Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Q&A: Mia Van De Mark talks role in “Women Beware Women,” bringing clarity to projected theater career

Photo Courtesy of Mia Van De Mark
Mia Van De Mark plays the role of Isabella in Blue in the Right Way’s production “Women Beware Women.”

Communication sophomore Mia Van De Mark balances her role in psychosexual revenge tragedy “Women Beware Women” with the academic obligations of Northwestern theatre.

Over a week into the show’s run at The Edge Theatre, Van De Mark sat down with The Daily to discuss her love for theatre, her role as Isabella in the production and her projected career as an actress.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

The Daily: What sparked your love for theatre?

Van De Mark: I grew up singing a lot. I was in children’s choirs, and my mom put me in this program called Hope Stone Inc., which is a nonprofit that sadly no longer exists. Its purpose was to serve schools that were sort of underserved in terms of arts and education. So that’s where I really developed my love for singing, and that kind of turned into a love for theatre.

The Daily: At what point did you know you wanted to do theatre professionally?

Van De Mark: At some point in high school. I definitely knew I wanted to sing always, but there was a time when I was deciding whether I wanted to go to college for voice and study opera. I think that theatre is evolving a lot more than opera, though. I think there’s more avenues to go down within it. You don’t have to just be a performer — you can also work backstage, design, direction, arts administration and things like that. I think that choosing to go to Northwestern was a lot of it because the theatre program here is so awesome, specifically in the way that you can study so many things, not just performance.

The Daily: How did you hear about “Women Beware Women?”

Van De Mark: I took a class my freshman year, which was a really cool program where big-name writers would come in and workshop their musicals with undergraduate students. I think I just got absurdly, freakishly lucky, because I have a lot of training in folk country music, and they just happened to be doing this musical that was this country, rockabilly sound. The person who wrote the book for the musical was friends with Kevin V. Smith, who’s the director of “Women Beware Women.” Kevin came to support him, but I think he just really liked my performance, and he asked me to do the reading for “Women Beware Women.”

The Daily: You’ve said that your character Isabella has a difficult life in the play. What is it like portraying that role?

Van De Mark: It’s probably the biggest arc of a character that I’ve ever played, because she starts off the show as this girl that had a lot of hope and joy in the world and the belief that everything will work out okay. By the end, though, she gets brutally murdered.

The Daily: How do you feel performing professionally?

Van De Mark: It’s been really awesome, especially because the whole cast is made up of professional actors, and to be around that environment of people who are experienced and older than you — In educational theatre, obviously, you’re only performing with people who are your age, but one of my closest friends in the show is, like, 60. I would never get to do that.

The Daily: Have you learned any techniques or words of wisdom from your professional experience?

Van De Mark: I think it’s just given me a really clear idea if I choose to pursue being a professional actress, which I’m 98% sure I’m going to do. This is storefront theatre, right, so it isn’t the most high-budget thing in the world. These are people where everyone has a day job and are still showing up every day just out of the goodness of their hearts, and they want to make art, which I think is really awesome.

The Daily: Are there challenges with balancing your academics and your acting career?

Van De Mark: Definitely, because I’m still a student, and I have a commute everyday. The show is also over three hours. So I am surely behind in some of my classes, but it’s definitely worth it.

The Daily: How does it feel to have a professional role so early in your acting career?

Van De Mark: I think it instills a lot of confidence and faith in me that maybe I can get hired and have a job. It gives me a sense of stability. I’m already making connections. I think (the company of “Women Beware Women”) would have me do this show again if it did get international. I think there’s a very high chance later in my career I use them again. I think it’s really awesome to have people believing in me.

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