• Kevin Broccoli

The Epic Exit Interview: Lizzie Borden, Lizzie Borden

Another show behind us, but still in our hearts, and you know what that means--


We asked our favorite little villain, Vanessa Paige (Emma #2), to break down for us what it was like working on such a crazy production, who she'll miss, and where we left that axe...

1. What's your favorite line from the show? (Doesn't have to be yours.)

My absolute favorite line was the Father saying, “Lizzie, part of being an adult is taking something you love and smothering it. Extinguishing its spirit. That’s maturity.” I always looked forward to hearing that line from backstage.

2. Which role would you like to play other than your own? (Gender doesn't matter.)

That’s tough because there are a lot of unique characters in this show. My answer would have to be Lizzie though. Because she is such a notorious woman that most people are familiar with in our area. I would love the challenge of living up to the expectations that the audience has when watching an actor play a person of interest such as Lizzie. I would also love to be able to play the two different time periods Lizzie is in (between Act 1 and Act 2). Both time periods have very stylized movements, that can make it even more challenging.

3. Have you ever played a villain before?

The very first time I played a villain was in Epic’s show “The Terrifying Tales of the Brothers Grimm”. This show was about a group of Czechoslovakian actors in the 1970’s who were staging a show for a government agent, trying to pass censorship. Enter me, the government censor. This was one of my ultimate favorite roles, which Kate Lester (coincidentally in “Lizzie Borden, Lizzie Borden”) had directed. I’ve only played the villain twice in my life, but both occasions make the top of my list. It is always fun to portray someone completely out of the box from yourself.

4. Have you ever read "Emma?"

I had not read Emma prior to this show, but as soon as I read the script I realized I needed to get busy. For me, it was important to know and understand my story inside of my own novel. In real life, I have a firm belief that you cannot truly understand who someone is, until you know where they have been. Emma may have been placed in a new world with Lizzie, but her roots as a person could only be understood from reading her book and I wanted to be able to identify with her.

5. If you could have a magical power, what would it be?

I’m glad you asked this question because as a big Marvel/DC fan, I have put a lot of thought into this very question over the years. I have to break my answer up in two parts, depending upon if I decide I want to be a good or evil person once I am given powers. If I’m good, I would have to go with the ability to teleport. Time is priceless and if I had the ability to be able to snap my fingers and be wherever I wanted, that would be the ultimate power. I could literally go around the world in 80 days. Now if I’m a villain, I would like to have a similar power to a succubus, where I am able to lure people in, by the power of seduction, and just when they think they are safe…. WHAM!

6. What did you do during Act One while you waited for your first appearance in Act Two?

I ate pretzels…a lot of pretzels.

7. Did you know anything about Lolita or Lizzie Borden before the play?

I of course knew the story of Lizzie Borden growing up in Massachusetts, but I actually was not familiar with the story of Lolita. It wasn’t until we began rehearsals that I decided I might want to do some research and watch the movie.

8. Who will you miss the most from the cast?

This is always the hardest question to answer because in all truthfulness, you really do get attached to everyone as a whole. This show was unique for me in the sense that I came into it not having worked with a lot of the actors. Of course, some people I had worked with in the past, but even then, it had been years. I absolutely loved getting to know everyone and even after our last show I was dilly dallying and didn’t want to leave; knowing that once I left it meant the show was over. I can honestly say that doesn’t happen with every show, but this one was different.

9. What did you learn from doing the show?

I learned how much I truly love theatre. I had taken a break for about a year to plan my wedding (with my incredible, sweet, hilarious, husband Justin, who is making me write in how amazing he is) and in that time, although I was busy with planning, I would get jealous of everyone else in shows. When you take a little break and then go back, it’s almost as if you re-discover everything all over again. I knew I missed it, and I knew loved it, but you forget all the little things. On another level, I learned about myself. Believe it or not, I don’t get to play children in shows as often as one would think. I believe this was only the second time I’ve gotten to play a child this age. I learned a lot about character development during the process of tapping into that side of me.

10. Describe the experience in one word.


Vanessa Paige with Kevin Thibault. Photo by Dave Cantelli

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