Introducing Janelle Mahlman (Titania/Theseus)! A Midsummer Night’s Deam is Janelle’s first production with PCSC, so she’s answering round one of our Acting Questions.

1. How do you typically go about preparing a Shakespearean character?

It sounds cliché, and every Shakespearean actor will tell you this, but that is because it is true, I start with the text. When preparing any role the actor must begin with the words the author provides, but this is particularly true with a Shakespearean role because the Bard gives you everything you need. The nature of the character, her motivation, her style, even her movement can be gleaned from the words, the rhythm, and the relationships that Shakespeare has created.

I always begin by reading a play out loud and I listen to the rhythm of the language, be it poetry or prose, and from that I usually have a visceral or physical response, a sense of how the character moves or how he stands. Following that first physical impulse are the questions of objective and motivation and other necessary actor choices.

2. What do you find to be the most helpful part of PCSC’s standard rehearsal process?

The best part of Pigeon Creek’s rehearsal process is the freedom and support to try things, to make bold—or maybe crazy—choices and just see what happens. With this wonderful group of artists I never felt the fear of judgment or criticism, but rather the joy of encouragement and the generosity of other actors responding to the choices that I made and giving wholeheartedly of their own ideas and creativity.

3. What do you like to do for fun outside of theatre?

I enjoy spending time with my family, most especially my amazing husband and my beautiful niece and nephew. We read books and ride bikes and go to the theatre.

My faith is important to me and I spend a good deal of time volunteering with my church, planning worship and using my passion for theatre and storytelling to bring the drama of scripture alive.

4. What is your day job? What do you want to be your day job?

I am the Assistant Marketing Manager for Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

5. What theatre plans do you have in the next couple months?

The life of an actor … auditions, auditions, auditions …