2017-2018 Season,  The Mill on the Floss

QandA With Cast and Crew – Mill on the Floss

by Richelle Sutton, dramaturg

On the set of Mill on the Floss

In honor of the show opening this weekend, I asked some of the cast and crew about their thoughts and experiences of this production. We hope that you will think about and enjoy their answers, and we look forward to seeing you come to the show in the next few weeks!

What do you love about this show?
I love that there are no strawman arguments. Each character gets their view expressed quite well, which makes for rich conflict. And while there is a focus on feminism, I don’t feel that Tom’s point of view is any less valid than Maggie’s.
– Bradley Mackay (Mr. Tulliver/Dr. Kenn)

I love telling stories I care about, for people I care about, with people I care about. It doesn’t get much better than that. Rather than a rehearsal, it has seemed more like a consistent get together of friends, pooling ideas and personal insights into what has become our show.
– Cooper Sutton (Phillip Wakem/Uncle Pullet/Bob Jakin)

I love the students I am working with. I emphasize all of the students I am working with. The collaborative process requires commitment from everyone involved and I see and feel the energy the students are giving this production. It energizes me and brings me joy.
– Adam Houghton (Director)

What motivated you to be a part of this production?
Spencer wouldn’t stop talking about it, so I figured it was probably going to be pretty good.
– Bradley Mackay (Mr. Tulliver/Dr. Kenn)

Who should see this play?
If you like historical dramas, if you like romantic tragedies, or if you like philosophical discussions after the show over ice cream, you would absolutely love this show.
– Bradley Mackay (Mr. Tulliver/Dr. Kenn)

Anyone who just wants to see a really wonderful and deep story told, as well as see a beautiful piece of theatre should come. But be warned, it is sad! Powerful and beautiful, but sad.
– Susan Kupferer (Lighting Designer)

A teaching moment in rehearsal with director Adam Houghton

What does this play mean to you?
This play is an emotional experience for me which touches on joys and pains that we all feel. I am drawn to the questions that I feel Maggie asks: “Who can I trust?” “Who will I love?” “What will bring me happiness?” These questions were on my mind when I was a student at BYU, and I imagine they are on the minds of many of the students here. I hope the play will help them toward answers for these questions.
– Adam Houghton (Director)

This play means a great deal to me. It has resonated with me from day one. I have grown to love these characters, but particularly Maggie. She is just so wonderfully good. She has such vibrancy and heart and the world around her refuses to see it. She is shamed and stifled through much of her life, but I like to think that in some way, she does prevail.
– Spencer Hunsicker (Tom Tulliver/Mr. Wakem)

The theme of a shame culture is one that I think back on many times. I don’t often know how to treat people that act in a way that is contrary to my moral code. The people in this play shame Maggie in an attempt to have her conform to how they think she should be. Whether or not one view is more correct or more moral than the others, I think what is more important is that the way they have all treated each other is horrid, even if it’s to defend what they believed. And we are guilty of that as well.
– Bradley Mackay (Mr. Tulliver/Dr. Kenn)

What has your experience been like in this production?
It’s been incredible! There were definitely some stressful moments, but overall it has been really rewarding. I love the cast and working with Adam has been wonderful.
– Emily Moore (1st Maggie)

This has been such a wonderful production to work on. Adam, the director, has been such a great collaborator and so open to ideas about things that we want to do and the ideas we come up with. It has just been wonderful. Also, the rest of our design team has just been so great. They are all so genuine and put their heart and soul into everything and it has been so much fun working with them.
– Susan Kupferer (Lighting Designer)

Exceptional. I felt that every member of the production came the first day completely prepared. I also really enjoyed the way our director, Adam Houghton, led our rehearsals. We were allowed to experiment with different alternatives in each scene. Blocking became more than choreography. It became an illustration of the choices our characters made. And then we got to run them again and again with that same creative freedom. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
– Bradley Mackay (Mr. Tulliver/Dr. Kenn)

