BWW Interview: Daisy Eagan of THE HUMANS at AT&T PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
Name: Daisy Eagan
Lorens Portalatin: What do you enjoy about Stephen Karam's The Humans?
Daisy Eagan: What I love about THE HUMANS is that in some ways it's a really mundane day - it's Thanksgiving dinner. But of course, with some families there's no such thing as just Thanksgiving dinner, right? Families are complicated and complex and I love that in this play the whole day can happen and you're just like wait what? It can happen so fast - but once it's over you realize how much has gone on. I love that it's really about what we as humans bring to everyday life with all of our baggage.
Lorens Portalatin: As the youngest female recipient of a TONY award, what is some advice you would give artists to pursue a performance career?
Daisy Eagan: It's hard for me to give advice because the way my career started was very atypical for most people. I think the main thing is loving what you do and understanding that what we do takes a lot of work and discipline. Your goal as an actor, professional or not, is to enjoy the work and feel as though you're doing a good job. Our goal as actors should always be to do good work and to be open to learning and studying and be ok that your [education] is never going to end.
Lorens Portalatin: Would you say that you've seen more than most in the theatre world?
Daisy Eagan: I don't know. That's an interesting question. I've seen a different perspective of it than a lot of adult actors getting into [the industry] as adults. As a teacher, I think I have a unique perspective especially when it comes to teaching young performers. In terms of actors, any of us who have been in [this industry] for a long time have seen our fair share.
Lorens Portalatin: What type of shows peaks your interest the most?
Daisy Eagan: Generally, I'm more excited by works of generally modernized voices. I love doing straight plays because I find them to be so different from musicals. It's a different muscle. I really love doing straight plays
Lorens Portalatin: I'd love to hear what made you fall in love with theatre and pursue your career at such a young age.
Daisy Eagan: The idea of getting to play somebody else. My dad was in a play when I was about 8 and I had never really been around it because of money. I was really, horribly bullied in school and I saw my dad in this play and I remember watching him thinking 'Oh, I could be somebody else.' That led to me asking my parents if I could try acting because and it just so happened that I had some talent. I fell in love with the idea of doing theatre then and what made me fall in love with theatre, in general, is getting to be a part of it and build things with other people. What we do is so beautiful and so strange and we're really lucky that we get to do that.
Lorens Portalatin: You're a teacher! What ages do you typically teach and what are some of your favorite teaching moment?
Daisy Eagan: I teach one-on-one audition coaching and acting coaching for younger actors. I've taught all ages and skill levels but I tend to work with kids who are currently auditioning for local theatre, college programs or professional theatre.
Daisy Eagan: My favorite thing to see in students is when they realize that [acting] is really just about listening and responding. When I get them to drop whatever polish they think they needed to put on something and just say the words on the page... that's the most satisfying to me.
Lorens Portalatin: Out of all the roles you've gotten the opportunity to play are there any that you're particularly proud of?
Daisy Eagan: I did a few plays on the West Coast that I'm particularly proud of. I did a play called BE AGGRESSIVE. We did the world premiere at La Jolla Playhouse and I was 21 at the time playing an 11-year-old - I really loved that and I felt really good about that work. Down at South Coast Rep, I did a Christopher Shinn world premiere called ON THE MOUNTAIN when I was 26 - I was playing a teenager... I really like stretching my age limit. And playing Sally in THE WILD PARTY at The Blank. The director gave us a lot of space and leeway to make what we wanted out of that. That was tremendously fun. Those experiences have really stuck with me and will remain with me for the rest of my career.
Lorens Portalatin: Do you have anything lined up after you finish up touring THE HUMANS?
Daisy Eagan: That's always a hard question. I am going to take my son on a camping road-trip cross country. And I actually can't wait for that and then we're going to spend the rest of the summer in New York together. I'm doing a tremendous amount of writing and my comedy partner and writing partner and I have a show called The Brunch of Shame that we're going to put more focus into and we'd like to branch off of that.
They are live Sunday brunch shows that are at the Laurie Beechman in New York.
Lorens Portalatin: If the rest of your career was a choose-your-own-adventure opportunity, what roles might you choose to follow THE HUMANS?
Daisy Eagan: It's funny, I've been leaning more towards writing lately and I'd love to be a writer of a TV show. What's happening on tv nowadays is remarkable - like a new frontier. I love the medium and unlike theatre, it's different all the time and on film, you get to keep going.
Lorens Portalatin: What are some of your most memorable onstage mishaps?
Daisy Eagan: Oh god. So many. In SECRET GARDEN we had a turntable so whenever there is a turntable and sliding doors it's a recipe for disaster. There was a night where the doors didn't open and the turntable went and all the furniture just crashed into it. The next scene was a big dance number and people just had to leap over the furniture. In THE HUMANS, regularly we spill our drinks and have to deal with it in real time. Once in THE SECRET GARDEN, I had the hiccups all through the second act. *laughs* I really love onstage mishaps.
Daisy Eagan - A published, award-winning writer with a loyal and growing audience, Daisy hasn't left her creative talents on the stage. A fierce fighter and activist for women's and LGBTQ rights, she is a rousing voice in political arenas and continues to fight for change throughout her literary career.