Interview with Michele Payne Hinz

Michele Payne Hinz plays 5th grade teacher Heather in Dreawmwell’s upcoming production of Gidion’s Knot by Johnna Adams, directed by Matthew Falduto. Performances will be held March 4, 5, 11 & 12, 7:30pm, at Public Space One (120 N. Dubuque St., Iowa City). Order your tickets today at http://www.dreamwell.com/view-tickets/

Why did you decide to audition for Gidion’s Knot?
Long story.  This year, as part of a special faculty project at Kirkwood, I was given release time to take a course fall semester in some aspect of theatre (on-stage or back-stage), then follow-through by volunteering with a local theatre in the spring (on-stage or back-stage).
So this fall I took a Basic Acting Class for Non-Majors.  One assignment was to present a scene with a partner and one of the assigned scenes (although not the scene my partner and I were assigned) was from Gidion’s Knot.  So I knew of the play, although I had never read it through.   I know Matt and Sharon Falduto from Kirkwood and like both of them very much, so between knowing them and knowing something about the play, I thought it would be a good audition experience for me.  It never occurred to me that I would get one of the two parts but I’m very glad I did.

How would you describe Heather?
She’s an earnest newbie teacher.  She knows the adult world and she’s neither gullible nor naïve. But she’s having to come to grips with – and she’s doing it pretty unflinchingly – the passion and vulnerability of the children she’s now responsible for.

In what ways do you identify with Heather.
I’ve been a teacher since 1972 and I still, many days, feel like an earnest newbie.

You are on stage for basically the entire show.  As an actress, how does that experience compare to what you might experience in a typical show?
I’m returning to theatre after a 45-year intermission so I may have lost track of “typical.” The only recent experience I’ve had was in February this year in a Mike Moran play, “Before Ever After,” at Theatre Cedar Rapids’ Underground New Play Festival.  That was also a two-person play – though much shorter – and I was on stage the whole time. So I don’t know. I’m in TCR’s Hamlet in April and I’m looking forward to seeing the words Enter and Exit adjacent to my name.

What has been the most challenging part of the rehearsal process?
Johnna Adams wrote a beautiful play, and part of its beauty is that it sounds real.  But that also is what makes it difficult to play.  Long pauses.  Overlaps.  Repetition.  False starts.  It’s genuine spontaneous conversation but it’s hard to memorize.

What has been the most rewarding part of the rehearsal process?
Recognizing that all of us see it as a process.  We’re on our way somewhere and we have a good idea of what it will look like when we get there. But we don’t know for sure. We just know it will be beautiful.

Why should people come see Gidion’s Knot?
It makes you question. It makes you feel.