Updated: Feb 22


Q: Hello there! Tell us a little about yourself!


My name is Kelly Wasser, my pronouns are the She series, and I earned my BFA in Theatre Performance at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, as well as a minor in Film Studies. I’ve performed in a few shows with Westminster, my first role being in Ah, Wilderness! as Norah, and the radio play adaptation of Gaslight as Elizabeth to name a few.

Q: Have you done any other shows with us at AOTC? If so, what show(s)?


This is my very first show with AOTC and it has been an incredible experience.


Q: What drew you to The Fossil Record? Why did you want to be involved in this production?

I think what drew me to this show was the fact that Liz Whittaker, who was the guest director of Gaslight, told me she works with AOTC and thought I should look into what auditions they’re holding. After I read the audition post I thought to myself, “What the heck, let’s go for it.” It was a last minute decision because I was unsure of myself, but I thought that if I want to get acting experience, I have to audition, audition, and audition, otherwise, you won’t gain any experience. I wanted to be a part of this production because the script was very dark and complex which was very different from the few shows I did at Westminster.

Q: Tell us a little about your character! Who are they? What was your first impression of them after reading the script?


My character’s name is Kim, she’s the youngest daughter of Margaret, youngest sibling of Laurie, and she has a teenage son, Andrew. She’s also married to a man named Ryan, but I won’t give too many details away. When I first read the script, I was drawn to Kim because of how different she was from the other characters I’ve played and how complex of a mother figure she is and I’ve never played someone like that and welcomed the challenge. I felt I could relate to her in some ways, the main similarity in becoming somebody that you’re not, wanting to be “perfect” all the time for other people.

Q: What three words would your character use to describe themselves?


Three words Kim would use to describe herself would be stubborn, conflicted and caring.

Q: How have you approached your character and their role within this story? What insights have you gained about your character through your acting process?


I approached Kim more by instinct than by analysis. I learned from Kim that she just wants what’s best for her son no matter how difficult the stakes are, but the way she’s going about it with her family comes off as if she’s disappointed or upset with them even though she’s not. She just wants what’s best for everyone.

Q: What has been the biggest challenge in taking on this role? The biggest reward?


One of the biggest challenges I faced was reaching the emotional stakes within certain situations because I had a hard time staying in a moment where everything was so intense that when I reached those stakes I felt uncomfortable because I wasn’t used to feeling all these intense feelings at once. Another big challenge I faced was trying to relate to Kim with personal experiences that I’ve never experienced before. With both of these challenges I found the biggest reward was trusting my work that I put into Kim and sticking with it throughout the entire process. I’ve always had a hard time trusting my work, but throughout the process it felt amazing to be surrounded by a group of people who want to see you succeed and put everything you have into a character and trust that you’ve done everything you can to bring the character to life.

Q: What do you hope audiences will take away from this show?

What I hope audiences take away from this show is that family is and will always be complicated, but you have to try to come together and help each other out even though you might drive each other crazy. And that you’re willing to fight for one another. It’s also important to know that it’s okay to step away from family problems, re-evaluate the problem and come back to them later.


Q: What's your favorite line (*no spoilers*)?

“I don’t think we’ve laughed together in *insert British dialect* all of history.”


CONTENT WARNING: “The Fossil Record” contains themes and depictions that some viewers may find distressing. Visit our ticketing page to see full disclosures.


THE FOSSIL RECORD is a limited streamed production. Performances are Feb 4th through Feb 27th (four weekends) with streaming being available Thursdays-Sundays. All performance links are accessible from 6pm - Midnight for each performance. You can find your tickets here.



Q: Hello there! Tell us a little bit about yourself!


My name is Liz Whittaker (she/her/hers). I’m an actress, intimacy director, sound designer, director, and teaching artist.


Q: Have you done any other shows with us at AOTC? If so, what show(s)?

I played Norma in Perfect Arrangement, directed and sound designed Safe, assistant directed and sound designed The Moors, and sound designed Angels in America, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, and The Rapture Happens at Midnight.


Q: What drew you to The Fossil Record? Why did you want to be involved in this production?


I was really fascinated by the premise. Because it’s such an unusual (and devastating) circumstance, this little family of flawed individuals has to navigate their trauma essentially on their own. (Which is what it often feels like to navigate any trauma.) There’s no “correct” way to deal with something like what this family experiences, and I was really interested in exploring the different ways each character does their best.


Q: Tell us a little about your character! Who are they? What was your first impression of them after reading the script?


I play Laurie, and she is an Oldest Daughter—she feels responsible for everyone, and feels guilt about the times she failed at taking care of everyone. (Think Luisa from Encanto.) Laurie’s pain growing up has made her a little bit prickly sometimes, and she doesn’t have the greatest self-esteem, but by god, she is doing her best. She had to grow up fast, and it wasn’t fair, but she’s resilient as hell. I loved Laurie's assertiveness and vulnerability the first time I read the script.


Q: What three words would your character use to describe themselves?


The words Laurie ACTUALLY uses to describe herself aren’t very loving…she calls herself an asshole, “exhausting,” and someone who brings poison to the surface. But I think she would also call herself responsible, organized, and tough.

Q: How have you approached your character and their role within this story? What insights have you gained about your character through your acting process?

Acting is always a fine line between bringing yourself to the role and putting on the personality of someone else. I’ve tried to notice when I’m judging the character and why, and to approach Laurie with compassion. I think the biggest thing I learned about Laurie is how good she actually is at connection with other people. She’s often bantering and deflecting, but when it comes down to it, she’s able to be very honest and direct, and connect with the people she cares about.


