Kittson O'Neill

Kittson O'Neill

Emi Branes-Huff

Emi Branes-Huff

Emi & Griffin Stanton-Ameisen (by Kate Raines/Plate 3) 

Emi & Griffin Stanton-Ameisen
(by Kate Raines/Plate 3) 

Emi & Bi Jean Ngo at first rehearsal

Emi & Bi Jean Ngo at first rehearsal

Emi & Greg Wood (by Kate Raines)

Emi & Greg Wood
(by Kate Raines)

KITTSON O’NEILL
InterAct Artistic Associate/Dramaturg for
THE NETHER, sits down with
EMI BRANES-HUFF who plays IRIS in our production of THE NETHER

KITTSON: I sat down to talk with the delightful Emi Branes-Huff. Emi is currently playing Iris in our controversial production of THE NETHER by Jennifer Haley. In the play Emi is asked to play the innocence of a nine-year-old girl, but also talk about big big ideas, some of which are very scary. I talked with her about the play and also what her life is like as a young professional.

KITTSON: How old are you? Where do you go to school?

EMI: I’m thirteen and I go to Strath Haven Middle School, Wallingford Swathmore School District. I’m in 8th Grade.

KITTSON: Is this the first time you are getting paid to perform? How does it feel?

EMI: It’s pretty cool! Me and my brother are both theater people and he did an opera for which he got paid-- he got $75 dollars -- and he was really excited, 'cause that was his first show. And then I was like Luke, guess how much I’m making….

It’s not that I didn’t understand anything. I understood it but like... I mean, there are creepy themes...

KITTSON: Has this process been different than rehearsal for other shows?

EMI: Yes. Mainly because this rehearsal process was so short and I’ve never done a play with this many performances. The most I’ve done for a show is 9 or 10.

KITTSON: What do you like the most about performing Iris?

EMI: I enjoy playing young people. This is actually the second nine-year-old I’ve played this year.

KITTSON: You’re starting high school next year. You have a lot going on in your life-- is that what you like about playing a nine year old?

EMI: Younger characters-- most younger characters in plays are either really innocent and if they’re not really innocent, they’re really funny. 

KITTSON: Iris is innocent and really not innocent. So, there’s some really scary stuff in this play. How did your parents talk to you about it when you were thinking about doing the show?

EMI: Well, [Seth] told us that there was this play and there were 22 performances and that it would be a great experience. And we were like okay we’re interested. What’s it about? And Seth said there are very mature themes, but I’ll send you a script so you can look at it and we looked at it, me and my parents, and we had, like a long conversation about it, cause- It’s not that I didn’t understand anything. I understood it but like.... I mean, there are creepy themes, but other than, like… lifting up her dress… Iris doesn’t do any of those creepy things…. I wouldn’t really want to play Sims or Papa in this play.

KITTSON: So, what were some of your favorite past roles?

EMI: Last year my school play was SHRECK and I was Donkey. That is by far my favorite. I enjoy playing comedic roles. [Comedy] comes easy to me. It feels cool to make people laugh.
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THE NETHER runs through April 17, 2016