Name: Meredith VanSkiver
Role: Abigail Williams
1. What part of being in the play makes you the most nervous?
“A lot of things make me nervous. I think the two biggest ones are the fact that it’s a play that people are familiar with; it’s not something where they’re seeing everything happen for the first time. Almost every kid has read it or knows about it, so there’s pressure to live up to their expectations. And I think it’s also nerve-racking because I’ve never done a play before, so it’s my first time doing everything. It’s very scary but fun, and it’s been very eye-opening in a lot of different aspects. There’s so much that I didn’t understand; obviously, there’s memorizing lines, but there’s so much more that you don’t even realize goes into [the play].”
2. About how many lines do you have, and how long did it take you to memorize them?
“Around 130. As soon as I got cast, I started looking at the script. I said my lines on my way to school and had my mom practice with me. Basically any free moment alone I had I spent memorizing my lines. After like two or three weeks, I had most of them down.”
3. What emotions do you think you’ll feel on opening night as the curtain opens?
“Meredith VanSkiver is going to feel a lot of gratitude and joy. Abigail Williams is going to feel anger and psychoticness.”
4. If you could switch roles with anyone for one performance, who would it be and why?
“Linus Kaechele plays Reverend Hale, and that’s my favorite character in the show other than Abigail. So, that one would be fun to play because I love the way that character is written: he starts out sane and slowly gets crazy because of everything that’s happening. I also think it would be fun to play Elizabeth Proctor because she’s the exact opposite of Abigail Williams, and I love Ella Guikema. They both do a great job, but I think it would be fun to try those roles.”
5. How are you like or unlike your character?
“Fun story. Sophomore year when we read The Crucible, I read the part of Abigail. I was like, ‘I love Abigail, she’s the best. I’m totally like her. We’re both independent, strong women. Like, yes, go girls.’ And then when I got cast as Abigail and started doing more research, I was like, “Wow, she’s the worst. She’s an evil human being.” So, I’d like to think that I’m not like her because she causes all of the chaos, death, sadness, and sorrow. I’d like to say that I’m not an evil person like her.”
6. Who is the funniest person on the cast and why?
“There’s a lot of funny people. Ben Lowen makes me laugh just by existing; I think he’s hilarious. Susan Toppen is the silliest person I have ever met in the best way. Zach Guikema is so weird, but weird that just makes me giggle—especially when I need a good pick-me-up.”
7. What can the audience expect when they go to the play?
“They can expect to be surprised because a lot of the people in the show are pretty friendly, well-known kids at FHC, but they totally transform into different people on stage. I think people are going to be shocked but really excited at what they’re seeing.”