering a beauty pageant in the small town of Vega. I performed it at George Mason University and it was actually directed by the Lisa Nanni-Messegge, my acting coach. In ‘The Music Man’ I was just an extra kid-in-town, but it was still a lot of fun. I performed it at the Lang Theatre in Washington D.C with the Washington Savoryards and it was my first professional musical. I got paid $50 for the whole run.
ED- You then performed in ‘Alice In Wonderland’ and ‘Rockin’ On Broadway’, followed by ‘I’d Rather See You In Your Grave’ in which you performed two roles. Please tell us all about these.
AW- ‘Alice in Wonderland’ is my absolute favorite play I have ever been involved in. I played the March Hare, who is the Mad Hatter’s best friend and side kick. Dan Twomey, the Mad Hatter, and I got to go crazy with our roles. We could be as loud as we wanted, and as big as we wanted! Which I adored because I am a naturally loud person. Because the characters were insane nothing was off limits. We literally ran around the stage with him giving me a piggy-back ride. ‘Rockin’ On Broadway’ was a chorus of about 15 people singing upbeat, fun songs from popular Broadway musicals such as Grease, Tommy, and Mammia Mia. We had tons of fun props and the audience was involved in every performance. ‘I’d Rather See You In Your Grave’ was an original play that I performed at George Mason University. That was my first time working with a historical piece of theatre. I had to make sure I portrayed the characters exactly how the playwright remembered them.
ED- Remarkable for someone so young, you appeared in four more plays. These included ‘Dear Edwina’, ‘ A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, ‘Seuss Odyssey’, and ‘Fog On The Mountain’. What were the themes of these plays and tell us about your roles in them?
AW- I did ‘Dear Edwina’ with the same theatre company as I did ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ It was all about following your dreams and doing what you love no matter who makes fun of you for it. You just always have to sing your own song. I played Becky the cheerleader and babysitter. That was a new experience altogether. Never have I ever played a role that involved me moving my feet and hands specific ways at the same time. I found out that cheerleading does not come to easy for me. I was Hermia in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and struggled with that part a little bit. It was the first thing I have done in Shakespearian and I had some trouble memorizing the long monologues. But it worked out in the end! ‘Seuss Odyssey’ and ‘Fog On The Mountain’ were both one act plays through my high school. ‘Seuss Odyssey’ is the Odyssey told in the style of Dr. Seuss. I played a big monster called Charybdis! I got to wear a long green ball gown and run around in circles. It was pretty fun. In ‘Fog’ I played Olive, who was an employee in a grocery store. It was all about the legend of the Scarecrow Woman who takes people to the depths of Muddy Pond never to be seen again. It was more of a Halloween drama.
ED- How were you able to switch your various character’s personalities for these multiple roles and separate them to make them so distinguishable from each other?
AW- For the plays were I had to be multiple roles I was able to change the personalities just by putting on a different costume. With each piece of clothing a different trait comes up for the character. It has always been easy for me to make all of my characters distinct. You just have to create different mindsets for each character and stay within them during the scene.
ED- You also performed for a Driving video as well as created a voice-over for a safety ad for the State of Delaware. Please explain this aspect of your career for our readers.
AW- The Driving video was to help prevent distracted driving. We were trying to get people to put down their phones and pay attention to the road. The safety ad was to try to prevent underage drinking. This part of my career is very different from the theatre. This time you are on camera, so you don’t have to project, and be big with your actions. You have to stick to one spot on the floor and make sure that you get your lines exactly right. It is stricter than theatre but I still love it. The same kind of rules apply with the voice over. The microphone is right in front of your face. So you have to be much more quite then you are used to. I struggled with that at first. I was almost always too loud. But now that I am getting used to it I am doing better at controlling myself and making my actions more intense than big.
ED- The next step in your career was an acting role in the web-series ‘So You Think You Can Act’. How exciting was this for you and how important is this for your career?
AW- This is very very exciting! I now get to share my passion for what I do with people all over the world, not just in the space I am performing in. It helps me work on being in front of a camera and improvising at the same time. Which is something that I need to work on! The people I work with are so much fun and we have to stop shooting most of the time because we are laughing too hard to talk. This is very important to my career because it gets me the exposure I need to get involved in bigger projects. I also get to meet many directors with a lot of connections through this web series.
ED- Amanda, this is a great career that you have chosen, and we know that your whole heart is in it. With the many students that read our magazine, you have become the inspiration for their dreams. We want to thank you for sharing your experiences with us, and wish you much luck in all that you do.