Interview: Hannah Martin, "The Tall Girls"
Hannah Martin is a fourth-year student majoring in Theatre and Anthropology from Atlanta, GA. She plays Lurlene in The Tall Girls.
Who is Lurlene to you?
To me, Lurlene is like a younger version of Blanche Devereaux (Golden Girls). She’s a girl who has a great deal of confidence and assets, but still feels the need to fluff up her life with exaggerated stories. She never stops. She’s the kind of person that is actually kind of cool, but still never stops seeking validation from others. She’s so much fun to work with. Astrologically speaking, I think Lurlene is a Leo sun, Aries moon, Scorpio ascendant--a beautifully wrapped, but hard-to-open gift box that’s chock full of conflicting energies. You either love her or you hate her--there’s rarely a middle ground. She’s very similar to how I wanted to appear when I was in high school.
What are your favorite things about Lurlene? What are you least favorite things about her?
I like Lurlene’s social confidence and her ability to bring out the fun in a lot of people and situations, as long as you’re on her good side. While she presents herself as a massive diva, I think Lurlene gets a lot of pleasure out of using her height to lift her friends up to her level. She’s catty, but I don’t think she would genuinely enjoy actually hurting someone, especially a friend. That being said, I think my least favorite thing about Lurlene is her unwillingness to let herself be vulnerable. She’s not narcissistic--I think she’s very aware of her flaws and has a great deal of insecurity buried deep down--but her massive ego doesn’t allow her to compromise her image in any way, so she would never allow someone to see that she’s hurting. She has to maintain her position on her self-inflicted pedestal at all times, even with her closest friends. She’s definitely not quick to apologize, even when she sees she’s in the wrong.
Have you played a sport previously? If so, what did you play? How does it affect you as an actor in rehearsal?
I have never played a sport in my life. I’ve always been active, like with ballet and backpacking, but never, ever a sport. I was terrified of having anything more than a blow-up beach ball tossed at me up until this show. But I really think I’ve come around to liking basketball! After I got cast as Lurlene, I worked super hard to get over my skittishness around airborne balls, and I got slammed in the face a good deal, but I’m still here, and I honestly feel better than ever. I learned a lot about myself as an actor during basketball rehearsals; I think it just made me work harder to get to know Lurlene right away so that I could focus on not letting a basketball fly into the audience. As a result, I feel like I went through a rite of passage to get to work with Lurlene and everyone else in the cast; I feel so, so grateful and happy to be in rehearsal every day, more so than with any other show I’ve done in college, even if it means I get a nice slam to the nose every now and then.
Why do you think this play is important to today? What makes it relevant?
I think this play deals a lot with hope in a hopeless time. Basketball has different meanings in each of these girls’ lives, but above all, it gives them a reason to keep going. Also: girls are strong. This is one of the best productions I’ve had the pleasure of working on!! Everyone has come to rehearsal ready to work their butts off, and it’s paid off.
The Tall Girls opens September 21st and runs through September 30th in the Cellar Theatre. Tickets are $16, $12 for students.