PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Marin Hinkle, Star of Lincoln Center Theater's Luce

By Matthew Blank
29 Oct 2013

Some favorite or most memorable roles as a child or teen: Marian the Librarian. Fiona in Brigadoon (second confession: another stage kiss with Patrick, aka The Music Man), Tillie in The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds. Tillie was a science geek and a lover of rabbits. I was so nervous for this show that I memorized the entire play - everyone's lines - just in case. And I ended up getting my own pet rabbit afterwards.
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: I played the part of one of the sons in Medea for the Boston Ballet at age 10. I was dragged onstage in a big bloody sheet by the leading dancer of the company who played Medea. I had been ordered by the ballet mistress to keep my eyes closed, since I was "dead." But I couldn't help myself and opened them in the final moments as the lights went down. I remember hearing the music, seeing the lights above me, and I was forever hooked.
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: (note where) From any NY diner I try to have a bowl of soup (chicken noodle or vegetable), a small salad with no onions, french dressing on the side, and a toasted bagel with butter. And a Diet Coke with a lemon if I am being particularly unhealthy. I love Cafe Edison. Or Westway. Or Cozy Soup and Burger.
Favorite liquid refreshment: Diet Coke. I am not proud of this.
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: I like dancing through the seats.
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: I am terribly superstitious and don't like talking about this.
Worst costume ever: I was a male clock dwarf in Boston Ballet's production of Cinderella when I was 12. I had a fake beard, huge stuffed knobby knees, and a big belly. It was actually kind of a charming costume when I think about it now. At the time, I felt differently.
Worst job you ever had: I cleaned bathrooms at MIT for a summer - scraped mold and grime off of them every day. Now as a result, my own bathrooms are kept really, really clean. Ah, for silver linings.
Craziest audition story: I was once offered a leading part in a play, arrived on the first day having worked for weeks privately on it and found out that I didn't have THAT particular role, I had a much smaller role. Luckily I loved the woman who was playing "my role." I never told anyone in the cast. I did tell my agents.
What drew you to this project? I love playing a mother who goes to all extremes to protect her son.
What has been the biggest challenge so far? Being away from my own son as I play the role.
What has been the most fun or fulfilling aspect of this show? I love this cast and this team of artists. May Adrales and JC Lee (director and writer) are extraordinarily passionate and talented people. They have been working together on this play for ages and have raised it like an exquisite and deeply unique child - with such love and compassion and respect.
Most challenging role you have played onstage: I have been lucky in my career to get to play many women who take big risks, live with high stakes and fight aggressively for what they want and believe in. (As in Luce or Miss Julie or The Dybbuk or The Changeling or Romeo and Juliet or Rabbit Hole or Blue Window.)

The women I love and get to play are often just teetering on the edge of sanity perhaps. Yet all the while, they are willing to risk almost anything for that which they most love. For some reason I went through a string of roles where I was in a bloody wedding dress - perhaps that says something?

Who have you played on "Law & Order"? What edition? I have done all three of the NY "Law and Order" shows. My favorite was the first one I did - the original show. And I fell madly for Jerry Orbach. His smile made me melt. And he sang from The Fantasticks. I miss him.
Something about you that surprises people: I retreat into tiny rooms at large events (not just when playing Trivial Pursuit) because I can get very uncomfortable in unfamiliar crowds. I am often much more comfortable hanging out with kids than grown ups.
Career you would want if not a performer: I would teach children. I love working with kids - doing art with them, making up plays with them, running around on beaches and in parks - all the while trying to encourage them to hold onto their natural silliness and sense of freedom and play. I want to do more of it.
Three things you can't live without: My son. My family. My friends.
"I'll never understand why…" … we have to die.
Words of advice for aspiring performers: Keep connected to the world around you. Take in as much art as you can. Continue to lead a life with as much balance as you can find. Listen to those older than you - wiser than you - and to those younger and less wise too. But mostly listen to yourself.

A dear friend and mentor sent this to me in an email today, and so I will pass it on to you:

"Watch your thoughts for they become words

Choose your words for they become actions

Understand your actions for they become habits

Study your habits for they become your character

Develop your character for it becomes your destiny."