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Meet the Cast of ‘August: Osage County’ at The Highwood Theatre Part 1: Max Rome

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In Part 1 of a series of interviews with the cast of August: Osage County at The Highwood Theatre, meet Max Rome.

Max Rome.

Max Rome.

Joel: Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you perform on the stage before.

Hello! My name is Max Rome, I’m 15 years old, and this is my 10th production with Highwood. You may have seen me possibly in other Highwood productions such as Bye-Bye Birdie where I played Randolph McAffee.

Why did you want to be in this production of August: Osage County?

My desire to participate this time around was mostly brought on from wanting to relive that “professional theatre environment” that Highwood provided for me a couple years back.  Not to mention that August: Osage County is a fantastic play.

Who do you play in the show, and how do you relate to your character. What do you admire about your character and what do you not admire?

For this show, I take on the role of both Beverly and Little Charles. They both exhibit behavior similar to someone with a depressive mental disorder. While I can’t affirmatively diagnose any of the characters, I can definitely say there have been times where I’ve also experienced moments of extreme emotion. I’ve noticed Little Charles’ ability to endure all the emotional attacks Mattie Fae throws, although I wouldn’t necessarily consider that something to be admired.

What have you learned about mental illness while working with the Active Minds organization that you didn’t know before and how has this experience given you more insight into the character you are playing?

Thanks to Active Minds, I now recognize how prominent the stigma against talking about mental illness still is in society, even now. They also gave me the knowledge to accurately represent people with mental illness through activities like simulating auditory hallucinations, acting out emergency situations, etc.

How has this Highwood Theatre experience changed your life and made you a better person and actor?

Highwood has given me the tools and opportunity to really feel out what it’s like to play a role so apathetic while also panicked at the same time. The stigma surrounding mental illness pervades most educational facilities, so there’s a slim chance I would’ve ever performed this type of show given my age, which is really ironic when you think about it. I couldn’t be more appreciative.

August: Osage County is a long play. Any tricks or methods or advice on learning so many lines that you can share with other actors who are about to learn their lines in another production of this play?

I tend to learn my lines audibly. Specifically, I’ll have someone else read the lines to me, I’ll say it back to them, and repeat it until I finally get them down. I’ll also record myself speaking the lines and do the same process when no one else is around to help.  This doesn’t work for everybody though, obviously.

What scene or scenes were the most challenging to learn?

The prologue was somewhat difficult to get a good hold since the scene portrays Beverly in his final moments when he entrusts Violet in Johnna’s care. Despite what you’d think, his demeanor is rather bubbly in this scene, so fusing those two contrasting emotional states can be difficult, not to mention the monologues.

Which character in this play is so much like you and why?

Well, being a teenager, I do relate to Jean at points. Although Karen and Little Charles both describe how subscribing to social norms, like being in a relationship, helps them feel normal or successful, and I can fully relate to that mentality.

What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing you perform in August: Osage County at The Highwood Theatre?

I hope that the audience realizes how real these erratic emotions are for a lot of people and helps loosen the tight lips holding back the discussion about mental illness that need to happen.

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August: Osage County plays from March 27-29, 2015 at The Highwood Theatre – 914 Silver Spring Avenue, Suite 102, in Silver Spring, MD. For tickets, purchase them at the box office, or purchase them online.

LINKS

Meet the Cast of ‘August: Osage County’ at The Highwood Theatre Part 1: Max Rome.

Meet the Cast of ‘August: Osage County’ at The Highwood Theatre Part 2: Madison Middleton.

Meet the Cast of ‘August: Osage County’ at The Highwood Theatre Part 3: Layla Edwards.

Meet the Cast of ‘August: Osage County’ at The Highwood Theatre Part 4: Eva Silverman.

Meet the Cast of ‘August: Osage County’ at The Highwood Theatre Part 4: Eva Silverman.

Meet the Cast of ‘August: Osage County’ at The Highwood Theatre: Part 5: Shannon Leach.

Meet the Cast of ‘August: Osage County’ at The Highwood Theatre Part 6: Elena Meiman.

Meet the Cast of ‘August: Osage County’ at The Highwood Theatre Part 7: Laura Goldberg.

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