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Interview with Miriam Arden: Acting Extraordinaire

Ayla Ahmad, Journalist

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Catalina Foothills High School offers a wide variety of programs for students to discover their passions and explore interests. It was through this avenue that Miriam Arden, a junior at Catalina Foothills, found her zeal in theatre. First acting as “Hoddle” in Fiddler on the Roof at a Catalina Foothills summer theatre program when she was eight years old, she has been casted in every open-audition show the high school hosted since her Freshman year. Ever since that first performance, Miriam has maintained her love for acting. This month, Miriam won 1st place at the Shakespeare chapter competition. She won $100 and is now eligible for an all-expense-paid trip nationals at the Lincoln Center in New York City. I decided to interview her in order to learn about how the art of acting came to be such a major part in her life.  


Because the theatre programs at CFHS sparked her interest in acting, Miriam admires many aspects of what is offered. She outlined many characteristics, including “the sheer variety of opportunities open to students, directing, acting, stage managing, et cetera”. But more importantly, this actor likes working with the people, the people that inspire her and force her to think outside of the box in terms of acting. For those interested in taking part in theatre or becoming an actor, Miriam recommends having a receptive mind when it comes to advice and different takes on a certain character; “Have an open mind and soak up all the information you can from watching other people. Let yourself be vulnerable. Make the most of every opportunity you can in the theatre.” Regardless of the amount of experiences one has in acting or even the utter fear of failing in an audition, one will never know the possibility of succeeding without first trying.

     In preparation for the state competition, Miriam outlined the steps she took to fully immerse herself in the character. She first annotated her monologue – a Beatrice soliloquy from Much Ado About Nothing – by marking the punctuation. She did this because “…Shakespeare punctuation gives insight into where he wants the pauses and emotional shifts to be. This includes rhythm, diction, all that stuff.” Miriam made sure to understand what situation her character was in by reading sections of the play to understand the context. She continued this process by determining her character’s motivations and tactics with regard to Beatrice’s interactions with different characters. Finally, Miriam “practiced it many times [by herself] in my bathroom…and doing it in a bunch of different way to find which one [she] personally connected with.”

     Having gone to the state competition for the first time, the junior expressed her experiences at the event as enlightening and inspirational. Although it was “nerve-racking the whole time,” Miriam gained insight from watching other talented competitors. After she won 1st place, she was able to meet with the judges and discuss the monologue; “That was amazing because they were so incredibly insightful”.

As a way to know which performers have shaped her as an actor, I asked Miriam what her favorite thespians were. Ben Platt, a performer best known for his work as Evan in the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen is one of Miriam’s top celebrities. She likes his work because “he just has this amazing way of bringing the underdog to life [in Dear Evan Hansen]. Underdogs in the sense that he’s the person who always gets beat down and does not have a lot of power”. Another individual closer to Miriam who was a major influence was Scott Harmen, her previous acting coach. Having learned his methods at Interlochen, an arts camp in Michigan, Miriam admired him and his teaching method.   

Shakespeare image:

Ben Platt Image:

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Interview with Miriam Arden: Acting Extraordinaire