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Small Mouth Sounds' Seven Stars Sound Off on Silence, Crying, Connecting & More

August 9th, 2016 by

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Small Mouth Sounds' Seven Stars Sound Off on Silence, Cry...

One of the most exciting plays happening right now in New York is Bess Wohl's critically-acclaimed drama Small Mouth Sounds. A group of strangers, each at a crossroads in his/her life, come together at a silent retreat, and so much of the action is conveyed non-verbally.


BroadwayBox caught up with Small Mouth Sounds' seven stars to hear from them about performing in this one-of-a-kind play.

Babak Tafti (Rodney)

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1. What moment in the show do you feel most connected to someone else?
Two moments: When Alicia and I breathe together. When I light Ned's match.

2. How do you get yourself to the place where you’re crying on cue?
Tweezers.

3. Who in the cast do you think could last longest staying completely silent?
Quincy because she's a bit of a ninja and a she's a winner.

4. What do you do after the show to get you out of this world?
I head over to Chirping Chicken for some glorious chicken. (I'm hoping they'll read this and want to sponsor us with free chicken).

Marcia DeBonis (Joan)

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1. What do you think brings your character to this silent retreat?
She's in distress about many things and desperate for some help.

2. What’s your go-to thing to re-center yourself?
Listening to my Dad's favorite jazz tune: "Ernie's Song" by Dexter Gordon.

3. How do you get yourself to the place where you’re crying on cue?
I have what my husband calls my "cry book"—I put post-its with stuff that "triggers" me in the Yoga book that I read onstage.

4. What moment in the show do you feel most connected to someone else?
The very ending when "Judy" and I leave, and also after "Rodney" burns his intention. I take his hand to form a circle and every night I think to myself, "Oh, I wish had had spent more time with him."

Brad Heberlee (Ned)

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1. What moment in the show do you feel most connected to someone else?
It changes from night to night, which is what makes working on this play so wonderful.

2. What do you wish you could tell your character?
Hang in there?

3. What do you do after the show to get you out of this world?
I’m usually starving, so I’ll grab some food with Babak. We eat a lot of rotisserie chicken!

4. What’s your go-to thing to re-center yourself?
Looking into my scene partner’s eyes.

Quincy Tyler Bernstine (Judy)

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1. What do you think brings your character to this silent retreat?
Her girlfriend, Joan. She is certainly not here by choice.

2. What moment in the show do you feel most connected to someone else?
The moments during Night 3 that I share with Jan.

3. What has this experience taught you about silence?
It isn't always golden.

4. How do you get yourself to the place where you’re crying on cue?
I'm never actually crying on cue. When I am moved to tears by the truthfulness of a moment, that is when I cry.

Jojo Gonzalez (Teacher)

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1. What’s your go-to thing to re-center yourself?
It depends on the character I play. For this one, I play a shakuhachi before the play.

2. What has this experience taught you about silence?
We are never really silent...

3. What do you wish you could tell your character?
Practice what you preach...

4. What do you do after the show to get you out of this world?
I stuff my face.

Max Baker (Jan)

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1. What has this experience taught you about silence?
There is no such thing as Silence, but the play does bring focus to listening.

2. Who in the cast do you think could last longest staying completely silent?
Again, no such thing as being Silent, Babak does a lot of burping. If you mean Who in the cast could Not Talk for the longest it wouldn't be Zoe.  Top prize for this would go to Savannah, our reliable, crucial crew member who hasn't spoken since July 9th.

3. What do you think brings your character to this silent retreat?
I know what does.  Bess created specific characters with specific histories which she includes as part of the script.

4. What do you do after the show to get you out of this world?
Take off my costume and leave the dressing room. The world's still going on.

Zoë Winters (Alicia)

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1. What do you think brings your character to this silent retreat?
It's exhausting to hate yourself.

2. What has this experience taught you about silence?
How to tell a story without language.

3. What do you wish you could tell your character?
You didn't need to pack that many pairs of pants for a 5-day retreat. Same thing I tell myself every time I come home from a trip.

4. Who in the cast do you think could last longest staying completely silent?
Well I know that Max said I would be the first one to speak. So, in my defense, while I do enjoy a good 24 hours of talking, I think I would be the one to stay quiet the longest. Then when it was over I would tell Max all about it.

Small Mouth Sounds runs at The Pershing Square Signature Center through October 9.