Becoming the Witch in Into the Woods

By Lisa Brescia, The Witch, Into the Woods

After appearing as Sally Bowles in Cabaret at PlayMakers, I was eager to return to work with Joe Haj again, as he is one of the finest directors I’ve ever worked with. When he invited me to come back and play the Witch in Into the Woods, I felt excited to collaborate with him again.

Photo by Jenny Graham

The chance to play two sides of the same character was very intriguing to me. Before her transformation in Into the Woods (spoiler alert here), the Witch is a decrepit, old crone with supernatural powers who was robbed of her youth and beauty due to someone else’s deceit and thievery. Like all fairy tale characters, she has a wish. She longs for her former body back, and sets in motion the plot which can grant her wish. But, like all wishes which come true, these things can sometimes backfire. Sondheim and Lapine have written a brilliant show which asks the question: is there really “happily ever after?” And at what cost?

Photo by Jon Gardiner

The costume and mask/wig designers deserve a standing ovation for their work on the Witch (along with every other character in the show). Looking at my reflection before making my first entrance in Into the Woods, I no longer see Lisa at all…the image looking back at me makes me laugh, and breaks my heart, which is exactly where I like to live most as an artist.