TEN Cast Interview: Susannah Plaster

And now it’s time for the final – the TENth! – cast interview for TEN. Last but certainly not least, meet Susannah Plaster, who will be playing a doctor. A South Carolina native, Susannah studied viola performance in college in Greensboro, North Carolina and moved to Boston for graduate school. Since then, she has worked in arts administration and fundraising, and she currently works at Citizen Schools, an education reform non-profit. Read on to learn about how she used to force friends to act out Clue books with her, how she’s afraid about staying in the TEN house, how she likes vulnerable pigs, and more.

Photos by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

What’s your acting background? I don’t really have an acting background. In like fourth grade during recess, I read these pick-your-own-ending Clue books, and instead of just reading them like a normal kid, I rounded up my group of friends and made them all act out the books with me every recess. I’d bring a new book every week, and I was always Miss Scarlet. I also did some school plays, like “Willie Wildcat and the…” somethings. I don’t know. Everyone was an animal, and there was a ringmaster and marching band people. I was a marching band person. And when I was in sixth grade, my friends and I found a friend’s dad’s video camera. He was the chorus teacher at our school, so he had a video camera to tape all of the performances that the chorus did. We found it and took it, and during this period, Real World was very popular, so we created our own Real World scenario reality show and then forgot that we left it on his video camera. He went to show his chorus class (which we were all in) the last performance so that we could critique what had happened. He pressed play, and all of a sudden it was us doing our faux Real World reality show thing, and he was very confused. And we were very embarrassed. But growing up, I did more music stuff than acting.

[Sophia: Did you tape over the choral thing?]

Yes. I feel like we were rollerskating in it too.

And you’ve done a couple acting projects more recently, right? Recently I did a project as part of the 48-Hour Film Fest…with some people in this very room! It was a musical movie. I was a spy, and I got attacked and hit over the head while I was looking at a painting. When I woke up, I couldn’t talk. I sung instead of talking.

Sounds like the best movie ever. Yeah, it was the best movie ever made in 48 hours by people that I know…by us. So that was the most recent. I also played a scary possessed violinist once in a movie. A silent film. So one was silent, and the other one was singing. This is the only normal speaking movie that I’ve ever been in.

What got you interested in TEN? There was a really interesting Kickstarter that I saw…and a really cool trailer video. [Laughs.] I was intrigued. I just wanted to get involved.

What do you anticipate will be the biggest challenge of this project for you? I think the biggest challenge will be the way we’ll probably have to record a lot of the stuff out of order. Everything else I’ve done up until now has been chronologically recorded or performed, so it will be a challenge to just jump in and start lines and scenes from nothing. Another thing I’m really worried about is being afraid at the house. I’m legitimately kind of concerned.

[Sophia laughs evilly in the background.]

I mean, it is haunted by Phil the ghost, we’ve been told. Yeah, and there’s a coat of armor…

There are several!

[Michael: And there’s a butcher ghost who was the cook on the pirate ship that sank nearby.]

Oh yeah. I’ve heard about that. And we’re actually physically on an island, which is kind of disconcerting.

Yeah, we’re taking a ferry over. [We’re not. The interviewer enjoys messing with Susannah.]

[Michael: We’re not taking a ferry.]

Well, there’s a bridge – a small bridge, right?

[Michael: Well, yeah, but it’s not really…]

[Sophia: You don’t notice it.]

I’ll notice.

[Michael: It’s not really an island.]

I’m still scared. I guess it will help that we possibly might be doing stuff at night and then sleeping during the day. But I’m still scared.

There won’t be time to be scared. Except that your room is in the basement…near the dollhouse. Nooooooo!

[Sophia: The basement is legitimately creepy.]

I’m scared already.

What are you most looking forward to? Other than having a week off of work, which is kind of awesome, I’m looking forward to being on location in an area with a bunch of people whom I haven’t met yet, and hanging out, and making something really cool. And I’m excited to eat Sophia’s cooking and be healthy. I feel like after the week I’ll be a lot healthier than when I left because I won’t be eating meat and stuff, so I’m looking forward to feeling rejuvenated. And exhausted.

How are you preparing for your role? [Juicy answer redacted in order to not provide spoilers.] I’m practicing an accent; I’ve never done an accent in front of others before. And practicing memorizing all my lines. And I’m attempting to eat healthy and exercise and stuff, but that hasn’t been going so well.

What has been your favorite performance moment ever? I played viola for a long time in a classical setting and stopped doing that a little while after I moved to Boston, and I think some of my favorite moments were after I stopped. I realized that people found it cool to have strings in their rock bands. Just having the opportunity to play in a different setting for the first time was really awesome.

What has been your most challenging moment performing? When I was an undergrad, I did a lot of recitals where I had to memorize all the music and play with an accompanist too. It’s hard if you’re trying to play something from memory and someone else is trying to follow you; if you skip a section or repeat something, then they don’t know what to do either.

What’s your favorite pig from literature or history? Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web, but the cartoon version that came out when I was probably seven. That pig in particular.

Why that specific Wilbur? I like the way he’s drawn, and I like his accent, the way he talks. And he’s very vulnerable. I like that in a pig, I guess. [Laughs.]

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