by Rachel Gould
Up until a couple of years ago, a group of my friends would gather around the television every Monday night to watch the latest episode of 24. It was a thrilling evening of suspense, watching Jack Bauer rescue the United States from yet another terrorist attack.
Imagine the delight on campus, therefore, when Cherry Jones, who starred as the President in 24, appeared on campus to talk with the stars of Freed-Hardeman’s production of The Heiress. Jones herself had starred in the Lincoln Center’s production of The Heiress for which she would win one of her two Tony’s. This experience allowed her to have a lively conversation with the students as they discussed acting techniques and creating a backstory to their characters. She encouraged the students to keep their acting focused and sharp, stating:
“When in doubt, if you are having difficulty, do not lean back and wait for the emotion; lean into it and let it take you whoosh.”
Though quiet and gentle in tone, her experience in communicating through not only her words but also her gestures and facial expressions became very evident. As all good actresses should, Jones commanded the space of the room as she met with students, bringing her audience into the stories she told. For the students, the workshop with Jones provided encouragement in regards to the career that they had chosen and a new contact for their future line of work.