Interview: Nadine Hart
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What got you into your career now, and if you had not gotten into it what would you be doing today?
Wow, starting off tough! I mean I’ve always known since I was quite young that I wanted to act but never really let anyone know that until later because of how volatile a profession, financially but also emotionally too, it is. I joined a few groups whilst studying classics at university and went from there. Writing came alongside that as always being touted as another string to my bow and I’ve always had an overactive imagination. Comedy stand up I started as a dare actually. And haven’t stopped since. Accent coaching came from becoming very interested at the conservatory I went to here in New York. It was something I’d help friends with and now I enjoy helping others!
I honestly don’t know what I’d be doing today if I had not pursued my dream. I’ve always been so determined that that was what I was doing and haven’t been deterred from it. But I did consider something within law enforcement as well as being a vet.
What do you like to do when you are not working and how does that influence your creativity?
Right now I feel like all I do is work! Especially with the pandemic closing everything until very recently. I like to walk a lot, especially where I can smell the saltiness of the sea water or to a dog park. I love dogs and going there makes me smile. I often try to spend as much time with people I love. Both romantically and platonically. Both in person and virtual. Life is so fleeting and I want to spend as much time as I can with them. I like to create memories and going somewhere new, trying a new food or even taking in art at The Met is very special to me. New experiences give me something to cling to when taking on a role with whom I may have difficulty bonding with. Also even small things said by a friend or the way a stranger reacts to a text message is very inspiring to me. I don’t know a writer to create a whole new character completely from scratch without the outside influence of a friend at dinner or a stranger you see often on the bus. If you slow down to look, everyone is creatively inspiring to me. It’s one reason I love to walk...that and being inside all day isn’t fun.
How long has this been your career?
It’s been over ten years now. I’d say I was 16 when I truly began in earnest, minus the school and other child performances, so that’s 12 years now!
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your creativity?
As of now I am in New York City. Somewhere I didn’t really expect to be and that’s created a lot of unexpected things in my work, especially writing. New York is a melting pot of people from all over and from different walks of life that even watching someone on the train, the bus or in the park feels so creative to me. Even how they walk, swing their arms or carry their bags influences a character I may play. Whilst I love rural areas and that quieter pace sometimes you just don’t get that kind of diversity from people in those places. Wildlife, definitely. But not typically the people.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have performed?
I had the best time performing at Kelly and Whitney’s Bucket at Brighton Fringe Festival. The audience was so good both evenings and I was so proud that I could write sketch comedy so well. I managed to pull through a show after a night at the hospital...maybe I was so tired I stopped thinking too much about being funny! A close second would be A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was so funny and the cast of school friends were wonderful to work with. I had to crack my knuckles for one scene as Mustardseed and it was so loud! I didn’t expect that at all!
I wouldn’t say this was the worst but for my school’s Festival of Theatre at the end of the school year I performed in Who Will Carry the Word, which is about women of French Resistance imprisoned at Auschwitz. Not only was this very tough for me as I’m Jewish but the stage at Circle in the Square was covered in sand as that’s when Once on this Island was there and we had scenes were we’d be sleeping or I was carried to backstage when my character passed away which would’ve been fine but a few insects had taken up residence in said sand so I donated a bit of blood to keep them fed! Thankfully my cast mate flipped up the collar of my coat so at least my neck was protected! And of course I can never forget breaking my ankle on stage doing Fame when I was about 16! I didn’t know it was broken, I thought it was very badly sprained, and I went on the next night!
Tell me about your favorite venue to perform at, and do you have any places you want to perform that you have not already?
I really enjoyed performing in this little black box space for the Brighton Fringe Festival. I was doing sketch comedy so we didn’t need anything fancy. It was a great show so I have a lot of happy memories in that little box! The ultimate dream is to perform Shakespeare at Shakespeare’s Globe of course and I’d love to perform in an amphitheatre style venue...I love the classics and would love to do more of that!
If you could perform any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket?
Oh wow...now that is a hard one! I’d love to be able to perform Shakespeare with the greats! So Sirs Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart have to be there! James Earl Jones as well as Andre Braugher. Helena Bonham Carter and Dame Maggie Smith have to be there too!
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into the industry?
The industry rarely gives back to you so do you and what makes you happy. To expand your reel why not contact a few film schools and do their short films and voiceovers for free or some lunch. Find a few good teachers and friends and hold on tight! Their advice is invaluable.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
Well this involves breaking the laws of time travel! But seriously I’d try and give myself the self help, positive affirmations and all that lovely stuff that someone very special gave me just over a year ago. It’s really changed my life for the better and I wish I had done it earlier!
Of your work which one means the most to you and why?
Many of the things I’ve worked on I have found something that means a lot to me. Something I’m currently writing brings out my fear and upset of the financial downturn and the succeeding recession when I was a teenager. King Jeongjo too, a short film I worked on last summer and excitedly went to Concourse Film Festival, brought out a love of just acting spontaneously sometimes. But overall playing Anne Frank in a school production was the most important to me. As I said I’m Jewish so not only was the pressure on, there was a lot there for me, especially because I was bullied harshly for my religion and it was the first time I had such a main role where I could channel that into. The bullying didn’t stop but it gave me a real love for that part of myself and it didn’t have to be something to hide. Also Anne had such a great spirit in a time when people like me were rounded up and taken away and that’s such an important thing to show when playing her.
What is the creative process for you, and what inspires you to write?
I’m not sure if I have a defined process but like so many other writers I’m inspired by what is happening around me. At the beginning of the lockdown in New York my writing veered down a darker and sadder path but right now with things being more hopeful my writing reflects that hope. I tend to talk to my characters a lot and even writing things that are unrelated to the plot of the story we see it really helps me understand how that character would react in certain situations related to the story.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your work?
I want to inspire and empower. When you walk out of the cinema or the theatre pumped up, I want to give people that feeling! I want people to question what they saw and talk about it with the people they went with. I want people to start a conversation and learn more about what they just watched.
Do you ever have disagreements when collaborating and how do you get past them?
Of course! Who doesn’t? But where there’s disagreement in writing punchlines or how to get something across in a scene the different perspective, for me, is so valuable to hear. Relationships often involve compromise and I’m not above constructive criticism or looking at something with another set of eyes. I’m an open individual and actually welcome it. Something new and even more exciting comes from disagreeing sometimes.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I mean I’m very concentrated on the right now as it’s really exciting; I’m a member of a few companies and all are bringing up some cool work. With the 68 Cent Crew Theatre Company we are currently producing our one act festival which they do every year. It’s over Zoom this time again and it’s really great to be able to write, as all of the short one acts are completely new, written by our members, direct, produced as well as acting. Look out for it. We’re going to be doing it for a little while! With NOT Muppet Classic Theater we are constantly doing Zoom Children’s Theatre with actors all around the country and the world. It’s really fun to do, though very different of course! And with my group Circle of Inequity, fighting for creating equitable spaces and trying to dismantle a racist and discriminatory system, we have so much that we are currently doing and we look forward to announcing it soon. Do you like radio plays and fun podcasts? If so you’ll definitely enjoy it! I’m also working on a podcast myself to help highlight life with chronic illnesses and disability. I think my future involves a lot of writing. I want to create work for my friends, talented colleagues and I to perform in. I want to use that platform to challenge perspectives and preconceived notions. That’s a path I will be very happy on.
Website - www.thenadinehart.com
Social Media Links (For both Instagram and TikTok) @n_e_hart