|While Meg (Emilie Tole) may believe that "Maxine" (Keith Firstenberg) is a woman, she's not as gullible as she seems|
While Leading Ladies describes two men who pose as women to steal an inheritance, the true leading lady in the play is the character of Meg Snider, portrayed by Emilie Tole in the Farmington Players’ production. Author Ken Ludwig describes Meg as follows: “Our play is all about Meg, really…. She knows there’s a big world outside York, PA, but she hasn’t seen much of it yet. She harbors a world of dreams, and sleeps on them every night. They keep her alive, but she doesn’t know it.”
Emilie describes Meg as follows: “I like that she is poised and ladylike, but still so girlish in the way she dreams. I've become so cynical and to play a character who finds so much joy and truly believes the best of people, even against her better judgment, is quite refreshing. I don't think she puts on rose-colored glasses; she's more sincere than that. She sees the beauty in even the strangest of situations, and doesn't give up hope. I'm learning a lot from Meg.”
Of all the characters, Meg grows the most, transforming herself from an obedient girl into a self-assured woman during the course of the show. As Emilie says, “The parts I love about Meg are the same parts that I have found difficult to portray. I'm not as optimistic as Meg, so it's been a challenge to play her truthfully and not sarcastically. But I also like making her strong. She goes from being a bit insecure to standing up to her fiancé. That challenging character progression has perhaps been the highlight of this experience for me.” Emilie says that she can relate to Meg because “I know what it's like to have something turn out so differently than you expected. Meg gets her bubble burst a few times in the show. It hurts when someone or some unstoppable force bursts your dream bubble. But like Meg, I have taken those truths and learned from them. You can decide to either let it destroy you, or to let it strengthen you. I like to think that Meg and I both have been resilient.”
A newcomer to the Barn stage, Emilie had just moved to Farmington from near Kalamazoo when she heard about Leading Ladies auditions. As she says, “I was heavily involved in my hometown theatre and was nervous to not have that connection anymore. I needed to find another theatre and quickly! I read the play and loved it. I've never done a farce before so it's been fun to try something new and stretch myself as an actor a bit.” Emilie has natural comedic timing and her physical humor and facial expressions (especially when Meg is flustered) may remind Barn patrons of classic comediennes like Carol Burnett or Lucille Ball.
Emilie studied musical theatre performance at Columbia College Chicago and performed with the Three Rivers Community Players. Some of her theatre credits include The Music Man, Quilters, The Robber Bridegroom, Honk!, Guys and Dolls, and Anne of Green Gables.
The Farmington Players' production of Leading Ladies runs through December 20. The show is proudly sponsored by Cadillac Travel Group. Tickets can be purchased online at www.farmingtonplayers.org or by calling the box office at 248-553-2955.