eSchool Chat

6th Gradde Students of Tahnee Nowak

Loveland Elementary, Omaha, NE


Aaron from the Nebraska Theater Caravan's "Ice Wolf"


Students are using Tahnee Nowak's eSchool account. Stephen from "Ice Wolf" is using Tom Albertsen's. They are discusssing being an actor.


Welcome to eSchool!

Tahnee Nowak: Tom. Greetings from Loveland!

colette defrey: Hi, This is the Caravan. Is anybody there?

Tom Albertsen: Hello! This is Stephen Thompson From tHe Nebraska Theatre Caravan

Tahnee Nowak: Hi, we are here, we have plenty of time up here.

Tom Albertsen: Any questions for me?

Tahnee Nowak: Did you go through rough times to get where you are?

Tom Albertsen: Yes, I did. I had to go through undergraduate school and graduate school

Tom Albertsen: I took 6 years off betwenn undergrad and grad--it was tough to go back.

Tom Albertsen: I tried to find something else that would make me happy, but I ended up back in acting.

Tom Albertsen: I had a choice between having money and being miserable and being poor adn happy. I chose

poor and happy.

Tahnee Nowak: How do you get into character with your masks?

Tom Albertsen: We started ot by developing a physical life for the characters

Tahnee Nowak: What do you mean?

Tom Albertsen: We explored how our characters would move and that really helped develop our characters

Tom Albertsen: Well. we explored how our animals would move and that led us to discover what our characters

were like on the inside

Tahnee Nowak: How long did it take to memorize your lines?

Tom Albertsen: It took a coule of weeks. Remember we were rehearsing two other shows at the same time

Tahnee Nowak: Is acting your only job?

Tom Albertsen: Yes. It is my career, not just a hobby

Tahnee Nowak: Do you have to do other jobs to make ends meet?

Tom Albertsen: No. Right now this is my full time job. But When this job is over, I will have to find a "day job"

Tahnee Nowak: What is it like acting in front of a bunch of strangers? Does that trick where you picture

everyone in their underwear work?

Tom Albertsen: If you are really well-rehearsed, you really don't get nervous, because you kn ow what you are


Tahnee Nowak: How many plays have you been in and what one what one was your favorite?

Tom Albertsen: You have to view the aUdience not as an enemy, but as a partner--someone that you want to

communicate with

Tom Albertsen: I've tried the underwear trick, it didn't work for me

Tom Albertsen: I have been in about 60 plays

Tom Albertsen: My favorite role was as Louis in"Angels in America"

Tahnee Nowak: How do you act really as if you were the people.I have had many times where I was in a play

and I couldn't play the roll because I couldn't get into it enough. How do you play the character so well?

Tom Albertsen: You have to put yourself in the characters situation

Tahnee Nowak: Tell us more about your favorite play?

Tom Albertsen: You also try to find soemthing in your life that parallels the characxter's situation

Tom Albertsen: It is also important to remember that must create the character IN DETAIL.

Tom Albertsen: Just haveing it in your head will not work

Tom Albertsen: This is what I like most about acting-becoming other people and trying to understand them

Tahnee Nowak: This question is for Anatou- how long have you been acting?

Tahnee Nowak: If Anatou is not there, anyone can answer it.

Tom Albertsen: Anatou is not in room-but I have been acting since I was 14 and I am now 33, so I have been

acting for 19 years

Tahnee Nowak: Wow!

Tahnee Nowak: I am in some plays too.

Tahnee Nowak: How did you get started acting

Tahnee Nowak: Have you been in anything more than plays-movies, ect.

Steve Bross: Does anyone have a website they want to push so you can all look at something?

Tom Albertsen: My favorite play concerned relationships between many people in different points of their life

and how they learn to relate to each other. The AIDS crisis also looms large in this play

Tom Albertsen: I have been mostly in plays

Tahnee Nowak: Are you a singer, too?

Tom Albertsen: I started acting when I decided to take a drama class in 8th grade

Tom Albertsen: Yes, I am a singer, too

Tahnee Nowak: Do you ever sing in plays?

