Megan Graves is a beloved member of the DC theatre community— you may have recently seen her in King John at the Folger or Gloria at Woolly Mammoth. We are so lucky to have her here at Olney for her OTC debut as Amy in Oil. Megan is not only a talented and fiercely driven actor; she is also an incredibly gracious, insightful, and kind presence in any room. We decided we wanted to get to know her and celebrate her energy a little more.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you started working in theatre?
I was born in Arizona, moved to the DC area in middle school, and went to college in Virginia. I did some theatre in high school as a way to spend time with my friends, but I didn’t think of it as a possible career until college. I had a couple of amazing Shakespeare teachers that really inspired me, and from there I kept investigating my interest until I decided to get my degree in performance.
What is special about the DC theatre community?
It’s very tightly knit. I’ve had the great experience of getting close with some of the other women who are going out for the same roles I am, and it’s helped me to have a healthier outlook on the process. I’d rather celebrate that my friend booked something than cry that I didn’t.
What has been exciting and/or challenging about your work on Oil?
From a logistical perspective, learning the three non-English languages I have to speak (with confidence, I might add) has been a really interesting challenge.
Artistically, I was curious about finding all the various colors of Amy. The play takes place over five time periods, so while the core of her Amyness remains the same, I was really interested in finding out how her intentions and desires become more complicated and textured with time.
What is a favorite role you've played? What is one of your dream roles?
I played Violet and the Village Idiot in Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play several years ago. That was a special piece. I also have a very soft spot in my heart for Peter and the Starcatcher. My first experience of doing it was so empowering, when I had the opportunity to do it again a couple years later I was really excited.
I need to spend more time thinking about exactly what my “dream roles” are! As actors we can become used to scarcity, the idea that there isn’t enough work to go around. I sometimes engage in self talk that says I should just be grateful for whatever work comes my way, whether or not I’m passionate about it. It’s a mindset I’m actively trying to change.
I can say that one day I’d love to play Beatrice in Much Ado. That’s a definite goal.
When you aren't performing, how do you like to spend your time?
When I’m not performing, I’m likely working other part time jobs, and when I’m not doing that I’m likely reading or trying new tactics to keep my houseplants alive. If I’ve got a spare afternoon you might find me baking and listening to a good podcast.
Who are your theatrical icons and why do you admire them?
I’ve been really fortunate that there are strong, kind, talented women in this industry that have come alongside me as friends and mentors. Erin Weaver is one. Her work ethic and her wisdom have been invaluable to my growth as a person and an actor.
I got to work with both Holly Twyford and Kate Norris on my last show, and let me tell you, it was a masterclass in how to be a generous leader. These women are brilliant, and they’re also some of the most giving people I’ve ever met. They don’t hoard their talent, they’re incredibly gracious with it. They use it to lift others up.
I’m aware that I’m gushing, and it’s just because I find them all so inspiring. As the youths say: #goals.