Amanda Langberg Hermansen
For me, crafting a play starts with the urge to explore a subject that equally fascinates and confuses me
Amanda is a Danish born actor, director and writer. She attended the MFA program at The Actors Studio Drama School i New York City. She is currently working on her play Matronym, which premieres November 23rd at Teater FÅR302 Copenhagen.
5 adjectives that best describe you and where you are in your life right now
Curious - Vulnerable - Yearning - Ambitious - Fast-paced!
ASIS // Why did you move to NYC in the first place?
AMANDA // I first moved to NYC to intern at a film production company and absolutely love it there. Since then I’ve been back and forth between Copenhagen and NYC. Most recently because got accepted into the 3-year Master of Fine Arts program in Acting at the Actors Studio Drama School.
ASIS // What is the process like when writing a play. Where do you find inspiration for both the course of action and your characters?
AMANDA // For me, crafting a play starts with the urge to explore a subject that equally fascinates and confuses me. Often in relation to a character I want to see come to life. From here I take my acting craft into my writing process; I work with improvisation. Either I’ll improvise an idea on my own or I’ll get actors into a rehearsal room, give them an outline of a scene and what each their objectives should be and I let them improvise to see what happens. Sometimes this leads to specific elements I incorporate into my story and sometimes it’s nothing but an experiment, to understand the characters better. But one thing is for sure, it always leads to something that I wouldn’t have been able to create by just sitting down and trying to write the story on my computer. Something magical happens when the characters become three dimensional which makes my imagination come to life.
ASIS // In your current play Matronym, which is playing in November at Teater FÅR302 in Copenhagen. Do you have a favorite character?
AMANDA // The play is about three sisters, creating a ritual for their female ancestors. More than liking one character, I like the dynamic between all three of them. Exploring the personality of each character is fascinating but exploring the sisters’ relationships and how they treat each other differently based on their upbringing has been such a rewarding and eyeopening challenge.
ASIS // What does design and esthetic mean to you and what role (if any) do they play in your every day?
AMANDA // Design and esthetic play a big part of my life, especially when it comes to clothing; I’ve always used clothing to express myself. I love the fun of dressing up and when I create a character their personal style is something I focus deeply on and play with. When it come to interior design, it has played a big part in making me feel at home when I’ve been in new place. I’ve moved around a lot in my adult life (I’ve also lived in Milan and London) but bringing small items that are pleasing to my personal esthetic, such as a few artworks, has helped me feel instantly more at home when everything is new.
ASIS // How do you plan the scenography of your plays? Do you have any visual tools, tips and tricks that you always use?
AMANDA // In general I work with realism, so I try to create spaces that express what they are; If the play takes place in a livingroom, I want the audience the be able to detect that immediately and also to detect what kind of characters might be inhabiting it. That being said, with theatre we have the unique possibility to invite the audience into a world that is unlike anything else, that doesn’t have to reflect reality at all. In Matronym, I work with the duality between realism and abstract space, so I’ve brought abstract elements and different media into my scenography to shift away from the realism at times. A large part of the scenography in Matronym is created by animated videos projected on stage, made by graphic designer, Osvald Landmark.
ASIS // Has it been difficult to live far away from your close family?
AMANDA // In a way it’s a blessing and a curse. When I’ve been away for a long time I miss that everyday kind of relationship, where you know what’s going on in everyones day to day life. But on the other hand it has given me so many memorable days when my family or friends have been visiting and I get to hang out with them non-stop for days in a row and experience a different kind of closeness.
ASIS // What does the perfect day in NY look like? Any tips to favourite areas, the best coffee place, brunch or bar?
AMANDA // I really love a New York Saturday; especially in the fall, when it's still warm out and you just spend the day walking everywhere. A perfect day would be; visiting an exhibition during the day, then strolling to different vintage and thrift stores, grabbing drinks and then catching a play in the evening, followed by a late night dinner.
I love the Bushwick/Ridgewood area. Rolo’s does amazing dinner or Ops if you’re in the mood for pizza, Cherry On Top or Sundown for drinks and dancing at Nowadays. And the Lower East Side, Dimes Sq area is also always fun for going out!
I do also love the more “old” New York on the Upper East Side; having a dirty martini at Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle Hotel or a gorgeous piece of cake at Café Sabarsky.
ASIS // What is the dream?
AMANDA // The dream is to expand what I’m doing even more, I want to continue both directing and writing along with acting. Wether it’s acting, writing or directing, I’m passionate about collaborating with other artists, so the dream is definitely be to work with some of the artists I admire the most.
black and white photos: Emma Silke