I have absolutely loved working on this production. It has been challenging and engaging intellectually and emotionally. George Eliot has drawn such beautiful and complex characters and we have been given the task, with the aid of Helen Edmundson’s beautiful adaptation, to bring that complexity to life on stage over the course of about two hours. The level of detail involved in that kind of work is exhausting and exhilarating simultaneously.
– Spencer Hunsicker (Tom Tulliver/Mr. Wakem)

What challenges have you faced in this show?
One of the main challenges for me has been to create 4 characters that are very different and be able to smoothly jump from one to the other. It is difficult to not let them blend into each other. But luckily with the help of Adam and the designers, these differences have been a lot easier to find.
– Cooper Sutton (Phillip Wakem/Uncle Pullet/Bob Jakin)

I have had to really tap into parts of myself that I don’t normally tap into. Having to find those parts of myself and really get into them was difficult. I had to really focus on not holding back and just doing.
– Emily Moore (1st Maggie)

The biggest challenge for me was trying to learn a Yorkshire dialect with my lines after I had already memorized them in a different English dialect. I’ve struggled with it since day one!
– Baylee Self (Mrs. Tulliver/Lucy Deane)

For me as a sound designer, I think the most challenging thing is trying to create a soundscape and soundtrack that helps to really exemplify and give emotional weight to the production. Action on stage can be really heightened by what we hear, and so trying to find just the right mix of sound effects or music that helps to amplify what is occurring on stage without drawing attention to itself has been surprisingly difficult, but I’ve loved the challenge.
– Matthew Kupferer (Sound Designer)

In rehearsal for Mill on the Floss

This production carries a lot of weight and thus requires a great deal of effort, physically, mentally, and emotionally from all of us involved. It has required love, sweat, and tears from all of us. We have all lost sleep, we have all had to deal with a substantial amount of work the last few months because life keeps going and your other responsibilities don’t disappear when you make the commitment to do a production. But that is exactly why this production is special. We have all put in so much of ourselves into this piece and made this experience a priority. We have made the decision to be vulnerable with you and to make ourselves available to tell the story.
– Madison Haws (Aunt Glegg/2nd Maggie)

What do you like to do when you are not in a show?
I like to sleep a lot. I probably spend most of my time resting on my bed after I finished homework and work stuff. Other than that, I love to watch DC’s TV shows like the Arrow, the Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow.
– Carmen Ma (Assistant Stage Manager)

I love to be in the outdoors. Maybe that’s why I love the scenes outside the Mill so much and like to add that bright aspect into it; it’s because I miss the sunlight while I am programming lights!
– Susan Kupferer (Lighting Designer)

What are some of the things you hope the audience takes away from this production?
I hope the audience leaves the production with a different perspective on their relationships and communities. I hope they will see Maggie’s story and think hard about what happens to her, and how they can act to make it so those things do not happen to others. I hope they leave with love and kindness in their hearts.
– Emily Moore (1st Maggie)

Something I hope the audience takes away is the value of tolerating others. While the show is obviously a dramatization and is not a true life story, there is a lot that can be learned from the experience that Maggie goes through, and I really think looking at the story through the eyes of toleration and treating everyone as equals can help send them away with a very powerful message.
– Matthew Kupferer (Sound Designer)

People should see this show. There are so many good things that can be taken from this production and applied to our lives today. It is a reminder that all people have the need to be heard, understood and valued. Everything about this story is applicable today and to every human being. This is not a musical where everyone sings and dances their troubles away. It is theatrical look into real problems and real struggles. Not everything is solved and our characters are flawed in the way that real people are. Mistakes are made, love is found and lost and the constant struggle to find one’s self is evident. This is a play that requires the audience to be engaged and available to be affected by the piece.
– Madison Haws (Aunt Glegg/2nd Maggie)

I hope that it will touch people’s lives and help them make their relationships better, whether it be forgiving that person they haven’t talked to in years, or being supportive of your family member’s decisions even if you’re unsure of them, or whatever it may be. The bottom line is I hope this production can make a difference in someone’s life.
– Baylee Self (Mrs. Tulliver/Lucy Deane)

I hope they can find the truth about love and forgiveness in the production so that they can leave the theatre and walk into a happier life.
– Adam Houghton (Director)

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