PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Marin Hinkle, Star of Lincoln Center Theater's Luce
By Matthew Blank
October 29, 2013
Theatre favorite Marin Hinkle, who stars in Lincoln Center Theater's LCT3 world premiere of Luce, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.
Hinkle has appeared on Broadway in Electra, A Thousand Clowns and The Tempest. Off-Broadway work includes RX (Primary Stages), The Dybbuk (Public Theater), Miss Julie (Rattlestick), The Fourth Sister (Vineyard), Blue Window (Barrow Group), Sabina (Primary Stages), Jayson with a "Y" (New Group), The Changeling (TFANA) and Wonderful Time (WPA).
She has appeared on television in "Two and a Half Men" (nine seasons as Judith), "Once and Again" (Judy), "Brothers and Sisters," "Private Practice," "House," "ER," "Sarah Silverman Program," "Without a Trace" and many "Law & Order" editions.
Full given name:
Marin Elizabeth Hinkle
Where you were born/where you were raised:
Born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (parents were in the Peace Corps). Grew up and attended public schools in Newton, MA.
What your parents did/do for a living:
Mom is a judge. Dad is a retired college dean.
Brother - Mark (we share a birthday interestingly, though are not twins)
Very few sadly. Does double jointed count?
Something you're REALLY bad at:
Trivial Pursuit - I have no memory for facts like that and get terribly flustered. Inevitably I wind up hiding in the bathroom.
First Broadway show you ever saw:
Bob Fosse's Dancin'. I could not believe how those dancers moved.
If you could go back in time and catch any Broadway show, what would it be?
I would see all the plays that my closest friends have performed in that I've missed. When you miss a loved one's show, you feel like you've missed out on a huge chapter of their life.
Current show other than your own you have been recommending to friends:
Last year I saw Sam Hunter's The Whale. I was utterly blown apart. Sam's writing. The cast. Davis McCallum's direction. If it returns, you MUST see it. Sam has new plays that I am sure will be coming to New York soon. See them all!
Favorite showtune(s) of all time:
Well, as kid I fantasized about being part of The Sound of Music. I wanted to have my own special imaginary singing family - swinging in trees in costumes made out of curtains, doing puppet shows with goats and singing lullabies every evening at big dinner parties.
I wanted Christopher Plummer to sing "Edelweiss" to me... (although I find it so interesting that he apparently hated doing this. What does that say about good acting?)
I just loved Once. I can't really sing well, so I have enormous respect for every musical I see. I look forward to seeing Fun Home, directed by the deeply talented Sam Gold. Singing is like flying to me - and I have always wanted to fly.
Some favorite modern plays:
Oh, this is crazy - there are too many to list... Angels in America. Seven Streams of the River Ota. Circle Mirror Transformation. Clybourne Park. Tribes. August Osage County. Sight Unseen. What They Have.
I am going to work on Dinner With Friends after this and I am sure it will be added to the list...
Some favorite modern playwrights:
Sam Hunter. Annie Baker. Tony Kushner. Donald Margulies. Caryl Churchill. Sarah Ruhl. Craig Lucas. Kate Robin. Kate Fodor. Amy Herzog. Bruce Norris. Richard Greenberg. David Lindsay-Abaire. David Weiner. Jessica Goldberg. Oh, the list goes on and on...
Broadway or screen stars you would most love to perform with:
Lois Smith. Zoe Wanamaker. Patrick Stewart. Jane Alexander. Sean Penn. Robert De Niro. Frances McDormand. Laurie Metcalf. Laura Linney. Meryl Streep.
Actresses you've worked with who most inspire you:
Jessica Hecht, Hope Davis, Marcia Debonis, and my dearest friend Vivienne Benesch
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget:
I remember two actually from growing up. I lived in Boston and didn't see much professional theatre as a child. But I saw Cherry Jones play Grusha in The Caucasian Chalk Circle at ART and Linda Hunt in Mother Courage.
I was astounded by these performances. Who were these women??? I walked out of the theater realizing that I wanted to be an actress. (And being madly infatuated with the two of them.)
MAC or PC?
Oh gosh, ask my friends. I am so lacking in any computer skills whatsoever. It's amazing I am able to do this for you. I hope I can send it back properly.
Most played song on your iPod:
I don't have one. If I did, I wouldn't know how to use it.
Three favorite cities:
New York. Boston. London.