Q: What has been the biggest challenge in taking on this role? The biggest reward?


As an Oldest Daughter in my own family, I recognized some of the pressures that Laurie feels. While my family has never gone through anything remotely like what Laurie’s family does, I connect with Laurie’s need to be overly responsible and to take care of everyone. I’ve worked hard to make sure I’m keeping myself as an actress in a healthy space as I approach this role—doing lots of warmups and closures and de-role-ing practices, while still allowing my personal experiences to inform my performance. The biggest reward has been to see the growth of the cast as a whole. I've learned so much more about Laurie from what others bring to the script. Everyone is so incredibly talented and dedicated, and everyone's work strengthens the group as a whole. We’ve essentially put together this show in about three weeks, and there have been times when it’s felt like the production is hanging by a thread (#pandemictheatre). I feel really proud of the story we’re telling.


Q: What do you hope audiences take away from this show?


I hope audiences see that there’s no script for dealing with trauma, big or small. We are all just doing the best we can with what we have, and we all deserve compassion. That also includes compassion for ourselves.


Q: What's your favorite line (*no spoilers*)?

“The damage is done?” “I guess so. But okay.”


CONTENT WARNING: “The Fossil Record” contains themes and depictions that some viewers may find distressing. Visit our ticketing page to see full disclosures.


THE FOSSIL RECORD is a limited streamed production. Performances are Feb 4th through Feb 27th (four weekends) with streaming being available Thursdays-Sundays. All performance links are accessible from 6pm - Midnight for each performance. You can find your tickets here.


Chelsea Hickman

Literary Manager

An Other Theatre Company

Updated: Feb 7

Hello Dear Reader!


Excitement is buzzing here at AOTC as we grow closer and closer to opening night for The Fossil Record! Lisa Hall, playwright and director for Fossil Record, shared a few of her thoughts and experiences while working on this piece. You can read her interview below.


First, a brief synopsis of The Fossil Record:


After a long absence, Laurie returns home to take care of her ailing mother, Margaret. The tenuous balance is shattered when Laurie makes a grisly discovery in the home: the hidden, long-dead remains of three infants. Laurie must decide when (or whether) she should call the police or confront her mother, and how a history of substance abuse and abandonment might explain the horrifying discovery. In a moment of reckoning Margaret claims the infants were stillborn, and they must tell the authorities. In the end, the truth of the infants is revealed to those who have remained through the destruction.


Q: Hello there! Tell us a little about yourself!


A: My name is Lisa Hall (she/her) and I am a professor/writer/director, currently an Associate Professor of Theatre at UVU and freelance director and writer. I have a BA in Drama Performance from San Francisco State University, an MA in Creative Writing/Playwriting from Boston University, and a PhD in Theatre History and Criticism from the University of Colorado, Boulder.


Q: What projects are you currently working on?


A: In terms of directing, just Fossil Record. I have a new musical in development along with the incomparable composer Alec Powell, as well as a book about immersive theatre set to publish late in 2022.


Q: What kinds of stories are you drawn to?


A: I think the common denominator is that I am drawn to stories of dynamic humans facing complex conflicts.


Q: What playwrights (and/or other theatre practitioners) have inspired you? What influence have they had on your work?


A: So, so many. I watch the work of my local colleagues and am a bit of a magpie; I collect inspiration from all of them and from so many professional artists. I read plays all the time and find little bits of interest through all of them.


Q: What inspired The Fossil Record?


A: This play has a pretty clear origin story. I read a news article about a woman in England named Bernadette Quirk. I was fascinated by her story and wrote the play loosely based on this idea: what would the family do when finding out devastating information/ How would they navigate something so complex?


Q: How did The Fossil Record come to be?


A: I wrote this play several years ago, and the idea had germinated for quite some time before that. I developed the characters first through using the 8-sequence story structure, then by doing readings and taking the feedback of the actors and audience.


Q: What were some key challenges you faced when writing The Fossil Record? What was a surprising discovery?


A: I think the key challenge for any writer on any project is have the persistence to keep writing despite having doubts, or not loving everything on the page. This play surprised me a number of times in where the characters went or who they specifically are. That has become even more clear in the rehearsal room. I feel like I get to know that characters more every time we rehearse.


Q: What's it like directing your own play?


A: If the play had been any less developed I don't think I would have been able to direct it. Because it had gone through several readings, I was able to approach it more as a director (although I could change small issues when we came across them).


Q: How have you approached Fossil Record as a director vs. a playwright?


A: Truly I have had to set aside my thoughts as a writer and approach the scripts as I would a director of any other piece. the only difference, as I mentioned, is my ability to change small dialogue issues here and there!


Q: Did your vision for The Fossil Record remain the same from page to stage? Evolve? Change?


A: My vision has evolved constantly, which I think is necessary once you involve more than just the writer and the page. I continue to be inspired by the performers and the creative team, and I feel the play has become much more specific and moving.


Q: Ultimately, what do you hope audiences will take away from The Fossil Record?


A: I hope they feel a sense of compassion for the characters, and I hope they are able to go on the journey with the characters as they move through grief, humor, and absolution.


CONTENT WARNING: “The Fossil Record” contains themes and depictions that some viewers may find distressing. Visit our ticketing page to see full disclosures.


FOSSIL RECORD will be a limited streamed production. Performances are Feb 4th through Feb 27th (four weekends) with streaming being available Thursdays-Sundays. All performance links are accessible from 6pm - Midnight for each performance. You can find tickets here.


Chelsea Hickman

Literary Manager

An Other Theatre Company