I sat down with Abigail Walker this past week to talk about her leading role in Theatre NDSU’s “Tartuffe”. Walker is in her second year at North Dakota State, majoring in musical theatre.
If you regularly attend Theatre NDSU’s productions, you will have seen her as the supporting role as Tiger Lily in “Peter Pan,” Calypso in “The Odyssey” and as Little Becky Two Shoes in “Urinetown: The Musical.”
Brittany Hofmann (BH): This is your first time being the lead in one of NDSU’s productions, what’s that like?
Abigail Walker (AW): It’s a little stressful trying to find the balance between school and rehearsal, but it’s a really good experience to have and I think a lot of college kids who are in theatre can benefit from it.
BH: Where would you like your career in theatre to go?
AW: The ultimate goal, of course, is Broadway. For me, anyway. It sounds so fun to be able to share what I love with thousands of people at a time. If I’m not on Broadway, I would like to work at a children’s theatre company because I worked at a children’s theatre company when I was in high school and just seeing the joy on kids’ faces after the shows was so heartwarming.
BH: How do you adjust to new roles?
AW: I go in with a completely open mind. I try to forget past roles, and I don’t try to compare roles. It’s a lot of character research, reading the play over and over and analyzing who your character is.
BH: What has been your favorite part about performing ‘Tartuffe’? What’s different about it compared to other productions you’ve been in?
AW: My favorite part is Tech Week. It’s always the best because the entire show comes together. That’s when everyone really finds out who they are as their character,; you get your costumes and your makeup. It’s the finished product — months of work that comes together. The set is so gorgeous; the costumes are beautiful. What’s different about it? Well, it rhymes. It was weird trying to figure out how to say lines and make them sound like I wasn’t trying to make them rhyme and sound like actual sentences. That was definitely a challenge.
BH: How do you tackle all of your responsibilities as a student and being a part of the theatre?
AW: It’s really hard. I definitely push all of my other responsibilities to the side and focus on the show, which as a theatre major, I can kind of get away with that. Taking theatre classes, the professors understand what it’s like to be in a show and the show takes up hours of your time every single day. (They) understand that you’re not going to be 100 percent focused on your homework. It’s a lot of trying to manage my time wisely, which I’m not great at.
BH: Who has been your biggest influence in your college career?
AW: My professors. They’re professionals and they understand this business and that you have to put in hard work to get the results. Every single one of them is always there pushing each student. That’s super important when you’re trying to go into this career.
BH: What is one thing you’d like to accomplish with your time at NDSU?
AW: Experience. At a bigger theatre university, it’s harder to get cast in shows so some people will only do one college show before they go try to be on Broadway, but here, since it’s a smaller theatre community, it’s easier to get the experience that you want to be a professional.
You can catch Abigail in her lead role as Elmire in “Tartuffe” this upcoming weekend, March 1 – 3.