In Part 2 of a series of interviews with the cast of August: Osage County at The Highwood Theatre, meet Madison Middleton.
Joel: Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you perform on the stage before.
Madison: My name is Madison Middleton, and I’m in 9th grade. I’ve been in many, many Highwood productions, most recently The Mystery of Edwin Drood as the Chairman. I’ve also performed with Young Artists of America and Theatre Lab.
Why did you want to be in this production of August: Osage County?
It’s just a really good show that tells a lot of truth, and I wanted to be part of a project that discusses mental health and works to lift the stigma it has in society.
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?
I play Ivy Weston, middle daughter of Violet and Beverly. She’s a very observant character, so much so that she sometimes detaches herself from what it is she is observing. Subconsciously, she views herself as apart from the family chaos; she is her own person with her own destiny. Nevertheless, by the end of the play, the reality of her dysfunctional family (and her place within it) catches up with her.
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?
The subject of mental health is very prevalent in my life, and still Active Minds has taught me so much, especially as an actor. My favorite element of working with them, for the most part, was the discussions we had about our characters. They asked questions that were both thought-provoking and enlightening.
How has this Highwood Theatre experience changed your life and made you a better person and actor?
I’m a very thorough actor, but I think I’m even more so now. I’m asking more questions and making more connections. It’s very exciting. As a person, I’ve become a better listener, I suppose. This is a tough question because a huge part of a show’s impact is doing the show itself. So we shall see!
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?
Read the scene a lot. Get comfortable with it and know what happens. When memorizing lines, it helps to know why you are saying what you’re saying.
What scene or scenes were the most challenging to learn?
Definitely Ivy’s last scene (which is also the last scene of the entire play). There is this one section where Violet, Barbara and Ivy have a sequence of short, quiet lines that just kills me.
Which character in this play is so much like you and why?
To be completely honest, I think I’m a lot like Ivy. We have a very similar foundation. We care so much about the people we love, but when those are the same people that drag us down, we both (in a way) know when to detach. I think we both desperately try to find people that are positive and that make us happy.
What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing you perform in August: Osage County at The Highwood Theatre?
Mental illness is very real. It is something that is debilitating and beyond difficult to live with. Most importantly, it is something that should be discussed within our community, our society, so that we may begin to support one another and fight against these terrible diseases.
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.
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 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.