on July 29, 2016 by in Golden News, Comments Off on Actor shares thoughts on her one-woman show

Actor shares thoughts on her one-woman show

The Edge Theatre’s second summer show introduces audiences to Sue Mengers, a Hollywood agent who worked with talent like Barbara Streisand, Steve McQueen, Cher and Burt Reynolds.

And does she have stories to tell.

Henry Award winner Emma Messenger plays Mengers in the one-woman show, “I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers,” directed by Josh Hartwell.

This raucous character study allows Messenger to push her limits as a performer and bring the audience along. We spoke to Messenger about the role and challenges she faces:

Tell me about the show for people who aren’t familiar with it?”I’ll Eat You Last” is a one-woman show about the Hollywood super-agent Sue Mengers. She was incredibly powerful in a male-dominated industry, where women were rarely able to wield any power, ascending to her strength in the ’70s. Yet we meet her just as she has begun to lose that power. She has fallen off the cliff and has not quite realized that she’s no longer on terra firma.

So it’s not just a movieland gossip fest, it’s also a story of aging past your prime, of no longer keeping up in a world that has moved past you.

How did you approach the character of Sue Mengers?I read every story and article I could find about her. I watched other actress’ videos. And I listened over and over to the only available recording of her — the Mike Wallace “60 Minutes” interview from 1975. She was so surprising, her voice so soft and feminine, even though she was saying outrageous things.

Then I put all that down and just focused on the John Logan text with the help of my brilliant director, Josh Hartwell. Josh really took me in a different direction than I would have gone on my own. She’s such a flamboyant person. My instinct led me to this loud, over-the-top creation. Josh insisted on a more subtle and nuanced take and, hopefully, instilled a more interesting characterization.

What are the challenges of doing a one-woman show?It can be very lonely. And you have to stay so focused, because if you blank on stage, there’s no one to come to your rescue. It’s also a challenge to play with the audience, because it’s not like you have a scene partner you have grown to know and trust over a rehearsal period. You have no idea what kind of energy and reaction the audience will give you.

What’s your favorite part about working on this production?I love the stories. Sue was such a raconteur and John Logan’s script is so witty and well crafted. It’s a joy to act.What would Sue tell people who are considering seeing the show?She would say, “Buy a … ticket and get your a– in the seat!” She was rather salty to say the least.


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