• Oliver Boon

Critic meets Mona Zink

Updated: Apr 28


CRITIC

What made you want to be an actor?

MONA

I joined my school's Theatre Club in fifth grade. In Germany, theatre clubs are nowhere near as professional and big as the American Theatre in high school. I can't remember what my motivation back then was, but I always had a lot of energy and creativity stowed away. It helped to channel that and it always was a fun hobby besides school. I always kind of had a knack for it, and I loved it, but I had to find the self-confidence to actually go for it and pursue acting. In Germany, you're supposed to get a secure job that brings you money. It was never that my parents told me I couldn’t, but it was always something that was implied by my environment. I found my voice in my mid 20s and went for it. What really gave that last push in the right direction was watching a lot of behind the scenes of movies. Especially the Lord of the Rings’ BTS where I was just so inspired by how everything came together. I started to get this anxious feeling of “if I don't do this, I will regret it for the rest of my life”. That was the final push that I needed.


CRITIC

What's the difference between German and American Theatre?

MONA

I would say that, at least the productions that I have seen in Germany were a little more conservative and not as daring as what I have seen in New York. But I also know that the theatre in Germany has really started to experiment more in recent years but where I grew up in Stuttgart, I didn't see a lot of experimental theatre. When I was going to audition for German theatre schools, I personally got the feeling that there is a lot more constriction in the educational side of it. It felt very elitist. Maybe that's why I didn't connect with German acting schools because it just seemed so rigid. Yeah. There was a big difference for me when I auditioned for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. My audition with Teresa Hayes made me feel so relaxed. Whereas when I went into the audition room in German acting schools, I was so scared. It seemed like such a such a strict process whilst Terry just chatted with me for the first 10 minutes and let me get in the flow and relax me so I could really go for it. I could really feel that in the American side of theatre. There's not as many rules. Even though there is a framework that you work with, it's much more freeing.

MONA

What was the last New York production you saw?

On Broadway, it was Betrayal that really impressed me with Tom Hiddleston and Zawe Ashton and Charlie Cox. That was an incredible production not only because the acting was phenomenal, but also how the directors staged it. It just drew you in. I don’t see that a lot of Broadway shows but that was so far the best I’ve seen. Off-Broadway, I saw a play called Nothing Gold Can Stay written by Chad Beckhim. I helped out in the ticketing booth for them. The play is about the opioid crisis in Maine. It was so incredibly well-written. I think I saw it about six times. There was always something new to discover. I was so impressed with the actors. One of my favorite plays that I've seen in New York so far.

CRITIC

Tell me about the types of roles that you usually go for.


MONA

I usually go for roles that have a sense of responsibility and gravitas. I have fun with the roles that support people and give guidance to other characters. I tend to be the wisdom of the play. I love those types of characters. I also started trying to get auditions for all sorts of different characters because I just got out of acting school. I'm thinking my range right now is the most it will ever be. I want to give myself the chance to be able to explore different roles. I also love to go for classical theatre roles. I love the elegance. So, I go to a lot of open calls for Shakespeare and other classical playwrights.

CRITIC

Are you staying creatively active during this time?

MONA

I keep writing on my script that I want to film later in the year. It's about something pretty private that I had to go through during the past three years. I just rediscovered the piano. I suck because the last time I really played was 15 years ago but I finally have time to reassess and focus on something else. I try to keep up with my instrument , keep training my voice and technique with acting exercises. I have a few German plays that I haven't read on my bookshelf, that I want to dive into.

CRITIC

What advice would you give to young German actors wanting to move to America?

MONA

Utilize your good German work ethic! It worked really well for me, maybe a little bit too well. Don't dig your claws in too much to the work because it kind of boxes you in. What helped me grow so much during my time at school was doing the work and not just the creative side of it, but also the research. Another thing that I had to learn was being able to not suppress emotions. That it's okay to show them because that wasn’t a thing in the environment I grew up in. You kind of try to stay evenly tempered and seeing others that were not as restrained really inspired me. At the Academy, we got thrown into this whole big emotion thing. American actors just express. That’s the main thing that I learned during the past three years. The more you trust those emotions, the easier it gets to translate onto the stage.

CRITIC

Did you have a project coming up that was postponed?


MONA

There is a Theatre Festival in May that is hosted by Origin Theatre Company. The artistic director George C. Heslin of that company directed me in Clybourne Park. He introduced me to a fellow German actress named Tiffany Peach. He asked if we could prepare a project for a festival called the European Month of Culture. They try to get as many European countries as possible involved, be it concerts or readings or plays. He wanted us to to enter a German project because last year Germany was not represented. So Tiffany and I decided which author we wanted to go with. Because the motto was female voices, we chose the incredible author, Rebekka Kricheldorf. We decided to go with a translated play of hers called Villa Dolorosa. It's a contemporary adaptation of Chekhov's Three Sisters. We were working on getting the right and then the whole thing got cancelled because of Corona, which is a huge bummer because we were really looking forward to it. We already had a female director in mind for it, too. I think it would have been really fun but I still keep in contact with Tiffany and we really want to get this project done as soon as possible.

CRITIC

What is your favorite word?

MONA

Serendipity. I just love how it flows and the meaning is just beautiful to me. It's when things just fall into place. You experience something by chance that changes your path in life. Because it was supposed to happen. I came to America because of quite serendipitous reasons. That is one of the reason it has a special meaning to me.



monazink.com

www.instagram.com/the_zink

Interviewed by Oliver Boon on Zoom