The family member behind the leak and breach of trust is Brooke Wyeth, played by Andrea Spitz, who first read the play a year ago. “I was immediately drawn to the play -- not just the character of Brooke, but the story, the dialogue, and the relationships between such diverse characters,” she says. “It was one of those instances in which I read the script and could hear the lines in my own voice.”
Spitz is a marvelous choice as Brooke who is smart, stubborn, witty and as Spitz puts it “incredibly dense about other people. It's an interesting dichotomy -- such a smart, accomplished writer who is simultaneously so illiterate about the world around her.”
One thing that Spitz thinks the audiences should know about Brooke is that, “She is completely honest. Everything she says, she absolutely believes is the truth.” The important piece in that is Brooke’s truth is based on her truth, which is flawed. Hence the turmoil that causes the Wyeth family to deal with a tragic event when Brooke decides to publish a memoir.
“In the context of the play, Brooke is wrestling with the most difficult decision of her life, so there's wonderful stuff to explore as an actor. Within the two hours of the play, she runs through just about every emotion a person can experience with many of those emotions within just a few moments! That's a real challenge and a lot of fun, for an actor,” Spitz shares.
Spitz enjoys a challenge. When accepting a challenge, she has to commitment to the work involved in getting ready. Her preparation begins before rehearsals or even the table reading. It involves research, character analysis and looking for the story beyond the pages of the script.
“I make a list of ways my character is described by herself and by the other characters. That helps me see different sides of the character. I also make a list of cultural references and allusions in the script and do a little historical research into the time period and the specific events mentioned in the script,” Spitz explains. “That's been particularly important with this show because being the child of an actor-turned-conservative-politician is central to Brooke's personality and her conflict, and I wanted to understand that point of view.”
Brooke’s point of view dominates Other Desert Cities and acting has dominated Spitz’s life since she was seven. “Our second grade class did a play about recycling called Revenge of the Dump Monster and our teacher brought in a creative dramatics expert to do all kinds of theatre games with us. I got cast as the monster. At first, I was disappointed, because I wanted to be the glamorous superhero girl in the show. But eventually, I realized that the monster was going to be a fun role and that playing the title character was something special.”
That something special is what you’ll see on the Silver Spring Stage as Spitz takes on yet another title character as Brooke in Other Desert Cities.