Actor Caught Playing Actor in Fringe Act

Categories: Theater
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Maggie Chestovich has that ineffable quality, sometimes called "presence" or "it" or "that ineffable quality," that makes you remember a performance long after the rest of the play has turned into brain ether. Originally from Falcon Heights, she's worked with most of the major theater companies in town--Children's Theatre Company, the Jungle, Frank, Ten Thousand Things, Playwrights' Center, the defunct Eye of the Storm--and has a particular gift for acerbic comedy. At this year's Minnesota Fringe Festival, she'll star with Jim Lichtscheidl in a premiere, Why Actors Can't Love, by local playwright Allan Staples. (Visit www.fringefestival.org for the performance schedule.) We caught up with Chestovich on a rehearsal break at the Jungle, where the show is being staged.

CP: So tell us about your character in this show.

Maggie Chestovich: She's an actress, about my age, which works out well for me. She was in a relationship with a man who was a writer, but it ended poorly for the both of them. And then he writes an article for a major magazine about their relationship, not using her name of course. So she confronts him about it.

CP: How common are romances between actors in this town, by which I mean things that start during rehearsal?

Chestovich: Well, in my experience, fairly common, but I'm not sure how across the board it is. I work with a lot of actors who are a bit older and in relationships. I guess I don't know a lot of people who have quote-unquote hooked up during a show, but there's always a certain amount of camaraderie, whether that becomes romantic I can't say. I'm certainly not going to tell you any rumors that I've heard.

CP: But the rumors exist.

Chestovich: Oh, of course.

CP: When you and your actor friends get together, do people talk much about moving to New York, or is the attitude more than this is good town to do theater in, so why leave?

Chestovich: People have different thoughts about it. This is very good town, there's a fair amount of opportunity, a lot less if you go Equity, but still. I think it's easier to try to make a living here. In New York, you have to get an agent. Of course it depends on your goals, what sort of work you want to do. I like this town, it's my home, I have my family here, and I feel connected to the theater community here.

CP: I know you're a music fan. What have you been listening to lately?

Chestovich: I just bought a car, and I've been very busy, so I've been listening to music in my car, a lot of what I call driving music. Weezer's blue album, Built to Spill, the Sideways score, and the new White Stripes.

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