Five Friday Questions with Emily Chisholm

Emily Chisholm is a Seattle actor, Cornish grad and company member of New Century Theatre Company (who recently moved into their shiny new space at 12th Ave Arts.) Chisholm received a Gregory Award nomination for Outstanding Actress for last spring’s production of Bethany at ACT, and this March she’ll play Rose in NCTC’s West Coast premiere of The Flick. She’s also learning to play the ukulele. Chisholm joins me for this week’s installment of Five Friday Questions.

What’s the best performance you’ve seen lately?

It’s from last year, but it is still buzzing in my head: Cherry Jones in The Glass Menagerie. She reinvented Amanda Wingfield. That production is probably the best thing I’ve ever seen. Memory is the driving dynamic of the play, and the production captured that so thoroughly and creatively. I’ve never seen a play so successful in artistry, creativity, risk and storytelling.

And I’m a little obsessed with Robin Wright in House of Cards. It is such a subtle, complex, vicious, and elegant performance.

What’s your favorite place to go after a show?

If I performed in the show, my favorite place to go is home! I like to walk home and go to sleep! Isn’t that boring? But walking is the best. It releases left over performance energy and it gives me time process the show: what worked, what didn’t, what to try next time. And then I sleep. What could be better? Otherwise, if I have friends in the audience or if I attended the show, I go to Cafe Presse for basically everything. It’s like The Max in Saved By The Bell, perfect for every occasion.

What music gets you pumped up? What do you listen to when you’re sad?

Right now I love HaimRhyeWashed OutGrimes, and Black Mountain. If I’m “pumped” I’m probably dancing. Robyn will get me dancing, Beyonce too. Prince and Michael Jackson will always work. Three of my favorite songs for dancing: “Crown On The Ground” by Sleigh Bells “Losing You” by Solange, and “Poison” by Bel Biv DeVoe.

For quieter times, “Bright, Bright, Bright” by Dark Dark Dark is gorgeous. “Proserpina” by Martha Wainwright is devastating. I love Echo & The Bunnymen for rainy days, especially “The Killing Moon.” But the saddest thing I have ever listened to is Henryk Gorecki’s Symphony No. 3, The Symphony of Sorrowful Songs. It can wreck a person.

Do you “treat yourself” to anything special after a show closes? 

Occasionally. I think I could get myself into trouble if I really made it a tradition. It depends on the show and whether I think I’ve earned it. But if something strikes me, I might buy myself a little gift. My only rule is that it can’t be theme-related. 

What’s the most useful thing anyone’s ever taught you about working in theatre?

An actor has to be an advocate for their character. Everyone I have ever worked with has taught me this directly and indirectly.

And my favorite: the speed of fun is faster than worry and slower than panic. I learned that in a clown workshop.