In Part 6 of a series of interviews with the cast of August: Osage County at The Highwood Theatre, meet Elena Meiman.
Joel: Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you perform on the stage before.
My name is Elena Meiman and I am in 9th grade. I have performed in The Importance of Being Earnest, Legally Blonde and The Mystery of Edwin Drood at Highwood.
Why did you want to be in this production of August: Osage County?
This play deals with a lot of mental illness, something that I have a lot of experience with. It’s also very different from anything I’ve ever done before, not just with the unique set layout, but the theme itself.
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 Johnna, and I relate very much to her character. She is a kind, helpful young woman who really cares for her everyone. What I don’t like about Johnna is how she is so business-like to Violet until the end of the play. Violet needs help and Johnna should have been more supportive.
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?
Because I have autism, what Active minds has told me has been mostly review, but it is great to see my peers learning about what I deal with every single day. And I’m not the only one; there are tons of people who deal with what I deal with every day. What this experience has done is make the play more believable. I have first-hand experience with some of the stuff in the play so I can tell others what it’s like.
How has this Highwood Theatre experience changed your life and made you a better person and actor?
Highwood has given me friends my own age, something I really need at my age.
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 memorize my lines without realizing it. It’s just something I’ve always done.
What scene or scenes were the most challenging to learn?
The most challenging scene for me is definitely the frying pan scene. I keep on getting worried about hurting Gabe (who plays Steve) and that makes it all so much harder.
Which character in this play is so much like you and why?
The person I am like the most in the play is Johnna. This is because I am extremely protective and I want to help people.
What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing you perform in August: Osage County at The Highwood Theatre?
I want audiences to know what mental illness really is.
August: Osage County played from March 27-29, 2015 at The Highwood Theatre – 914 Silver Spring Avenue, Suite 102, in Silver Spring, MD.
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.