068: Lost and found with the cast of IN A WORD

“When a couple’s child goes missing, words fail and sustain them through their search.” A conversation with a delightful trio of actors about acting, character development, and working with a script. The entire cast of the Bulldog Ensemble Theatre’s production of IN A WORD — Amber Wood, Matthew Hager, and Thaddaeus Edwards speak honestly about grief, parenting, loss, and compassion… and somehow manage to laugh joyfully throughout.

NOTE: Performance dates mentioned in the intro were incomplete. Performances are March 21-April 7 (not April 1).

IN A WORD By Lauren Yee

Directed by Jules Odendahl-James

Produced by Bulldog Theatre Ensemble

​March 21 – April 7​ at the Durham Fruit and Produce Company


Thaddaeus Edwards, Matthew Hager (photo by Curtis Scott Brown), Amber Wood


Amber Wood is an actor, theatre maker, and storylady previously from Durham, NC and currently based in Hamilton, Ontario. While living in the Triangle, she worked with Manbites Dog Theater, Haymaker, Urban Garden Performing Arts, and Deep Dish Theater Company, among others. In 2018, Amber formed Lightbulb Heart, a collaborative theatre company that celebrates empathy and encourages lifelong play. Current Lightbulb Heart projects include There’s An Easy-Bake Oven Where My Heart Should Be and Karaoke Visiting Hour.

Matthew Hager is an actor, musical theatre composer, and theatre educator based out of Raleigh, NC. He is a graduate of UNC School of the Arts (high school – drama) and UNC Chapel Hill (BA Dramatic Arts), with additional training at DePaul University, Shakespeare & Co., and Michael Howard Studios. In the Triangle, Matthew has many theatre companies, including North Carolina Theatre, Manbites Dog, Deep Dish, and Burning Coal (for whom he has been a company member since 2012). Upcoming productions include “In a Word” for Bulldog Ensemble Theater and “The Legend of Georgia McBride” for Honest Pint. In 2017, Matthew founded Aggregate Theatre Company with the mission of developing a younger theatergoing audience in the Triangle.

Thaddaeus Edwards has been performing in and around the Triangle for over 15 years. As an actor he has been seen across the state of NC, as well as Charleston, SC, Washington DC, New Haven, CT, and New York City. Locally he has worked with Manbites Dog Theater Company, Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern, Hidden Voices, StreetSigns, and many, many more. He is a founding member of Bulldog Ensemble Theater, having made his directorial debut with Bulldog’s inaugural production of Curve of Departure.

Mentions: 007: Actor Thaddaeus Edwards reframes Vanya…and failure…and life

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Questions for the group:


It seems to me (tell me if you agree) that Lauren Yee is interrogating the nature of language as a means to connect and disconnect us, to anchor and disorient us. As a result, the script contains a lot of language play which requires a certain kind of mental and emotional dexterity and acting technique.

How did you first unpack the script in rehearsal?

What is tablework? Amber mentioned table work “as a means to unlayer the onion.” Why is that important/what value does it have? Examples of little nuggets that you were able to uncover? How does the work around the table inform the choices that you make when you are on your feet?

Let’s read a bit and then talk about it as an example of the language of the piece.


What is this play about to you?



Reality? (What is the nature of time in IN A WORD? What is real?)



How do you access/find your way into these themes?


Matthew, what is it like to play 9 different people?

The world of IN A WORD is very bendy — it slides back and forth in time and in and out of reality (internal/external worlds and space) — how do you make sense of that as an actor (how do you navigate it)? As your character?

Anything else?

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