Actor's nightmare: "Once I went to audition for an agency. I decided to do a child-molestation monologue from Short Eyes, by Miguel Piñero—there's something really beautiful about the writing in it. I went in and I forgot the words, so I just started improvising this child-molestation speech, just musing about how molesting kids was awesome. I finished, and they seemed very upset."


Heidi Schreck

Age: 30s

Distinguishing characteristics: Delicate and steely, Schreck brings a fierce intellect and gentle irony to her roles. The lissome blonde recently played wronged wife Deianira in a Sophocles adaptation, a Salvation Army sweetie in Major Barbara, and Leni Riefenstahl's sister in Amazons and Their Men.

Favorite role: "Nina in The Seagull. I love what happens to Nina—she becomes a real actress. Yes, she loses a baby and gets her heart broken and has to perform in all those shitty towns—Yeletz or whatever—but she figures out what to do with her hands!"

Typical roles: "[A] neurotic, high-strung woman is something I can always access pretty quickly."

Dream roles: "I've always wanted to do Nora in Doll's House, Elida in The Lady From the Sea. Anything in Chekhov. Also, I like to be the actor in the first production of a new play, to start something off."

Stage fright: "In my twenties, I would have occasional panic attacks onstage. It actually happened in a production of Hedda Gabler. I burst into tears on the line, 'I'm a coward,' because I felt that indeed I was."

Upcoming: "I'm playing a sexy nun in Room for Cream, the Dyke Division's lesbian serial at La MaMa. I'm also finishing final revisions on my play, Creature, which just had a workshop at New Georges."

Quincy Tyler Bernstine

Age: 34

Distinguishing characteristics: Tyler Bernstine has a honey-dripping voice and an acid cleverness that serve her well in both classic and contemporary plays. She's lately played Eliante in Ivo van Hove's production of The Misanthrope and Blanche, a radical lesbian cleaning woman, in David Adjmi's Stunning.

Favorite role: "Blanche in Stunning. The character is so multi-layered. This woman is not who she appears to be at all."

Typical roles: "On television, I've played my share of nurses and nannies and prisoners. But in terms of theater, the range has been much wider."

Dream role: "Hedda Gabler. I've been talking with my friend John Rubin from LAByrinth. We did a workshop of that many, many years ago. I keep pressing Rubin to do that again."

On what attracts her to a part: "Sometimes it's the director, sometimes it's a writer. I'm most attracted to playing broken people—maybe because I feel somewhat broken myself."

Upcoming: "I don't know. Temping?"

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