• Joyce Lao

Performance Days

I am back after weeks of intense rehearsals and personal errands!

I have mentioned on my previous blog that I am thrilled that as an Asian, I will be performing in a professional theater in Manhattan. American Theatre of Actors has honed some of the most seasonal actors in the past decades. Their most notable actor to date is Robert De Niro. It is also the same theatre where Urinetown, the musical started their Off Broadway production before they finally got ot Broadway. On my first day of rehearsal, I was delighted to see another Asian woman in the cast.

This adaptation of the Cherry Orchard from at the American Theatre of Actors is adapted to 1965 America. It is a time when majority of our audience understand and relate to. I think this is a very interesting move.... and it is bold for the production to turn some of the male roles to female roles.

When I first read the script,I thought the role of Mr. Pischik, aka. Mrs. Pischin, which I am playing was very clear - a caricature who occasionally blurts out random phrases and takes many naps. The original script described Pischik sleeping at different times in the play.

I loved the character when I read the entire script - it is a supporting role but it is fun to play. When we started rehearsing, I tried to be a balance of grounded, outrageous and also sleepy and in pain. Pischik has mentioned about his strokes and gouts.... which made me think that he doesn't really take care of himself that much. Sometimes I do have musings and thoughts when I try to understand a character that I watch or a play.... they don't have to be important but these musings help me portray my roles.

As the rehearsals progressed, I had to change my mindset. I struggled to take my psyche away from my original thought of who Pischin should be. I was asked to still embody the original character but with more energy... The entire cast are very talented performers, our director, Jessica Jennings - an award winning director has helped me renew my stage skills since I have been doing on-camera work only for 2 years! So .... how am I embodying this character on stage? Well, you just have to find out! Come and see us at the American Theatre of Actors, New York City. We close on August 5th! Free to Actor's Equity Members, TDF tickets are accepted! For more information, please visit

Act III playing Mrs. Pischin with Alexander Chilton as Peter

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