Tom Albertsen: Yes, I just performed in "Forever Plaid " at the Omaha Community playhouse

Tahnee Nowak: Fun!

Tom Albertsen: Yes it was a lot of fun

Tahnee Nowak: Do you ever stay in character after a rehearsal or performance?

Tom Albertsen: No. You leave all of that on the stage

Tahnee Nowak: What are your other hobbies?

Tom Albertsen: I love rollercoasters, computers and all types of gadgets

Tahnee Nowak: Why do you like acting?

Tom Albertsen: Because it allows me to communicate with people on a unique level

Tom Albertsen: It is also an art-just like being a painter or a sculptor\

Tahnee Nowak: How many times do you rehearse a week? How long are the rehearsals?

Tom Albertsen: We all got her last August and rehearsed 3 shows 8 hours a day, 6days a week for 5 weeks

Tahnee Nowak: Do you ever get tired of acting because it takes so much work?

Tom Albertsen: No, all the work makes the victories and performance opportunities that much more sweet

Tahnee Nowak: Do you become friends with the people you act with? Do you stay friends after the play is


Tom Albertsen: Yes, some of the people you make friends with. Just like any job, though, sometimes you

don't get along with everyone

Tom Albertsen: But you have to be professional and get your job done

Tahnee Nowak: Do you perform in more places then just Omaha?

Tom Albertsen: Yes. During our fall tour we went all over the state of Nebraska

Tom Albertsen: During Our Christmas Carol tour, we went all over the US

Tom Albertsen: When you are an actor, you have to go where the jobs take you

Tahnee Nowak: Do you have any time to be by your self?

Tom Albertsen: Yes, for me that is important

Tahnee Nowak: Do you ever get to spend some time with your family and friends?

Tom Albertsen: When you are around the same people for such a long period, everyone needs their space

Tom Albertsen: Yes, I try to see my family on all the major holidays

Tahnee Nowak: You are so busy with the plays it doesn't seem like you have much time?

Tom Albertsen: Well, we have a work day similar to other jobs when our day is over we go home, make

dinner,m watch TV, etc.

Tahnee Nowak: what time do you get up every morning to go practice?

Tom Albertsen: Well, we don't rehearse now, but for performances, we get up earl;y, sometimes as early as 5

in the morning

Tahnee Nowak: Do you get enough sleep?

Tahnee Nowak: Or are you always tired?

Tom Albertsen: I try to get emough sleep, Naps become very important

Tom Albertsen: Las night I slept for 10 hours to make up for the previous few days

Tahnee Nowak: Have you ever missed rehearsal/performance and gotten...Fired?

Tom Albertsen: No, never. Professionalism means never being late or missing a performance. If you did you

would be fired IMMEDIATELY

Tom Albertsen: We actually get fined for being only 5 minutes late

Tahnee Nowak: In the play Ice Wolf, why did you make it so obvious that you were changing costumes?

Tom Albertsen: It was a theatrical choice that lent to the style of the play

Tahnee Nowak: Who had the most lines to memorize?

Tom Albertsen: Anatou had the most lines, but Grant and Aaron had the most characters

Tahnee Nowak: How many people were in the play Ice Wolf? I noticed that one person played more one part

Tom Albertsen: There were six actors, but many more parts. So some actors had to play more thatn one part

Tahnee Nowak: Who were Grant and Aaron playing?

Tom Albertsen: Actually, everyone but Anatou played more than one part

Tahnee Nowak: Didn't Anatou play the wolf?

Tahnee Nowak: Or I guess she turned into the wolf.

Tom Albertsen: Grant played Kiviog, Shikikinaq,and the Fox. Aaron played the beaver, Karvik, and Tareto

Tom Albertsen: I am going to take a break, bu Colleen will be here to talk to you

Tahnee Nowak: Ok.

Tahnee Nowak: Hi, Anatou!

Tom Albertsen: Hi ! This is Colleen

Tahnee Nowak: What part did you play? Anatou?

Tom Albertsen: you got it1

Tahnee Nowak: How long did you practice your lines?

Tahnee Nowak: I heard that you had the most.

Tom Albertsen: we reheares for five weeks all three of the plays we did - I probably had my lines down for Ice

Wolf within two weeks or so.

