A Performance that Belies her Age

by moxielicious

Jada Temple as Ernestine Crump in CRUMBS. Photo by Daren Scott

Jada Temple as Ernestine Crump in CRUMBS. Photo by Daren Scott

To cast a teenager or not to cast a teenager? If you produce theatre, direct or run a casting department, you probably know the implications of that question. When a script calls for a teenage character, you have to weigh the lack of experience against the power of youthful energy that’s hard for a more mature actor to mimic. You can get away with casting an actor in their 20’s but is what you gain going to be worth what you lose? When MOXIE’s Artistic Director and the director of Crumbs from the Table of Joy, Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, began the search for the right young actresses, she considered going in both directions but after a round of auditions at San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts, she struck gold. Exactly the same age as her on stage character, but with a significantly more experience than your average teenager, Jada Temple seemed to step easily into the shoes of the lead character in MOXIE’s production of Lynn Nottage’s Crumbs from the Table of Joy. As one member of the press said:

“But the true light in this show comes from Jada Temple. She carries the show and her Ernestine, with everything that is thrown at her, always manages to be hopeful and true. Temple is fantastic…In her show bio, she writes that she’s moving to New York in the fall. I have no doubt that good things are in her future.” -Lance Carter, http://www.dailyactor.com

Temple took time between performances to answer a few questions.

How did you become an actor?

Temple: My first introduction to theatre came in pre-school. I was enrolled at Valencia Park Elementary when it was a performing arts magnet and I was immersed in Shakespeare, and musicals at age 4. I instantaneously fell in love.

What do you think about the script for CRUMBS?

Temple: I think the script is a beautiful piece of writing that tells a story in a unique way. The integration of real life and fantasy makes a rather dim story lighthearted and humorous.

What’s your favorite moment of the play?

Temple: My favorite moment of the play is when Gerte arrives at the Crump household for the first time to meet Darling and Devout.

What’s your favorite line you get to say?

Temple: “Oh God, did she have to be German? If he had to have a white lady, why not a French lady?”

What part of the process has been challenging?

Temple: The most challenging part of the process was learning of my lines. I have never had to learn so many before in my life!

What do you think audiences will enjoy about the production?

Temple: I think audiences will enjoy the beauty of it all; the writing, and the story telling done by the actors in addition to the dancing, the music, the lights, the amazing set, and the realistic sounds.

What have you learned since working on this production about yourself or the world around you?

Temple: I have learned that I am truly capable of taking on roles much bigger than me. I have also learned that I have the mental capacity to memorize a bunch.

Temple graduates from high school this spring and moves to New York to pursue her career in theatre. Until then, she’s enjoying the accolades from her outstanding performance in CRUMBS. You can catch her on stage through March 2, 2014 at MOXIE Theatre. www.moxietheatre.com/crumbs