In Mark St. Germain’s Wednesday’s Child, Susan and Martin Merrit aren’t able to have a child of their own, so they hire a gifted college student, Becca Connor, to serve as a surrogate. When Becca is murdered, a police investigation explodes the lives of everyone who knew her. As Detectives Valez and Dixon begin to put the pieces together, secrets surface, alibis weaken, and lies are uncovered. At times, bubbly, and, at others, cold and calculating, Brooke Tyler Benson’s portrayal of Becca is complex and draws you in.
We met with Brooke to talk about how Wednesday’s Child has evolved over the past year, the play’s themes, and what sets Mark St. Germain’s latest play apart from others.
Though FST’s production of Wednesday’s Child is a World Premiere, you’re not entirely new to the role of Becca Connor. You first took on this character in a staged reading of the play in progress at FST last year. How has the play, as well as your relationship to your character, evolved since that early reading?
I’ve done multiple readings and developmental workshops of this play at FST. Getting to see multiple iterations of the story, with new and deleted scenes, I got special insight into this character and her motivations from the playwright’s mind that didn’t end up in the iteration that is being seen onstage right now. Because it is a brand-new play, I felt I had an advantage to being with my character previously, since I could start rehearsals with some character work under my belt, which allowed me to dive even deeper into her story.
It’s not easy to mount a World Premiere production without past productions to reference. What was the rehearsal process like? What challenges did you face in discovering your character and her story?
The rehearsal process for this play was much different than the one for Curious Incident, which I did at FST just before Wednesday’s Child. With a brand new play, you know going into it that things are going to change, so it’s a strange process of not attaching yourself too strongly to any of the material (in case it gets cut) while simultaneously fully investing in your character and the story in order to find out what is working and what’s not. Things were changing all the way up until opening night, so being flexible and willing to adjust was a necessity.
What are some of the questions that Wednesday’s Child asks, and why are they important?
The play dives into themes of motherhood, in all its forms. I think it’s important to question and challenge the “classic” definition of motherhood, and I hope this play provides a more open view of what being a mother means and the different forms it can take. This play touches on a ton of topics, and my hope is that at least one of them sparks a conversation that challenges a previously held belief or assumption in our audiences, as I hope all plays do.
You were formerly an Acting Apprentice at FST. How did that experience prepare you for a professional acting career?
Being an Acting Apprentice at FST was a fantastic experience. It was hard work, but the opportunities that those nine months gave to me were invaluable. I love living in Florida, so being able to make connections with all the theatres in the area while I was an apprentice made it possible for me to keep working as an actor down here post-apprenticeship. I met a ton of actors that were on contract at FST, and learning from their stories helped me form what my path in this field would look like. It was a great stepping stone between college and the “real world,” and I felt fully prepared to jump into the business when my apprenticeship ended.
Why should someone come see this play?
First and foremost, this play is a murder mystery, so you will definitely leave the theatre having seen something entertaining that will also keep you guessing up until the very end. It’s always fun for us as actors onstage to hear the gasps and reactions of the audience as the play unfolds every night.