Understudy Hall: ‘Carnage’’s Charlotte Maier doesn’t need vomiting lessons
Imagine being trained to do a job and then having to wait a year to apply it. That’s how long Charlotte Maier had to wait to unleash Annette’s projectile vomit and tackle her on-stage husband as Veronica as the female standby in the Tony-winning play God of Carnage. The life of a standby (different from an understudy, in that there isn’t even an ensemble role to play) is a true waiting game. Yet in between mystery novels and balancing her checkbook backstage, Maier says she’s received master classes in acting by observing the actors she covers.
A Chicago native, Maier began her career at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. She moved to New York and started a family while appearing in Broadway plays in understudy and standby roles since 1993. She has acted in films with Steve Martin, Sandra Bullock, and Drew Barrymore, and Carnage marks her tenth Broadway production. The producers of Carnage announced Monday that the Tony winner for Best Play would close on June 27. Of this news, Maier remarked that the cast and crew felt lucky to run for a season and a half—a rare feat for a straight play. “Now we pass it on to the next cast in the next city.” Despite this news, Maier remains grateful—and why shouldn’t she? She learned how to vomit with the use of a hose.
How many times have you gone on in Carnage?
Twice. Fifty-two weeks had passed and I knew I was going to go on for Christine Lahti, but Annie Potts had broken her rib in the show somehow. So Thursday night, February 11, I went on for Annie after being with the show for a year. Two days later, I went on for Christine. Didn’t go on before and haven’t gone on since.
What was that first performance like?
That’s the part of Annette, the one who throws up. Technically speaking, that’s a very difficult part. For the vomit trick, you’re hooked up to a hose and there’s a hookup in the couch. I had never had a rehearsal doing that.
***VIDEO AFTER THE JUMP: Charlotte Maier talks vomiting sensations and James Gandolfini’s cast gift that got mysteriously destroyed.*** Read more