Actor Interview – Payton Vernier

Actor Interview – Payton Vernier

Payton is returning to Goochland Community Theatre after having performed as Cloe in Portrait in 2023. In Baby with The Bathwater, she portrays Helen. Having literally been around the world, we are happy she seems to have found a little home here at GCT. Take a look through her answers here.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

Everyone will like this show. I think anyone that has a family can relate to this show one way or another. Even though it’s an absurdist piece , its message will ring through to people with family dynamics.

What’s challenging about bringing this script to life?

Bringing absurdism to life and making it real is the most challenging thing. But we have a great director and team to do that with.

Why did you want to be involved in this production?

Because I love Goochland Community Theatre, and it’s always just so fun working with them.

Who should not come see this show?

Children under the age of 18. It does deal with mature content.

How is this production bringing something new to this story?

This show was written in the 1980s. Now, in 2024, we are so much more aware of family trauma, generational trauma that we pass down, and the cycles we can break. We are telling that story with a brighter light and more awareness.

What’s going to surprise people about this show?

I think that it’s a comedy! A dark topic can be told with a humorous tone.

Call someone out by name: who must come see this production?

Christopher Durang himself.

What is your favorite line in the show?

“Let me see if I can answer that… No, I don’t think I can.”

Who in the show is most like their character?

I think we’re all like our characters in small ways – in the idiosyncrasies and the little quirks in them that remind us of ourselves. We’ve all dealt with family trauma in one way or another, so we can connect with that in a very real way.

Who is the least?

We’re also all unlike our characters in the absurd aspect of them. We are not as absurd as our characters and how blown out of proportion they are.

What sort of person is going to love this character?

That’s a really good question. I think anyone can love Helen. I think she’s made to be the antagonist, but she does have some redeeming qualities. She’s a mom that cares about her baby. She just goes about it in a really wrong way. She’s still a mom at heart. She’s just a really bad mom.

How is this character like you? How is this character different from you?

Oh, Helen. Helen and I care quite a lot about the people that we love. We care deeply. And we’re both very passionate people. I think that’s about where our similarities stop. Helen and I differ in the fact that she can’t see very far past herself. As passionate and caring as she is, she really can’t see beyond her own perspective. And she is crazy. Love her, mean it, but she is crazy. She makes some questionable child-rearing choices that I wouldn’t make. I feel more like an adult than Helen. She’s so childish.

Is it easier to play this character or to be yourself on stage?

Oh, I definitely think being yourself onstage is easier. I do appreciate the challenge, but it’s way easier to be yourself.

What do you love about your character?

I love how much Helen loves her family in her own twisted way. She does! She truly does, she’s just too in the woods. Poor little thing. She loves Daisy, but she’s so childish herself. She’s passionate, and she really does care – I do love that about her. And I like how confident she is. She’s a badass woman! She threatens to leave John like 76,000 times. She’s so confident.

What do you hate about your character?

That being said, I do hate how mean she is to John. She is abusive to her family. I also hate the way she treats Daisy. I understand that she’s a messed up mom trying her best, but sometimes I feel like she is pushing others to make poor decisions. Also? Her temper, oof. Yikes, she scares me.

What’s the biggest challenge about taking on this role?

The biggest challenge is definitely making Helen lovable to the audience. So she is not seen as such a bad guy. I don’t think she is meant to be bad. Unfortunately, there is lots of family trauma, but it’s important to show her good sides, too.

Besides yourself, what celebrity would you like to see tackle this character?

Sara Bareilles. I’d love to see her do this.

Without giving anything away, what’s your favorite line of dialogue?

“I fell in a puddle. I’m all wet.”

Besides yourself, which actor in this production is going to blow people away?

We’re all gonna blow people away! All of us!

If you could play any other character in this show, who would it be?


What will the audience be thinking about in the car as they drive home after this show?

Their families, their cycles, what they can to strengthen their dynamics.

Why should audiences be excited for this show?

Because a great group of people (cast and crew) put this on, and a lot of hard work went into it. It’s gonna be a great show!