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Actress Digs Into Her Character

As a method actor, Sarah Lee Michaels likes to get inside her characters and explore them. She is getting the opportunity to do just that as she prepares to perform in "Waiting for Philip Glass" at the Darien Library on Oct. 15 and 17.

"What attracted me to method acting versus traditional technique is that, with method acting, you're putting yourself into the role," said Michaels, who attended the North Carolina School of Arts and later trained at the Lee Strasburg Institute in New York City.

A "triple threat" as a singer, actor and dancer, Michaels says she is always working on her craft in a variety of ways. She sang the national anthem at ground zero this Sept. 11, an experience she called "moving."

"Philip Glass" was written by Wendy Wasserstein and is directed by Donna Wyant, a trained method actor herself. Wyant was looking for somebody who knows how to create reality.

"I found that in Sarah," she said. "What's special is that as gifted a person as she is, she's anxious and willing to share her gift."

The play is about a group of people at a dinner party, waiting for the guest of honor. The story deals with their examination of their lives and the realization of their own unhappiness. "It's a comedy, but there are so many underlying themes," said Michaels.

She was attracted to the play and the character of Holden after reading the script. " I thought it was extremely poignant," she said.

Michaels says her favorite part of the play experience has been work-shopping the characters, an exercise in which the actors have unscripted interactions with one another while in character. She says it helps to better understand the characters and their relationships. "It helps you create the character. It's like improv and scripted, meeting halfway," Michaels says.

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