Meet the Artist: Maria Wolf
Our series dedicated to meeting the artists and collaborators of Mother/Daughter, continues with EBP founder Lauren Leonard (LL) interviewing actor Maria Wolf (MW).
The stage is Maria Wolf's first love. Most recently, she had a leading role in a new play, titled An Incident at Peniel, which had a short run in New York City. Favorite roles include Madame Irma (The Balcony), Lotte Schoen (Lettuce & Lovage)., and Vita (Vita & Virginia). Maria has had leading roles in TV crime episodics Grave Secrets, Evil Lives Here and Deadliest Decade airing on Investigation Discovery.
LL: When did you decide to become an actor? What was the path that led you there?
MW: I became an actress later in life... although I’m still just 29! On the heels of a failed adoption and years of infertility treatments, I knew I needed do something with my life. So I tried community theater and realized that I liked it enough to want to study and learn. I started out at the Wilma’s acting school and began to understudy at all the major theaters in Philly to get my Equity card. I felt proud to have earned points (you can get it either by earning points or landing an Equity contract) to get my card. Due to the lack of opportunity here, I started commuting to New York. I’ve studied at perhaps a half dozen studios and theaters in Manhattan. It took me about a year to build the confidence to start auditioning, but I did and started to get cast in shows, workshops, readings, TV and short films.
LL: Choose your favorite and explain why you chose it: film, TV, theatre.
MW: There’s nothing like theater; all your senses are ignited at once. You’re thinking, you’re speaking, you’re listening, you’re moving, you’re feeling... And it all happens simultaneously. There are no retakes. It’s terrifying and thrilling, challenging and joyful, all at once.
LL: Is there are particular role or type that you’d most like to play?
MW: I typically get cast in roles of strong women who have a point of view about themselves and the world in which they live. I like playing those women, especially the ones who have a hidden heartache that keeps peeking through.
LL: What’s been your most challenging role? What made it so?
MW: I’d say Madame Irma in The Balcony by Jean Genet. It was my first big role in New York, and I was living away from home. I felt lonely, tired, and I was without friends. But I pushed through and it taught me that New York isn’t so scary after all.
LL: When faced with rejection, how do you recover and convince yourself to continue the pursuit?
MW: Ah, rejection! I always assume I’ll be rejected, but I’m always convinced I have a chance. Hope springs eternal. It has to. Otherwise, we’d give up pretty quickly. As actors, we can only control what we do in the audition room. I can give the best audition and still not get the role. That’s tough to take, but I have to give it my all, then leave it and walk away. If it comes back to me, I know it was meant for me. If it doesn’t, I move on. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary to maintain emotional health.
LL: Your resume is extensive; a lot of the work you do is based in New York. Why New York over Philly?
MW: New York is where the opportunities are for me. After years of working there, I have a wonderful community of artists. Creativity is everywhere - from actors and directors to filmmakers and playwrights - and we all share the same passion.
LL: I understand this is your third Fringe Festival, what drew you to Mother/Daughter?
MW: I always wanted to be a mother, but that wasn’t in the cards. I am though, daughter to a wonderful mother, so the show's main theme appealed to me. Coincidentally, I had come across an intriguing monologue about a woman searching for her mother, so the Mother/Daughter audition gave me an opportunity to learn something new, which I can now add to my repertoire.
LL: What other shows/Fringe experiences are you looking forward to having?
MW: I am looking forward to being one of the actors featured in the preview show on August 27 at the Fringe venue.
Mother/Daughter Sept 15 8pm & Sept 16, 2pm, Philly PACK (233 Federal)