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Behind the Scenes at Yerma

Future PS 29 student, Avery Anderson, one of the stars of Yerma.

By Daniel Davidson (4-508)

Yerma is an off-Broadway play from London that focuses on babies, but only has one baby per showing. My brother is one of the four babies that cycle through each showing of Yerma. The play’s plot is about a woman, the famous British singer Billie Piper, who wants to have a baby, but can’t have one.

But how did my baby brother, Avery, get into Yerma?  I asked Maria Moss, our mother, how he got in, and she replied, “Avery was recruited through a local talent agency – NYDK Talent. I submitted his pictures, and then the producers of the show selected him.”

I wanted to interview an actor, but, at first, I could only find Avery Anderson, and all I could get out of him was “ba ba.” Yes, Avery is my baby brother. Then I realized I had to dig deeper. So one night I tagged along with Avery to get an interview or two from the cast or crew. I was hoping to interview Billie Piper, but all I got was a wave and a “Hello” when she came into Avery’s dressing room, which, by the way, was gigantic! You could fit at least 500 of him in there.

Billie Piper plays the main character in the play, but I did get to interview the person who plays the second main character, Brendan Cowell. I’ve heard what acting is like, but he puts a whole new, hilarious turn on things. He plays “John” and that he is “Yerma’s husband.” When I asked him if he has any advice for kids who want to be actors, he said his advice is “to be something else. It’s a terrible career choice, it’s a horrible life, your relationships are terrible, you don’t get paid enough money,” this part of the sentence has been removed for younger readers, “you end up going to real estate, become a golfer, or an accountant, DO NOT BECOME AN ACTOR! IT’S AWFUL!”

For those of you who don’t exactly what he means, consider that like Opposite Day. Finally, I asked him how many professional plays he has been in, and he said, “I’ve written 11 plays, directed 15 plays, and been in, probably 30 plays.” I think that was a really good interview, don’t you think?

I thought it was over right there, but then I stumbled upon Cynthia Cahill, the stage manager of Yerma. She let me ask her a couple questions. I asked her what she does as a stage manager, and she replied that it’s “a very large job that accompanies lots of different things. Calling cues, running rehearsals, taking blocking, all sorts of things like that, and communicating with the director, and the producers, and the designers. Also, “maintaining the integrity of the director’s vision after the director leaves the show.”

And if you want to be in a professional play when you grow up, but don’t know what role you’d be best suited for, she says that “if you’re a person that likes to be in front of people, you should probably be an actor. If you have other skills, and that doesn’t really appeal to you, you’ll work more and you’ll work steadier if you’re a technician, or a stage manager, or someone like that.”

In conclusion, babies get giant dressing rooms in a play, actors have a funny view on things, you can get good quotes from a stage manager, kids can be in professional plays, and there are a lot of hoops to jump through for parents whose kid is in a professional play.

 
 

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