Meet the Cast of FOLLIES! Erin Foster-O’Riordan is Heidi Schiller!

erin foWhat is your role in Follies? I play Heidi Schiller, diva of divas, and muse of many early 20th-century Austrian composers.  

What is your background in theatre? At Walterdale? I started dancing at the age of three, and have always loved performing.  I’ve been active in local theatre for about 14 years, and have had the chance to work with some amazing people and play some amazing roles such as Polly in Crazy for You (Festival Place), Cathy in The Last Five Years (Round Barn/TOWTTB), and The Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods (TOWTTB). I also have been able to collaborate with some dear friends while working on projects under the Round Barn Productions banner which Monica Roberts and I co-founded a number of years ago, including twice producing the 60’s inspired SHOUT! The Mod Musical.  I am also a sound designer, and have worked with many wonderful production teams to help establish mood, time and place in their shows.  At Walterdale, I have designed sound for Crimes of the Heart, Village of Idiots, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, The Rabbit Hole, Love of the Nightingale, Proof, Nine, and Chess.  I have also had my one-act play, Uncle Robert’s Funeral, produced as a staged reading. The last time I was onstage at Walterdale was almost 11 years ago in 2006’s Steel Magnolias as Truvy Jones.

What brought you out for this production? Being (ahem) past the age of playing any of the memory girls, I was enticed by the number of mature roles for women in this show.  I was also enticed by knowing that many of my fellow mature woman actors would be auditioning, and the chance to work in that kind of ensemble is rare.  Also–Sondheim.  I’m a sucker for Sondheim.

This show is about theatre and nostalgia – what do you love about doing theatre? I think this show is also about the fleeting camaraderie of theatre–relationships that are brief and beautiful.  There is something lovely about the point-in-time magic of any show you are a part of–relationships that quickly become intense and personal because you are working with each other intensely and personally.  But then it’s over, and you may never see or work with some of those people again. Yes, you have friendships that transcend that point in time, but for the most part, doing a show is a unique experience with a built-in expiry date–knowing that makes me breathe it in more deliberately somehow, and not take it for granted.  It forces you to be present in the moment.

What has been the most challenging part of doing the show? Time management.  Life is very busy!

What has been the best thing about doing the show? I have gotten to do things that are completely new to me.  I have never had any experience with tap, so even learning the “faking it” version has been a lot of fun, and I have never sang a song that is so operatic before.  I want to thank Michael and Barb for trusting that I had those capabilities when I really did think I did!

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