Amanda Sox – Casting is Like Fantasy Football:

We’ve said it before. She’s been all over, but Amanda Sox has come back home to Greenville and we are eternally grateful. She along with her husband, Jay Briggs, are taking the Greenville theatre scene by storm this year from acting to teaching to directing to Forum creation at The Warehouse.  Richard III marks her second Main Stage performance of The Warehouse season and audiences are in for a treat with her unbridled rage as Lady Anne.  We recently sat down with Amanda (so to speak) and hammered out a few questions with her about her experience with Richard III:

WHT:   Your training is in theatre, correct?
Amanda:   Yes.  Elon University. I have a BFA in Acting.

WHT:  And remind our readers, you were from here and then moved around a bit?
Amanda:  I was born in Georgetown, SC, but moved to Greenville in the 2nd grade. I moved back to Greenville almost two years ago after spending about ten years traveling the country.

WHT:  Did you have some favorite moments you can share from the productions you’ve been a part of or seen?
Amanda: There are several, but usually the best moments are on the heels of the worst…hardest…experiences. I’ve done some self-producing in the past and leading up to opening I usually swear off theatre…until we open. At that first curtain call I’m the proudest and most joyful version of myself (while sobbing from exhaustion).

WHT:  What’s your favorite part of being an actor?
Amanda: Other people handle all the details. Seriously though, acting is a craft that I can continually hone. I enjoy challenging myself to stretch and grow. And each show is a regenerative cycle where I can start fresh with new text (or revisit old text with new eyes), different people, different challenges, etc.

WHT:  Is there someone’s work that you greatly enjoy? Maybe someone else you admire in acting?
Amanda:  I’m in love with a lot of the female tv writer / actors / comedic geniuses like Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, etc. And the casting director Allison Jones. I’ve followed her and her office since Freaks and Geeks. Casting is like fantasy football to me.

WHT:  Do you have a routine that you go through before a performance? A superstition or anything?
Amanda:  Hmmmm…no, not really. Should I get one? I guess in a general sense, I warm up vocally and physically in whatever ways I need. But I don’t like say mantras to myself in the mirror or spit over my shoulder or anything.

WHT:  How many Shakespeares do you have under your belt now?
Amanda:  Whoah! Personal question! No clue. Not as many as I would like. I had a quarter life crisis when I started to realize all of the characters I might never play in full productions.

WHT:  What is your favorite thing about working on Shakespeare’s plays?
Amanda:  I like the book work. Analyzing text, research, etc. And the vocal gymnastics are delightfully exhilarating. NERD.

WHT:  What has been your favorite part of this rehearsal process?
Amanda:  This rehearsal process has felt exploratory, which is wonderful. Feeling like true collaborators as actors is a fantastic gift. Thanks, Alex!

WHT:  This show focuses more on the action and less on the historical elements of Richard III. What was that like to experience a rather well known text in a bit of a different light?
Amanda:  Freeing. Not that I threw everything I knew about the text and Shakespeare out of the window, but this feels more like our show as a company – rather than a company’s best attempt at interpreting an old play.

WHT:  How is the research for the show affecting your performance?
Amanda:  I could give you an essay here. Anne is a puzzling character that scholars have dealt with for years. I researched the real Anne, which was all very helpful in a broad sense. But the real Anne and real Richard are not in this play. And there are differing opinions on Shakespeare’s Anne, and her motives. So I guess the research affects my process, but what actually comes out in performance is the company’s choices about the research set within the world of our play.

WHT:  Did a previous screening or performance of Richard III influence you in any direction?
Amanda:  I’ve seen most of the film adaptations, and on a whole, the Annes underwhelm me because I have no idea why they marry Richard. Albeit a complex moment and decision for the character, I think the audience should be able to buy into her choice. The McKellan adaptation had a compelling spin on their relationship and Anne’s arc, but it ignores some original (and difficult) text to muscle that concept.

WHT: How many windsprints did you have to do to get in shape to make it from one end of Michael’s monstrous design to the other?

WHT:  After Richard closes, what’s your next gig?
Amanda:  I’ve got nothing on the books. I’m going on a vacation!

Catch Amanda Sox as Lady Anne in Richard III playing through May 2nd!