Elena Nahrmann is making her Stagecrafters debut in “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark.”
The Stagecrafters Theater production of “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark” tells the life story of a Black actress in 1930s Hollywood as a satire that takes on old-time Hollywood, latter-day pop culture and private and public hypocrisies.
Stark, played by Darrah Lashley, works as a maid and carves out a career relegated to portraying subservient characters while her employer actress Gloria Mitchell is a Hollywood star.
The vain, melodramatic and self-absorbed Mitchell is portrayed by Elena Nahrmann, who is making her Stagecrafters debut in the play by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage running through June 26. Nahrmann, born just north of Boston and now living in West Philly, decided early in life to concentrate on two talents.
“Becoming an actor and an aerialist were my two primary goals,” she said. “I always danced a little and loved acting from an early age. But on a whim, I started learning the flying trapeze when I was just 12, and it was all just for fun. It wasn't until I was around l6 that I realized people could actually do it for a living.”
But, she added, it was always acting that was her first love, so after high school she attended Muhlenberg College in Allentown, where she graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in theater and art history. Unfortunately the year was 2019, the beginning of the dreaded pandemic, and work for an aspiring young actress, and almost everyone else, was hard to find. But nothing could dissuade the petite 24-year-old from pursuing her dreams. Eventually, she learned to combine her acting and aerialist talent to become what she is today, a “theater artist, acrobat and educator.”
In “Vera Stark,” Nahrmann says her character “has both low and high opinions of herself, depending on her mood. Her brain is always moving a mile a minute. And so I have to be able to move from one mood to another just as quickly as she does. And she works tirelessly to preserve an air of glamor as she fights to stay afloat in Hollywood.”
When she's not on stage, Nahrmann teaches aerial arts to children and adults. “The children seem to have a lot of fun doing this, but some adults do, too,” she said. “No one really wants to work out, so what I teach them is a way to do it without feeling bored. In my classes they're able to do something that is fun and creative.”
Nahrmann looks forward to a future filled with challenges and accomplishments achieved mainly in the theater. “Traveling around under the Big Top is really not for me,” she said. “There's nothing like looking out at an audience and seeing their reaction to the part you're playing. The theater scene is what makes me happiest.”
The Stagecrafters Theater is at 8130 Germantown Ave. For tickets and
information call 215-247-8881 or visit thestagecrafters.org