The world of theatre moves fast, especially for Stephen Nickens ’15. Despite this being his first semester
here at UMW, Stephen has already appeared in three separate productions,
from The Miss Firecracker Contest, to a shadow cast of The Rocky Horror Picture Show,
and now as Hanschen in our production of Spring Awakening. Talk about dedication!
The Department of Theatre and Dance asked this tireless actor for an interview.
T&D: What is your major?
T&D: What’s your hometown?
Stephen: Berryville, Virginia.
Stephen: What is your main focus in theatre?
T&D: How did you first get involved with theatre?
Stephen: My first play I ever did was in sixth grade, and from then on, I’ve been in love with it.
T&D: What is your favorite show you’ve worked on at UMW?
Stephen: I’d have to say The Miss Firecracker contest. I loved doing Spring Awakening, I loved it, I still do love it, but [The Miss Firecracker Contest ] was the first time I really focused on building a character. The scenes I had with [fellow castmate Emily Burke] were my favorite, because they were the most real. That was the first time I really had to tap into real human emotion, and that was a big challenge for me, because I tend to downplay things. To find that sort of balance between holding yourself to that without blowing up at someone, while still getting your feelings across was a real challenge. It was a really great experience.
T&D: What are your plans after graduation?
Stephen: To pursue a career in acting, whether it be film or theatre. Preferably film.
T&D: What is your favorite word? Least favorite word?
Stephen: My least favorite word is moist. Ugh. That word makes me cringe. My favorite word? That’s a difficult one. Ostentatious. Don’t know why, I just like the way it sounds, and sort of what it means. Sort of means ridiculous. Over the top. I love it.
T&D: What is your favorite kind of candy?
Stephen: Reese’s peanut butter cups, particularly like the new minis, the bite-sized ones? I could eat a bag of those in a day. I could eat them in one sitting.
T&D: If you could work on any play or musical, which one would it be?
Stephen: I guess Angels In America, I’ve wanted to do that for a really long time. It has really resonated with me ever since I read it for the first time.
T&D: What’s a fact about you that most people wouldn’t expect?
Stephen: I absolutely adore children. People would not expect that about me, but I absolutely adore children, especially babies. I think they’re just the sweetest things, they make me happy. I sort of cry when I see baby clothes.
T&D: Who are some of your biggest professional influences?
Stephen: Meryl Streep. What she does is beyond acting. You get to see the world of another person through her. Any time I see her do something, it leaves me speechless.
T&D: What accomplishments or contributions would you like to be remembered for when you graduate?
Stephen: That in the short amount of time I’ve been here, something regarding my work has left an impact on underclassmen or even the faculty.
T&D: Do you have any interests outside of theatre?
Stephen: I don’t have time for other interests. I really just enjoy being with my friends, they mean a lot to me.
T&D: How was the experience of balancing three shows in one semester? Did you learn anything from the experience?
Stephen: Stay healthy. I have a cold right now, but that is the biggest thing. Don’t wear yourself thin. But I also learned what the real world is like when you’re trying to get your name out there. You try to do as many things at once without stretching yourself too thin.