In part four of a series of interviews with the cast of Ovations Theatre’s Spring Awakening, meet Yasmin Ranz-Lind and Heather Kirschner who share the role of Wendla Bergman.
Joel: What is your name, age, high school and role in Spring Awakening?
Yasmin: My name is Yasmin Ranz-Lind, I’m 16 years old, and I go to Bethesda Chevy Chase High School. I play the role of Wendla.
Heather: My name is Heather Kirschner, I’m 14 years old and a freshman at Winston Churchill High School! I play Wendla Bergman.
Tell us about your role. What do you find most challenging or interesting about playing this character?
Heather: Wendla is a young girl who yearns to know what is going on with her body and the world but is never given the knowledge she needs to know, throughout the show she discovers everything she wanted to know through experience.
Yasmin: Wendla is one of the most interesting characters I’ve ever played because she comes off as an innocent, proper young lady, and yet she is self-assured and knows exactly what she wants at all times. She’s also one of the most challenging roles I’ve ever played because of the emotional journey she goes through in the course of the play.
The show touches on some difficult and some dark themes such as abuse, abortion and suicide. Why is it important for teenagers to portray these issues, and why is it important for audiences to see it?
Heather: The topics that are discussed in Spring Awakening are very important for teenagers to know so that they are aware what is happening to young adults just like them, even if it’s not happening to them personally.
Yasmin: At its core, this show is about teenagers and the issues they face every day. Every difficult topic we discuss is something that we have gone through, or something a friend has gone through. It’s important for us as teenagers to talk about them, but it’s also important for an audience to experience it so that they can understand the dangers of lack of information or depression.
What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned from working on the production?
Yasmin: The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is that stepping outside of your comfort zone is essential, especially as a young actor. I never imagined myself in this kind of production, but now I embrace it and am ready and excited to take on the challenge.
Heather: The most valuable thing that I learned from being in this show is the power of knowledge and the effects of not having access to knowledge.
How many shows have you worked on with Ovations Founder and Artistic Director Darnell Morris? What do you like most about working with him?
Yasmin: This is my first production with Darnell, and I’m having a wonderful time. He is an unbelievably supportive director, and he encourages us to understand the material at a deep level, allowing us to expand our knowledge of our characters, as well as grow as people.
Heather: This is also my first show working with Darnell and Ovations and what I like most about working with Darnell is how he finds the perfect balance between having a great time and getting everything done at the same time. I always have a great time at rehearsal thanks to him and I always leave feeling productive!
Many of the cast members have been performing together since they were 10 years old and now are upperclassmen in high school. How does this kind of close-knit community help foster growth, both artistically and personally?
Yasmin: Even coming in as a new member of the program, I felt the community and the support from my cast mates. Despite the fact that I was new, I felt comfortable coming into the program, which allowed me to do my work on the show and foster relationships with my castmates that make for a well-rounded experience, as well as an amazing show. It’s very ensemble based, so our personal relationships play a part in making it as successful as possible.
Heather: I think that this kind of environment is really great for putting a production together because everybody works as one amazing team and you know that if something goes wrong onstage they will always have your back.
What have you learned about yourself the actor and singer during your Spring Awakening experience?
Yasmin: I saw the Deaf West production of Spring Awakening last year, and it changed my life. The music and the content really spoke to me, and having the opportunity to sing these words and tell this story is still mind blowing. Playing this part has increased my confidence as an actor and a singer, and has given me an unbelievable opportunity.
Heather: I learned a lot about how much I enjoy working as a double and how rewarding it is when you and your double learn something together and you know you’ve made an amazing friend along the way!
Spring Awakening plays from December 2-4, 2016, at Ovations Theatre performing at The Kreeger Theatre JCC of Greater Washington – 6125 Montrose Road, in Rockville, MD. For tickets, purchase them at the door or online.
Meet the Cast ‘Spring Awakening’ at Ovations Theatre Part 1: Marjorie Long and Josie Weinberg.
Meet the Cast ‘Spring Awakening’ at Ovations Theatre: Part 2: Ethan Miller.
Meet the Cast of ‘Spring Awakening’ at Ovations Theatre: Part 3: Chloe Friedman and Meghan Carey.