First stage kiss:
My childhood crush, Patrick McAllister. Fourth grade. He was The Music Man. I was Marian the Librarian.
Confession: He had actually "practiced" kissing me once before the show. We lived on the same block and played outside my house every day after school. He asked me to turn my head away from him one night before dinnertime because he wondered if my nose was crooked (it is). And then he stole a kiss and subsequently ran up the street to his house.
Some favorite or most memorable roles as a child or teen:
Marian the Librarian. Fiona in Brigadoon (second confession: another stage kiss with Patrick, aka The Music Man), Tillie in The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds. Tillie was a science geek and a lover of rabbits. I was so nervous for this show that I memorized the entire play - everyone's lines - just in case. And I ended up getting my own pet rabbit afterwards.
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living:
I played the part of one of the sons in Medea for the Boston Ballet at age 10. I was dragged onstage in a big bloody sheet by the leading dancer of the company who played Medea. I had been ordered by the ballet mistress to keep my eyes closed, since I was "dead." But I couldn't help myself and opened them in the final moments as the lights went down. I remember hearing the music, seeing the lights above me, and I was forever hooked.
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: (note where)
From any NY diner I try to have a bowl of soup (chicken noodle or vegetable), a small salad with no onions, french dressing on the side, and a toasted bagel with butter. And a Diet Coke with a lemon if I am being particularly unhealthy. I love Cafe Edison. Or Westway. Or Cozy Soup and Burger.
Favorite liquid refreshment:
Diet Coke. I am not proud of this.
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups:
I like dancing through the seats.
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap:
I am terribly superstitious and don't like talking about this.
Worst costume ever:
I was a male clock dwarf in Boston Ballet's production of Cinderella when I was 12. I had a fake beard, huge stuffed knobby knees, and a big belly. It was actually kind of a charming costume when I think about it now. At the time, I felt differently.
Worst job you ever had:
I cleaned bathrooms at MIT for a summer - scraped mold and grime off of them every day. Now as a result, my own bathrooms are kept really, really clean. Ah, for silver linings.
Craziest audition story:
I was once offered a leading part in a play, arrived on the first day having worked for weeks privately on it and found out that I didn't have THAT particular role, I had a much smaller role. Luckily I loved the woman who was playing "my role." I never told anyone in the cast. I did tell my agents.
What drew you to this project?
I love playing a mother who goes to all extremes to protect her son.
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
Being away from my own son as I play the role.
What has been the most fun or fulfilling aspect of this show?
I love this cast and this team of artists. May Adrales and JC Lee (director and writer) are extraordinarily passionate and talented people. They have been working together on this play for ages and have raised it like an exquisite and deeply unique child - with such love and compassion and respect.
Most challenging role you have played onstage:
I have been lucky in my career to get to play many women who take big risks, live with high stakes and fight aggressively for what they want and believe in. (As in Luce or Miss Julie or The Dybbuk or The Changeling or Romeo and Juliet or Rabbit Hole or Blue Window.)
The women I love and get to play are often just teetering on the edge of sanity perhaps. Yet all the while, they are willing to risk almost anything for that which they most love. For some reason I went through a string of roles where I was in a bloody wedding dress - perhaps that says something?
Who have you played on "Law & Order"? What edition?
I have done all three of the NY "Law and Order" shows. My favorite was the first one I did - the original show. And I fell madly for Jerry Orbach. His smile made me melt. And he sang from The Fantasticks. I miss him.
Something about you that surprises people:
I retreat into tiny rooms at large events (not just when playing Trivial Pursuit) because I can get very uncomfortable in unfamiliar crowds. I am often much more comfortable hanging out with kids than grown ups.
Career you would want if not a performer:
I would teach children. I love working with kids - doing art with them, making up plays with them, running around on beaches and in parks - all the while trying to encourage them to hold onto their natural silliness and sense of freedom and play. I want to do more of it.
Three things you can't live without:
My son. My family. My friends.
"I'll never understand why…"
… we have to die.
Words of advice for aspiring performers:
Keep connected to the world around you. Take in as much art as you can. Continue to lead a life with as much balance as you can find. Listen to those older than you - wiser than you - and to those younger and less wise too. But mostly listen to yourself.
A dear friend and mentor sent this to me in an email today, and so I will pass it on to you:
"Watch your thoughts for they become words
Choose your words for they become actions
Understand your actions for they become habits
Study your habits for they become your character
Develop your character for it becomes your destiny."