In Part 6 of a series of interviews with the cast of I Hate Hamlet at 2nd Star Productions, meet Nicole Mullins-Teasley.
Joel: Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you in the past year on local stages?
Nicole: My name is Nicole Mullins-Teasley. I actually took most of 2014 off from the stage for personal reasons, so you may have seen me as Nurse in Romeo and Juliet at Spotlighters Theatre last winter or at the Maryland Renaissance Festival for a brief reprisal of my washerwoman character, Penelope Scrubbins. Prior to that, I had the pleasure of performing with Annapolis Shakespeare Company in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Cobweb and Snug.
Why did you want to be part of I Hate Hamlet?
When I saw the announcement, I was initially drawn to the fact that I love a comedy and had always wanted a chance to work with 2nd Star. It was a bonus to get the honor of working with such a great cast and talented staff. After reading the play, I fell in love with all the characters. Shows about the theater are always fun, but add in a ghost and a little romance – it’s hysterical.
What does the show have to say to audiences of all ages?
You have to make a choice in life about what is really important to you. All the money and fame in the world can’t make up for being unhappy with yourself. Being brave enough to risk something can lead to amazing rewards. Every single character has this choice to make in this show on different levels.
Who do you play in the show and how do you relate to your character?
I play Felicia Dantine, Andrew’s real estate agent. Her goals at the top of the show are all business. She sees Andrew as a link to other important people and this sale is important to her. Not only that but she has a little crush on his television character. It’s not until Deirdre arrives that you realize she’s as susceptible to flights of fancy as the next person. She speaks without thinking sometimes and is clearly a romantic optimist.
I think, like Felicia, I try to be very put-together most of the time in my professional life. However, I’m a romantic and optimist as well and I can get sucked in to the moment with the best of them. It’s one of the reasons I love acting. Like Felicia, my enthusiasm outruns my brain sometimes. I probably wouldn’t ever be at a séance, however, as my family is from New Orleans and I believe there are scary things out there.
Have you appeared in other productions of I Hate Hamlet before and who did you play and how is this production different and unique?
No, this was my first opportunity.
What is your favorite scene in the show that you are not in and why? What is your favorite scene that you are in and why?
While I enjoy the amazing swordfight; the romantic moment between Lillian and Barrymore; and Gary’s eventual begging Andrew on his knees – my secret pleasure is watching Deirdre scare Andrew and Barrymore with her “bawdy” song. I laugh every single time she does it.
In the first scene you get to see Felicia completely devolve from professional to ghost-believing dreamer, but I think my favorite scene to play is with Deirdre and Gary. It’s full of flirting and fun for Felicia. Now say that three times fast!
Which character in the show is most like you and why?
As a person, Felicia, but as an actor – Andrew. Most actors, I think, want to be known as performers and secretly dream of fame and fortune, but at what cost? Am I willing to risk my current life? Will it bring me the fulfillment of the stage? The fact that he has achieved something most young actors would kill for in Los Angeles and has a director chasing him for new work seems like a dream situation. I work full time, like Felicia, and made the choice not to pursue theater as my career but there is always the question in the back of my mind, “What if…”
What do you admire most about your fellow castmates’ performances?
Generosity, professionalism and they are SO funny. I’ve worked with Fred before, so I already knew he has a full palette of tools to create his character from, but I was so impressed with his dedication to the swordfight and the earnestness in the end with Lillian and later Andrew. Zak and Malarie are so adorable! I cannot tell you how infectious their enthusiasm is when you share a stage with them. Zak, who had never sword fought before, blew me away with how quickly he learned the fight. Malarie is sweet, smart, and turned Deirdre into someone you could like despite the loss of one crayon in the box. I adore Carole. She has such vibrancy and strength and plays Lillian with a dry humor I love. It was actually really hard to remember she was supposed to be old because there is nothing old about her or her skills. She’s inspiring. Daniel is so much fun to watch. He took a character that had sleaze written all over him, and created an overzealous dreamer with no filter that you could not help but like. I had never gotten to work with any of them, besides Fred, previously so this was a complete joy!
How did you prepare for your role and what were the biggest challenges you faced and how did you resolve them?
Preparing for the role didn’t actually require much beyond the standard “getting off book” because Felicia is such a physical character that I needed to move while playing her. She’s got to read powerful and sexy. The sexy part was the challenge for me. To quote Meghan Trainor’s All about that Bass, “I think it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size 2, but I can shake it (shake it) like I’m supposed to do.” That actually became my theme song on the way to rehearsal.
What was the best advice or suggestions your director gave you about playing your character?
Prior to rehearsal, I was trying to figure out a Queens accent and really work on my New York accent. At the first rehearsal, when I asked if that’s what the Director wanted, he said, “I cast you because I want YOU to play the role. With or without it, just do the role with honesty.” Being given that freedom and trust was hugely appreciated.
Why should audience goers bring their families to see I Hate Hamlet?
The show is funny and has so many relatable characters that everyone can enjoy it. The underlying messages are ones even bored teenagers can appreciate. Once they stop laughing, of course. Even those people who fear Shakespeare will find this show so much fun!
I Hate Hamlet plays its final performance today at 3 PM at 2nd Star Productions performing at Bowie Playhouse – 16500 White Marsh Park Drive, in Bowie, MD. For tickets, call (410) 757-5700 or (301) 832-4819, or purchase them online, or at the door.
Meet the Cast of ‘I Hate Hamlet’ at 2nd Star Productions: Part 2: Zak Zeeks.
Meet the Cast of ‘I Hate Hamlet’ at 2nd Star Productions: Part 3: Carole Long.
Meet the Cast of ‘I Hate Hamlet’ at 2nd Star Productions: Part 4: Malarie Novotny.
Meet the Cast of ‘I Hate Hamlet’ at 2nd Star Productions: Part 5: Daniel Douek.