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Meet Actor Laynie Nelson

Laynie is performing the role of "Robbie" in All the Wrong Places, the next #newworkshop selection in Now & Then's 3rd season. Artistic Director John Perovich had a chance to speak with Laynie about the role and her process for the workshop. All the Wrong Places by Maybe Stewart will be presented to audiences Friday, September 13 at 7:30PM and Saturday, September 14 at 11:00AM.

John Perovich (JP): Can you share a bit about your character with us?

Laynie Nelson (LN): I will be honest — as a cis-het woman, I thought the process of getting to know Robbie was going to be very hard. I thought (because our differences) that I wouldn't be able to understand their actions, or follow their way of thinking. It turns out, Robbie and I have quite a few things in common, but the primary thing we share is a fear of people leaving us. You picture it, overthink it, maybe run 100 different scenarios in your head, but you never prepare for the moment they do. So, much like myself, Robbie builds this guard of brashness, sarcasm, and confidence to hopefully ease the pain of if/when it happens. When it does, it's like everything you've thought of doing erases itself from your brain...and you crash hard.

JP: Our week together is so different from a traditional rehearsal process. Could you talk a bit about how you approached this workshop?

LN: I have worked with a new work before in a professional setting one other time, so seeing the playwright be a part of the rehearsal process was not new to me. I happen to be friends with Maybe Stewart (playwright), and I think that's another reason it ended up being a little easier to get to know Robbie. I think what has been different about being a part of this process is the personal connection I have with them. If you have questions about a character, usually you build with your director, and I did—but my primary source was always Maybe. Pulling from them and feeling comfortable enough to do that built a lot more for me to work off of. I think that proved to me not only how much Maybe trusts me as an actress,  but as a friend—and I hope I honor both those levels of trust by portraying Robbie to the best of my ability.

JP: You are doing fantastic work. Final question, there are so many options for seeing theatre in the valley or staying at home to stream from so many providers. Why should audiences check out All the Wrong Places?

LN: I think this piece is important for many reasons. It is both educational, and a call to action. It starts a conversation that should have been normalized so long ago. Everyone should see this play, not just because they want something entertaining to see, but because they want to understand more of what makes humanity...humanity. There isn't a reason for why we as humans live, love, and act. And there shouldn't be. We make excuses for ourselves...but like succulents, sometimes we just want to be. And that's the most human thing in the world.

All the Wrong Places by Maybe Stewart will be presented to audiences this Friday, September 13 at 7:30PM and Saturday, September 14 at 11:00AM. For info and tickets, click here.