Quincy Tyler Bernstine

Q & A with with Quincy Tyler Bernstine who stars as 'Masha' in the Public Theater's Off- Broadway production of Neva, written and directed by Guillermo Calderón, which played at the Public's Anspacher Theater from 01 - 31 Mar 2013.

March 27th.

Place of birth?
Madison, WI.

You now live in?
Astoria, NY.

Did you go to training school, if so which one?
UC San Diego.

As an actor, do you have a preference for stage, tv or film?
Stage is my first love. However, I would welcome the opportunity to do more film and television.

Your first stage performance was?
My kindergarten class did a "production" of Fiddler on the Roof (basically, we sang "Sunrise, Sunset") for Grandparents' Day. That's the first time I remember being onstage.

Career highlight to date?
Ruined at MTC. That was an incredible experience for many reasons.

What roles would you most like to play?
Definitely Laura in The Glass Menagerie...Medea, perhaps...Esther in Intimate Apparel, without question.

What's the best advice you have ever received?
You only live once and tomorrow is not promised to anyone so make today count. I don't always follow that advice but it certainly is good advice.

What has been your most embarrassing moment on stage?
In a college production of a new musical, I tripped on a trap door handle and fell flat on my face, spread-eagle, center stage. I was the only one onstage at the moment so it was impossible to miss. It was beyond embarrassing. And it hurt!

What is the most annoying part about your job?
I wish actors got paid more.

Briefly tell us how you become involved with Neva?
I read the play and fell in love with it, and with the character of Masha in particular. I auditioned for it back in the fall and here I am.

Briefly tell us about the character you play in Neva?
I play a young woman named Masha, an actress who has come to study with Chekhov's widow, Olga Knipper. She is also a revolutionary, very involved politically in St. Petersburg at the time in which the play takes place (January 1905). She comes to a sad realization by the end of the play about the relationship between her love, theater, and politics.

If you had not become a performer, what might you have done instead?
I would have gone to law school. I took the LSATs and was about to begin the application process when I got into UCSD for theater.

Who are your favorite actors/actresses?
Pass. I have many.

If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and what would you say to them?
Wow, that's a tough one. I'll have to think on that...

Favorite after-show haunts?
I don't know that I have a favorite...it depends on what neighborhood I'm working in at the time. I spent a good deal of the fall and winter at Souths, down in Tribeca, while working at Soho Rep.

What was the last Broadway show you saw?

What was the last book you read?
My coffee table and nightstand are covered with half-read books, I'm embarrassed to say. I'm in the process of reading THE WARMTH OF OTHER SUNS by Isabel Wilkerson and a book on Bloody Sunday that I am reading for research purposes (NEVA). I'm a fan of Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Arundhati Roy, to name a few...

What was the last film you saw, and name some of your favorite movies? Lincoln was the last film I saw. I loved Beasts of the Southern Wild, Argo ... also Waiting for Guffman and The Color Purple I could watch over and over again.

Favorite TV programs?
I'm ashamed to tell you. I don't watch a lot of TV but my favorite channels are BRAVO and HGTV. I am also a news junkie.

Favorite holiday destinations?
I actually love going home to Washington, DC (where I grew up). Also, anyplace warm with a beach. I would love to go to Fiji someday. That's a dream of mine.

Do you have any hobbies?
Running at the gym, actually. Does that count as a hobby?

Do you have any superstitions?
So many. Too many to list.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?
My mom, my dad, and my brother Justin. Not items, I realize, but I couldn't live without them

What are your future plans?
I will be spending the next several months working on a couple of shows at Playwrights Horizons. I am very much looking forward to that. And then...who knows...we'll see...

Originally published on

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