Megan Tusing is an actor based in New York City. Some NY theater credits include The Salty Part of the Animal (Sam French OOB Finalist), As It Is in Heaven (Cherry Lane), Wolves (59E59). She is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, where she has appeared in several productions including Mope, 52nd to Bowery, Year of the Rooster, Carry the Zero, Airborne, Princes of Waco and many more. Some television credits include Person of Interest, Blue Bloods, Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order: CI. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theater from James Madison University and is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA. For more information visit www.megantusing.com
WATG: Like fellow cast mate Bryan, this is your first time working with the WATG team, right? How did you get involved with this lively bunch of misfits?
Megan: Yes, this is my first WATG show! I got a call from our lovely director, Abigail Zealey Bess, in the Spring asking if I’d like to audition for the show. Abby and I met each other through Ensemble Studio Theatre many moons ago and anytime she calls with a project I automatically say yes. It’s always an adventure working with her and she never disappoints. This show has been no different. It’s been such a fun and wild experience and I’m so grateful to have her at the helm of our ship.
WATG: You currently hang your hat in Brooklyn, but you’re originally from West Virginia. What made this small town girl decide to move to the Big Apple?
Megan: I guess I’ve always had a bit of wanderlust. I’m a Navy Brat so I traveled a lot when I was younger. My dad retired when I was nine and we moved to WV to be closer to family. I got bitten by the acting bug in high school and then went to James Madison University to study theater. Two weeks after graduating, I hopped onto the China Town bus with only a small duffel bag in hand and arrived in NYC. I felt instantly at home and have been there for 10+ years now.
I’ll always be grateful to have grown up in a small town though. People there take care of each other in a way I’ve never experienced elsewhere. It gave me a solid foundation and a strong sense of self so that I didn’t get lost in the hustle and bustle of the big city lights. New York City can swallow you whole if you’re not careful. My WV roots have kept me grounded when I needed it most. I’ll always be a country girl at heart.
WATG: You’re a bit of a craft nerd, so we hear. Mostly a yarn enthusiast, with a focus on knitting and crocheting. Where did you pick that up? Have you found any fun Scottish Wool yet?
Megan: I LOVE all things crafts! My grandmother taught my sister and me how to crochet and cross stitch when we were kids. Then I taught myself to knit. I find it so calming and a great outlet for me creatively. I also love being part of knitting groups and searching for them when I travel. It’s a great way to meet and connect with new people. Actually, one of the first things I did when we got to Edinburgh was sniff out the local yarn shops. Ginger Twist is a MUST see if you’re ever here. I love learning about the local yarns and talking to the shop keepers. It centers me immediately when I travel and makes me feel like I’m at home.
WATG: In addition to being on the stage and screen you are also an audiobook narrator, right? Do you find there is a big difference between performing on stage/screen vs being in front of the microphone? What’s your favorite part about being a narrator?
Megan: Yes, I am! In fact, I just finished recording my 50th audiobook. I think the biggest difference between being in the booth vs on stage/screen is body language. When you are no longer able to use your body as an instrument of communication you have to find other ways to get your message across to the audience. You have to think outside the box. I play with different vocal registers and tension placement. I also started paying attention to people’s conversations around me and making mental notes of good character voices. And my favorite part? That’s a tough one to narrow down. I guess I’d say the intimacy of the whole process. I’m an introvert, so I love snuggling up with a good book and just telling a story to a single listener in my cozy little booth.
WATG: You mentioned Ensemble Studio Theatre earlier. EST focuses on providing a home for playwrights to discover their voice and developing new plays, so you’re familiar with the process of having the playwright in the rehearsal room. What’s it been like to collaborate with Mandi on “Leviticus” ?
Megan: I love having the playwright in the room and being part of the early development of a play. You get to learn about the writer’s inspirations, influences and how your character came to be. With “Leviticus” it’s been great to learn about Mandi’s writing style and the way these characters came about. She’s a wonderful and fearless story teller. It’s also been fun to watch how the play has changed since the first day of rehearsal. Being part of this kind of collaboration is so rewarding for me as an actor and I’m very grateful to get to work with such a talented group of artists.
WATG: In “Leviticus” you play Stacia, a character who is all about keeping up appearances. Entering this chaotic world where things are not what they seem really throws Stacia off her script. Has it been challenging to balance between Stacia’s Jekyll and Hyde tendencies?
Megan: Stacia is really fun to play. She’s vulnerable and naïve at times, but also has a fiery underbelly. I think in a way, her ignorance is a defense mechanism. She’s afraid of who she really is, so instead of owning and accepting herself she wears different masks in order to fit in. When she meets Robert she finally feels like she cracked the code and has a perfect script everyone will approve of , including Jesus. As the play progresses her carefully laid foundation starts to crumble. It’s very unnerving when you lose your bearings suddenly like that and don’t know who you are anymore. Anything could happen. It’s been a fun to find those moments in the play when she drops the mask, but then quickly recovers.
WATG: Are there any traits that you and Stacia share? How have they helped you to connect with the character?
Megan: I can relate to Stacia’s need for stability and control. She likes things to be just so in order for her to feel safe and secure. I’m very similar and have a hard time when my plans go awry. However, like Stacia, I’ve also found not allowing for flexibility in my life can have negative impact. Sometimes it’s important to just give yourself permission to be spontaneous. You often learn a lot about yourself this way. When Stacia stops trying to hold everything together, she experiences a kind of freedom that she’s never had before and despite the consequences probably is more herself than ever before.
WATG: What’s next on the agenda once you get back to NY? Any fun projects we should look out for?
Megan: I’ll be hopping back into the booth when I return to record a few new audiobooks. I can’t share the details just yet, so be sure to keep an eye on my social media accounts for updates.
However, I can share the exciting news that “Juror #3” by James Patterson and Nancy Allen, which I recorded for Hachette Audio, will be released on September 10th on Audible (https://www.audible.com/pd/Mysteries-Thrillers/Juror-3-Audiobook/1478974524).
Where can people keep up with your latest news online?
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter - @megantusing
Come see “Leviticus” in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival from Aug 3-27 at 12pm (except for Tuesdays). Buy tickets here: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/leviticus
Keep up with Where Are They Going Theatre Company on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @watgnyc