Talking with Angela Nahigian, a 2nd year institute student at A.R.T. / MXAT, she told of her experiences working with Marcus Stern and the A.R.T. company members on Donnie Darko and her reaction to the film.
I was thrilled to be given a part. I heard about the institute version in 2004, and I had seen the in the summer of 2003 and thought it was puzzling. I had watched it several times; after the first time, though I didn’t get a deep understanding, I really felt for Donnie in the story. I found it enjoyable and weird despite the fact I didn’t know what it meant.
There was something about the story that made me feel it was worth while; in addition to being a lot of fun. I knew Marcus from class and really enjoyed his way of thinking about stories and people; a generous and sympathetic way of thinking. I was really excited for the chance to work with him on this story. The more I do it and the more mysterious the story gets the more fun it is for me. I love how we are playing with putting together a clear story for an audience. He has such attention to clarity of a story for and audience, which really gives you a nice sense of being a part of a whole picture.
It is fun to be in the room, not to mention the amazing dramaturgical work that makes the process for me unbelievable. Working with the company members is such a great learning opportunity for an institute student like myself. It is a nice thing to work with so many different people from different places in the theatre community.
I feel playful about the process because it is science fiction, mystery, cult film there is buzz about the film and so many interpretations regarding what it is about. That is fun and exciting. It makes me want to try different things and hear what they have to say or think about it. More importantly there is a troubled kid at the middle of this story and family. It explores the basic moments like getting a girl, trying to understand, the idea of kids on meds. These are real and scary issues for kids at that age which is why I feel that this story works so well. That really grounds you in something I want to explore as an actor and people want to explore on their own after they see it. That is exactly the kind of scarily realistic element that is really important for the dynamic of the piece.
– Lynde Rosario