Getting to the Truth

In Mark St. Germain’s Wednesday’s Child, Susan and Martin Merrit aren’t able to have a child of their own, so they hire a gifted college student, Becca Connor, to serve as a surrogate. When Becca is murdered, a police investigation explodes the lives of everyone who knew her. As Detectives Aleece Valez and Walt Dixon begin to put the pieces together, secrets surface, alibis weaken, and lies are uncovered. In Wednesday’s Child, Alicia Taylor Tomasko portrays Aleece Valez, a bold detective who, like the Merrits, wants to have a child herself.

We met with Alicia to talk about the challenges of starring in a murder mystery, what it’s like to work with a living playwright, and how she connects with her character.

Wednesday’s Child plays in FST’s Gompertz Theatre through May 24. For tickets and more information, click here.

Wednesday’s Child is a World Premiere production. Is this your first time working on a World Premiere? If so, what was that experience like?

This is my first experience being part of a world premiere production! The entire process is so fascinating. The amount of work it takes to put up any production is a challenge, but the rare and unique chance to see something completely new come to life is such a rewarding process.

You play Detective Aleece Valez in Wednesday’s Child. How would you describe Aleece in five words? What, if anything, do you have in common with her?

Aleece is fierce, intelligent, dedicated, loyal, and has a ton of moxie. I like to think we have a lot in common, but we’ve just taken different career paths. Her determination to get what she wants is something I admire.

With this World Premiere, you had the playwright, Mark St. Germain, right there in the rehearsal room with you, which rarely happens. What was it like to work with a living playwright?

Mark was incredibly generous with all of us in this piece. He allowed me to personally shape Aleece without changing her core nature. Mark enabled me to add or change small words to fit me better, and he would always let me try them, even if the change or addition didn’t fit in the end.  This may not seem like much, but it’s very important to both the actor and the playwright. It was exciting to have him there in the rehearsal room so that we could ask questions and see if what we were doing matched his vision.

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Susann Fletcher and Alicia Taylor Tomasko in FST’s Wednesday’s Child. Photo by Matthew Holler.

This play is first and foremost a murder mystery. What are some of the challenges of working in that genre? What’s exciting about it?

One of the bigger challenges is not giving away the big twists in the plot. My character goes through her own twist in Act 2, something that I never try to give away. So many people love crime stories and ours is no different. The exciting thing is trying to bring something new to characters that may already be familiar to the audience.

Several characters in the play are women with careers in roles that have historically been represented by men—a lawyer, professor, and detective. What do you think this change does for the story and the audience?

I honestly hope it doesn’t change the story at all. Seeing women in these roles should be as normal as anything else. We’ve seen women on television play all of these parts in some capacity, so I hope the audience can focus on what the characters go through rather than what their profession is. Women no longer need to prove they can do a man’s job.

What excites you most about this play and your role?

I’ve been delighted to have the chance to create something from scratch. Most actors dream of the chance to originate a role. I’m grateful I have the opportunity to give others a chance to create and mold this role in the future.

Why should someone come see this play?

It’s got everything a good story needs! Mystery, humor, amazing moments about life’s toughest decisions, and a killer cast!

Wednesday’s Child plays in FST’s Gompertz Theatre through May 24. For tickets and more information, click here.