Company Profiles: Mary Werntz
This is the ninth in a series of posts profiling our company members — get to know the Synetic family of actors. I sent a few questions out to some company members, and their responses, as well as some info on the actor, can be found in this series. Enjoy!
Mary Werntz has been a company member of Synetic since 2008. She has performed in the ensemble in Carmen, Dante, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as Lucy in Dracula, and as Octavia in our current production, Antony and Cleopatra.
Where are you from? What is your background? I grew up in Akron Ohio doing gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics as a kid. I also took acting classes because my mom was always taking me to the theater and I was mesmerized by that world. But I was very shy (still am, minus the very), so the acting classes were quite challenging, though I did enjoy them. I did one summer of classical ballet, but found it to be boring (shame on me) and opted for tap and jazz throughout high school. I never thought I would study dance further until I discovered the art form of concert dance in college. I was hooked. I spent all my time reading everything I could about it, going to concerts and changed my major and enrolled in a school that was ballet based so that I could get the foundation of that classical training. Back to ballet I went and with enthusiasm this time around! That training allowed for me to have a varied career as a dancer – doing operas, musical theater, working on cruise ships, and traveling the world with the USO. But I most enjoyed modern dance, especially the collaborative creative process, and bringing an emotional life to movement. I lived in NYC and performed with a physical theater company there. I figured I would forget about all of that when I moved to Maryland with my husband a few years back. That all changed when I auditioned for Synetic in March of 2008. Finding this company felt like finding a long lost family. It is a perfect blend of all the things I love. I’m very happy here.
How is Synetic different from other experiences? It is rare to find a company that works in this manner – training its actors and building an ensemble. Even after 2 years, I still feel I am only skimming the surface of all there is to learn. The physical nature of the work and the focus on the musical element are both very gratifying aspects for me. I almost always approach acting by finding the emotional connection rather than a through a cerebral analysis. Paata will often direct us to listen to the music and allow it to dictate our actions and the qualities of a scene and there’s no way that will work if you think too much about it. And I really love the ensemble work. It can be very meditative – to tune into the group and move together as one.
Do you have a favorite role/show? It is very difficult to choose a favorite, but I pick “Carmen”. It was my first show, the cast was wonderful and I loved all the dancing.
Do you have any crazy stories from rehearsals or shows? No stories to share, instead I offer the following tally. In Synetic shows, I have: given birth twice (Dante-to a demon child, MSND-to Puck), been bitten to death twice (Dante – Ugolino, Dracula-Dracula), been shot in the head three times -once at my own hand (Dante). And the sex – on a cage (Carmen), an orgy (Dante), ending in death (Dracula). Phew. Is this stuff legal?