Joseph Wright, director at SCT’s took a few moments to ask Genny Ulmen some questions:
Joseph Wright: Frequently, we see the name “Genny Ulmen” listed as Stage Manager or Crew. What are some of the differences as an actress creating a leading role from audition to performance, instead of helming the production side?
Genny Ulmen: No surprise here, but I tend to be a very controlling person and to be involved with the tech side, you have to multi-task. You have to be willing to do 100 things at once backstage while the actors are performing. It has been a challenge to focus on being an actor. Generally, I get to observe other people, on this show I have had to study myself and the process has been hard. It’s been difficult to sit down and figure out what is my interpretation of “Caren” and it’s been a challenge to make that shine through onstage. However, this process has been just as rewarding as if I were another techie.
JW: Has the work of any particular actor or actress influenced or inspired you? What famous or well-known roles would you aspire to play?
GU: That is a hard question to answer. I would say it would be an actor/actress that sucks you into the story. A great example of this would be Stanley Tucci. Whenever I see him in a film, I don’t think I’m watching Stanley Tucci, I think I am watching whatever character he is portraying. This is also because one of my favorite movies is “Lucky Number Slevin”, if you haven’t seen it you should. You will see what I mean.
As for what role I would play, I would say any movie/play that is a musical. The only reason why is because I love to dance. I would be ok with being a background dancer because I’m not a great singer…but I would be ok with spontaneously busting out into a dance number onstage or onscreen!
JW: You are directing a one-act piece as a part of a double-bill evening later this season at SCT. Will any of your preparation for ‘Caren’ in “Dilemmas With Dinner” influence your outlook as a director on how a show becomes live theatre?
GU: Absolutely! A good majority of shows that I work on, I am usually involved in the technical side. The last show that I actually acted in was “Brooklyn Boy” which was long enough ago where I’ve needed a refresher to being onstage. This process has been great because I have been able to not only focus on character, but to get back to the basics of acting! Ie. Upstage, projection, and planting my feet!
JW: What should we know about you that is most similar to this character you are playing? How about one thing that is the most different from you in “real” life?
GU: This one is easy. Caren’s energy level matches my own when I’m at the top of my game. I always feel like I’m a massive bundle of nerves and constantly bouncing back and forth.
The difference is an easy one too. I can’t cook worth a darn. The microwave is my best friend.
JW: Finish this sentence: “If I weren’t doing theatre, my life . . . ”
GU: would be sane.” And to be sane is boring. Everyone has to have a little insanity in their life to keep things interesting.