Tahnee Nowak: How did you feel about being the only woman in Ice Wolf?

Tom Albertsen: It was fine. I have four brothers, so I know how to handle boys!

Tahnee Nowak: Did playing Anatou make you realize anything about prejudice feelings?

Tom Albertsen: Oh yes. WHen you're an actor, you have to find things in your character that you can relate to

and I had a lot of realizations about my own life - both about how I've been mistreated and hoe I've hurt other

people's feelings.

Tahnee Nowak: Do have any similariiies with Anatou

Tom Albertsen: Yes. As a kid, I was the only kid in my whole family of seven kids with red hair & freckles, so

my brothers & sisters used to say i was adopted (not true) or call me "Freckle Face from Outer Space" - so I

sort of understand her pain, even though I was never blamed for causing famine!

Tahnee Nowak: How did you get in touch with your character, Anatou?

Tahnee Nowak: Was there ever a time that you felt like quitting Ice Wolf or any other play that you've ever

performed in?

Tom Albertsen: All of the emotions that she experiences are very real and straight forward. I understood

where she was coming from when I first read the script.

Tahnee Nowak: What do you like doing in your free time when you're not actign

Tom Albertsen: Sometimes you get very tired of doing the same things over & over again, but knowing that

what I'm doing is reaching people makes me want to keep doing it.

Tahnee Nowak: If you've missed a performance or rehearsal, do you get in trouble?

Tom Albertsen: When I'm not acting, I enjoy painting, listening to music, singing, dancing, going to movies.

Tom Albertsen: Ohhh YESSSS!

Tahnee Nowak: How many plays have you been in and what was your favorite?

Tom Albertsen: I've been in about 60 plays - my favorites were Pygmalion by Shaw and The Playboy of the

Western World by Synge

Tahnee Nowak: What were those about? Who did you play?

Tahnee Nowak:

Tahnee Nowak: When you got in trouble, what happened?

Tom Albertsen: Pygmalion is about an English phoentics expert (Henry Higgins) who turns a poor flower girl

(Eliza Doolittle) into a lady - I played Eliza Doolittle. Playboy of the Western World is about a young man in

Western Ireland who thinks he killed his father so he takes of & stumbles across this pub and falls in love

with a barmaid who has a real temper named Pegeen Mike - I played Pegeen Mike!

Tahnee Nowak: What happened when you got in trouble?

Tom Albertsen: Well. I've never actually missed a performance but I've seen other people get fired for not

showing up.

Tahnee Nowak: Is acting your only job?

Tom Albertsen: At the moment, yes. I'm going back to New York City in a week & I'll probably have to work as

a temp or wait tables while I audition for acting jobs

Tahnee Nowak: Do you get nervous when you act? Do you pretend everyone is in their underwear?

Tahnee Nowak: Are you going to audition for plays or movies? What plays?

Tom Albertsen: I've never used that trick, maybe I should ! Sometimes i get nerveous, but its usually a good

thing - it gives me performance energy and makes me focus.

Tom Albertsen: I'll go to almost any auditions that I can get into - T.V., movies, commercials. soaps....

Tahnee Nowak: How long have you been acting? When did you start?

Tom Albertsen: Oh -and. of course, theatre!

Tom Albertsen: I started when I was in second grade in a school play & then got cast as Annie in my

community theatre when I was 9. I've been acting ever since!

Tahnee Nowak: Do you sing in the plays as well as act? you probably had to inorder to be Annie!

Tom Albertsen: YEs, I've done a few musicals, but my main focus has been acting.

Tahnee Nowak: what musicals have you done?

Tom Albertsen: Bye Bye Birdie, Grease, Into the Woods, The Sound of Music & AChristmas Carol with the


Tahnee Nowak: We love those musicals! Especially GREASE. In fact, the high school just put on that


Tom Albertsen: Awesome! hey, I have to go now, but thank you you guys have been great! Take care!

Tahnee Nowak: Well, we have to go back to school now. Thanks for chatting with us! We really enjoyed and

appreciated it. I hope to see you on Broadway someday! Farewell!


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