Interview by Anne Anderson
This month’s E-Blast interview is with an important member of our Merc Community you may not know (unless you have small children who do theater in the summer!) Her name is Megan Hicks, and her summer camp is one of the reasons that our other youth performances are always stellar! Megan teaches middle school theater during the school year and produces a head spinning number of plays with, and for, young people throughout the fall/winter/spring months. But at least for two weeks in the summer, she belongs to The Merc, and we are so lucky to have her! Her first experience with The Merc was actually as an actress playing “Sally” in The Merc’s summer outdoor production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” We'll let her tell the rest of the story in her own words…
Tell us about your past experience with theater.
I started doing theater in 7th grade. I auditioned for the school musical and then a community theater show on a whim. It became a passion and now I teach junior high theater and direct, choreograph, and act at various community theaters.
What excites you about live theater?
You never know what is going to happen. The energy of the audience is a special feeling that can’t be matched and kids tend to blossom when they hit performances with a live crowd.
Why is it important in a small community like the Methow Valley?
I am amazed at the quality and amount of theater thriving in the valley. Theatre is a way to step into someone else’s world. It develops empathy and compassion. It also builds teamwork and communication skills. For the audience, it is a chance to escape the world and experience something new.
Can you share a unique experience you have had in a theater setting... as an actor or director?
My first introduction to Twisp and the Merc was performing in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. I auditioned in Seattle and got a callback. Being unaware of The Merc Playhouse or the Methow, I posted on Facebook. Turns out, I have friends that know Julie (who was directing the show). They said she is awesome and the Methow Valley is beautiful, so I said yes to the show. The cast and stage manager lived together and we went on many adventures. We spent 4 weeks rehearsing during the day, and then performed 4 weekends at the Twisp and then Winthrop parks. It was an amazing experience. The week before our final weekend of performances, we floated the river. I collided with a log and I think the log won. Pretty sure I got a concussion so that last weekend was a little rough. But the cast was amazing and we all put on a great show.
When Julie moved out of the valley, they asked me to run the summer camp and I’ve been doing it ever since. It is a highlight of my summer each year!
What draws you to a particular script like The Claw or past camp scripts?
Sometimes a show is chosen for the name. We want kids to sign up and be excited for camp. This year we went with something unknown. The Claw has really fun characters and references to 90s cartoons and toys. The Flair Bears are reminiscent of the Care Bears. The Mighty Mutant Power Turtles are a combo of the ninja turtles and power rangers. And of course there are some Beanie Babies. The music is very catchy and I’m looking forward to working on it. The show also has a great message of friendship and trying new things. We are going to have a blast diving into the characters and story this summer!
As a director, what do you hope to accomplish?
When working with kids in theater, I always hope they have fun and enjoy performing whether it is their first show or twentieth show. Throughout the week, we will work on being confident onstage while singing, dancing, and acting. We will work on projection (speaking loudly) and creating characters through our voices and movement. We will work together as an ensemble to bring this story to life and share it with the audiences.
Who should consider attending performances of The Claw?
Everyone! Kids and adults will get something from this show, and it may be different for everyone. Our camp shows are always amazing (especially since the kids learn it all and memorize their lines in one week).
Just a couple of other facts about Megan you might enjoy … she has an awesome, supportive hubby named Travis who often comes along at camp time, but may have to stay home this summer with their two adult dogs and five tiny young puppies! Be sure to say “hi” to any or all of them if you see them in the valley!