Angie Shriner: Space Jam, free throws, & well-written women
Angie has been an SGT Ensemble Member since 2011. Her previous credits include: In the Heat of the Night (Noreen), The Whaleship Essex (Nickerson), Mill Fire, Romeo and Juliet, Orpheus Descending, and Her Naked Skin. She is featured in SGT’s production of The Tall Girls by Meg Miroshnik, playing the part of Jean. We asked her some questions regarding her experience with the process and the art of learning a new sport.
Did you have any basketball skills before starting this process?
I was in a basketball summer camp in 4th grade. I remember that camp had pretty tasty sports drinks, which was a huge incentive to go. Suffice it to say, I didn’t invest much in basketball after that summer. But, once I found out I was cast as Jean, I definitely started hitting the court to figure it all out. I retained some things, but it was definitely easier to learn as a kid!
Are you more of a basketball fan than now?
I certainly appreciate the sport more. I was always fascinated by basketball. I grew up watching the Bulls. And, of course, I loved Space Jam and Jock Jams!
Is it challenging to play basketball as part of a show?
YES, yes, yes, absolutely. There is nothing more unpredictable than not knowing whether I will make the shot. I am doing my best to accept the idea of the unknown…in front of a theater full of people. I am trying to embrace the fact that I truly never know what will happen. It’s exhilarating. There’s risk involved with every performance. There is the potential for something different every time. That feels very human to me. That’s exciting. That’s real life.
What are some of the most interesting things you learned as a result of doing this play? About girls’ empowerment? About teamwork?
I am really learning how to deeply trust myself. Shooting free throws in front of a live audience requires a certain amount of discipline and zen-calm. Sometimes, I have to determine each basketball play IN THE MOMENT and cue the team non-verbally. It’s wild. I think I will be learning something new every day during this show. Our director, Lou, gave me permission to grow during this show, so I suppose I will take him up on that. 😉
I think women are incredible. I have always been fascinated by the way women are written into stories. Sometimes they are written so poorly it is maddening. This script in particular has some of the most intelligent women I’ve ever seen onstage. Meg Miroshnik brilliantly crafted five young female roles. And the actresses in this cast who put their hearts and souls out there in every scene are a joy to work with every day. My Great Aunt Susan (Blommaert), who plays Mr. Kaplan on NBC’s BLACKLIST, said it best: “It’s wonderful to play a woman who’s competent…it’s just…not an opportunity that you get often.”
There is a reason they say teamwork “makes the dream work”. It’s cliche, but true.
Is there anything you’ve personally gained as a result of working on this production?
Jean is a deceptively tough character to play. She is wise beyond her 15 and a half years, and equal parts compassionate and strong. Every night is a fight for my life, beliefs, and future that requires battling some very intense demons onstage. I suppose I’ve learned, personally, that I’m stronger than I ever imagined. Jean forces me to abandon my desire to be liked by an audience, and gut myself in every scene. I don’t know that I fully got to explore those parts of myself before The Tall Girls. I learned during this show that I have an incredible support system which makes it easier to bare your soul! I’m incredibly grateful.
Another great interview with Angie: Region native finds meaning in ‘Tall Girls’ play