In our series of interviews with the director and cast of American University’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, meet cast member Drew Copeland.
Joel: Introduce yourself to our readers and tell them what other shows you have appeared in and some of the roles you have played.
Drew: I’m Drew Copeland I’m a History major and Theatre minor from Biddeford, Maine. I’ve been in the 2013 Rude Mechanicals Variety Show as the friar disguised Duke Vincentio, I’ve been involved in the AU Players 24 Hour Play and 10 minute play festivals, but my biggest role was the lovable (albeit stupid) Harry from AU Players Tom, Dick, and Harry.
Why did you want to be in Women on the Verge… at AU?
I actually had a video audition for Women on the Verge… A friend told me that they were auditioning and I really wanted to be apart of a DPA show, so I literally practiced my audition for about two weeks before submitting it. I never really sang in front of an audience before so I was really nervous.
Had you seen the show on Broadway, and if yes, what did you like the most about it and what did you not like about it? Why do you think it only ran for 69 performances?
I never saw the show on broadway. However, if I had to take a guess the show had too many ideas going on at once and just made it confusing for the audience.
What does Women on the Verge… have to say to your generation of theatregoers?
CALM DOWN WILL YOU! EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE FINE! To me, the show isn’t about the setbacks in life, but how one deals with them. Reminds me of the quote “Life is what goes on while you’re making plans.”
Who do you play in Women on the Verge… and how do you relate to them?
I play Malik the Shiite terrorist, the Telephone Repairman, and the TV Cop. I’m not too sure if I relate to any of them, unless I was in a porno, then maybe I’d relate to the Telephone Repairman.
What do you admire about your character and what do you not admire?
I admire Malik’s talents in bed, I do not admire the whole trying to blow up a building thing. Yeah, not okay with that.
What have been the challenges you have encountered while preparing for your role and how have you overcome these challenges? How did your director, Carl Menninger, help you to overcome these challenges?
I think my biggest issue was the Dream Ballet I share with the lovely Kendall Helblig. There just seemed to be a pressure to get the right movements on the right counts and it was just stiff for a while. Carl and Robb Hunter were able to help with just getting the two of us to relax and it became a lot more fluid and sexy.
What is your solo in the show and what do we learn about your character when you sing it?
My solo is the “Dream Ballet” in Act Two. I think you learn about Marissa’s development as a woman with needs that Carlos cannot satisfy, so she got it from the Telephone Repairman. If you learned anything about me, you are smarter than I am.
What have you learned about yourself – the actor and singer- during this whole process?
I learned that it doesn’t matter if you have a big part or a small one, you have to own it and make it fun for you. That and what Gazpacho tastes like. It’s terrible. Don’t have it. Unless you are into that sort of thing. Otherwise don’t. Just don’t.
How do you describe the David Yazbek score you get to sing?
The score is actually really groovy, and funky and I love it. Specifically “Tangled” because of the way that different voices intermix with each other, as if the voices (much like the characters) are tangled among themselves.
What is your favorite song that you are not performing and why? What is your favorite scene in the show and why?
Favorite songs are between “Lie to Me” and “Invisible” because I feel the genuine quality of each emotions as the actors sing them (Izzy Smelkinson, Jesse Saywell, and Linda Bard respectively). Favorite scene is probably the very first scene in act two, just because it is always funny to me.
What do you want audiences to take with them after watching you perform in Women on the Verge…?
Don’t trust anyone who will bring a grenade belt with them to bed. You’re just asking for trouble.
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown plays through October 25, 2014 at American University’s The Harold and Sylvia Greenberg Theatre – 4200 Wisconsin Avenue, in Washington DC. For tickets, call the box office at (202) 885-2587, or purchase them online.
October 24-25, 2014 at 8 PM and October 25, 2014 at 2 PM.
Read Douglas Lloyd’s review of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown on DCMetroTheaterArts.
Meet the Director and Cast of American University’s ‘Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown’: Meet Director Carl Menninger.