By: Nick Sapienza
When I first met Erin Noble, I was amazed that she had any time at all to meet with me. A fourth-year actress in the senior acting company at SUNY Purchase, an RA for Fort Awesome, in addition to making and selling their own hand-crafted jewelry online, she struck me as a jack of all trades right off the bat. We sat down for coffee and chatted for a bit before the interview started. Noble had a warm and boisterous personality. The way she talked about actresses like Patti LuPone and Helen Mccrory with such admiration made me want to know more about Noble. I wanted to know how her time in the conservatory really shaped her as an actress.
How would you describe your four years in the acting conservatory?
Intense. Busy. Exhausting. Exhilarating. I learned a lot— I was just in auditions for next year’s freshman company because the seniors get to sit on that. They were like, “what have you learned in your past four years?” So a lot of it was learning about yourself and who you are as a human being and the importance of connecting your mind, body, and soul to acting and all of that quirky cheesy stuff. And about how…it’s so fucking cheesy but it’s so unfortunately true, that the importance of the journey versus the result. And being content and satisfied with what’s happening right now where you are instead of wanting to be at the end right from the start.
I’ve heard that there is a final showcase for the conservatory coming up, would care to tell me a little about that?
So, I am fourth-year in the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of theater arts. Fourth years always get a senior showcase that happens in New York City and then they fly us out L.A and we do our showcase there as well. And we’ve spent four years intensively training and acting, and this is our chance to show it off to casting directors, agents, managers, alumni, just be like, “Hey, we’re good actors, watch us act. And hopefully, after five minutes’ worth of acting a piece, you can tell whether you have a job for us or not.” This is intimidating because the most talented people in companies in the past have gone into showcase and for whatever reason, they have not gotten representation. They have not gotten meetings, they got nothing. Then the people who you think, you know, maybe won’t do as well happen to get an agent out of it.
That sounds scary, that means that this showcase is basically like a networking event then, right?
Yeah, everyone wants to do showcase because they want to get an agent out of it. Or that’s what we’ve been told, you wanna get an agent because you wanna get someone to represent you to get you bigger and better auditions. It’s a lot easier to have someone headhunting for you instead of you having to scroll through and search out all of the auditions. What I’m learning is the importance of impressing the casting directors, there are gonna be a bunch of them in the audience.
What you want though, is not just to get your foot in the door; but to get the job. So I feel impressing casting directors is far more important than impressing agents. It’s all about exposure to these people, like, “We’re a really, really good school. We turn out a really good product. Come see our new product. And then hopefully buy it.”
What is your line up in the senior showcase? How do you feel about it?
Everyone sings, but I get to be a part of a little featured quartet of sopranos singing the chorus of this big acapella number. Try doing a multi-part harmony entirely acapella number, based on a YouTube video of a really good acapella group. Without having the right lyrics and also not having sheet music, in addition having a group of people who aren’t exactly the most musical.
Then I have two scenes that I’m in, one is from “What We’re Up Against” by Theresa Rebeck. The other one is “Olizzia,” which is a new play by John Bavoso. In “What We’re Up Against,” my scene partner and I are two female architects and they are bumping heads after one of them throws my character under the bus during a meeting. There’s a whole thing about how there are a bunch of sexist men in the office and how she’s being sexist by being on the man’s side.
Then in Olizzia, is about two best friends wake up in the morning. One of them has no recollection of what happened last night, woke up in her friend’s bed not wearing any pants. And the hilarity that ensues from that and the possibility that they may or may not have had sex the night before.
Are there any challenges you face balancing being an RA and an actress?
We were scheduling our duty shifts for this semester. Those are the nights you are stationed in your building, you CANNOT leave your building, you have to carry around a phone and be prepared for anyone to call you at any point and be like, “Hey, help, the buildings’ on fire.” Hopefully not, Jesus, God I hope not. But yeah, you’re chained to the building for 24 hours at least. What I have had to do to simply fit in all of the duty shifts that I need to have this year, plus adjusting it around the showcase and other times when I don’t wanna be working. That happened three weekends in a row, and then as soon as I get back from showcase; that weekend I have double shift because I want it all done so it won’t get in the way of auditions at the end of the year.
What are the next steps after graduation?
My next steps after graduating Purchase? Well after the next two weeks, I will know if I have an agent. That will definitely affect things, but right now it’s finding a job, finding a place to live, and it’s going out on auditions. I’m going to stay here in New York unless some turn of events takes me somewhere else. Be it on tour or maybe to LA. I don’t know what’s happening after Purchase, I have a general arrow that points towards audition as much as possible. The results of that audition may lead me somewhere else. As of right now; I have a day job, apartment, and auditions. That’s my solid plan as rickety as that sounds. You wanna make a house out of three twigs? Because those are my three twigs.
The SUNY Purchase acting conservatory took place on Feb. 26 at the Humanities Theater. From then on, Erin Noble went on to act in The Theater Center in New York City. The Showcases concluded in Los Angeles on Monday, March 2 at the Garry Marshall Theatre.