Multiple universes, multiple stages: Get to know Sarah Gliko and Jered McLenigan
Jered, an actor, and Sarah, an actress, meet at a callback audition. In that moment, could they have imagined they would be sharing The Wilma Theater’s stage in years or later, or for that matter be married? Get to know the cast of the Wilma’s hit show Constellations in their interview with Education Assistant Jenny Ruymann.
JENNY RUYMANN: How did you two meet?
SARAH GLIKO: We met at an audition at the Walnut in 2007. We were at a long callback.
JERED MCLENIGAN: We were in this room together for a couple of hours, waiting. And we were flirting and getting along well and Sarah left before I did and I kind of chased her down the street a little bit and was like “Hey where are you going” you know, “It was really fun today."
SG: I was like “I hope I see you again” and it was awkward, like we knew that one of us wanted to make that first initial contact, but for various reasons we didn’t. And then a year later, a friend of mine was working with Jered on a show and I was like “you are going to introduce me to this guy cause we met and I think something is there.” So I came to see him in the show and he was fantastic and we got food and drinks afterwards and that sort of set the ball rolling.
JM: I guess our first date was the day after Christmas 2008 and then we got married September of 2014.
SG: But we never started working together till we got married. So we got married in 2014 and then Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Antigone followed.
JR: Is Constellations the first time you have worked so closely on a production?
JM: Yeah this is the most interaction we’ve had on stage. It’s been fun!
SG: With all of our [HotHouse] company members we have a common language and a common way of working, so for the two of us it’s that multiplied by 20,000.
JR: It’s interesting to hear how you met, because it makes me think of Constellations - there is a universe where one of you didn't have to wait at that callback, or Jered, if you hadn't run after her on the street...
SG: Exactly, exactly. If I hadn’t used my Sonic Youth bag…
JM: Yeah I was like "whoa, that girl has a Sonic Youth bag; I’m going to talk to her."
SG: Yeah, timing is featured so prominently in this piece, whatever that means. It’s all about timing and lack of timing.
JM: A fun and unique challenge with this piece is the repetition of scenes. I think initially, my instinct was to make them all as different as possible, but we found throughout the process that it’s actually the more subtle changes that are more interesting.
SG: The most subtle shift can shoot everything in a whole different direction. I'm thinking about our bodies being in the space - we are the only objects up there, so any gesture becomes a monumental shift.
JR: Can you tell me a little bit about how the physical training you do in HotHouse has played a role in this production?
JM: It gets you centered and present and much more aware of your body in a different way. Sometimes, our minds and our bodies seem to be disconnected. This works allows me to synergize those two worlds into one. It gets me out of my head and into my body. It's freeing. It's hard work but it's freeing.
SG: We do the warm up before every show, just the two of us. The hope is to let these ideas run through our bodies, and not impose things on our bodies. I feel like if you project a lot of your own ideas, like about your own feelings or backstory, that it can then be very overwhelming for an audience.
JM: We've had to work on not letting the emotional residue from one scene bleed into the next. I’m happy we are continuing this physical training that we’re doing because it allows me to take a breath, wipe the slate clean, and get out of the trap of getting way stuck in my head.
SG: Both of us are pretty hard on ourselves in terms of working. We gotta let go and just press on.
JM: I have to remember that it’s not my job to get it perfect. My job is just to maybe shine a little light on something, to make you think about something in a different way, or make myself think about something in a different way.
JR: What have audience reactions been like in the Lobby Talks so far?
SG: We have discovered that a lot of people are bringing their own stories to it. It lets people think about their struggles with illnesses, or people they know, or this and that. I think that there is so much in it that is universal. That it’s relatable on such a deep level, and the play itself makes room for that in such a beautiful way.