Heather Lind intimately understands the sibling dynamics in Of Good Stock
Heather Lind knows a thing or two about the three-sister dynamic.
However, unlike her free-spirited character Celia in Melissa Ross's Of Good Stock
– who is the whimsical youngest sibling to needy middle child Amy (Alicia Silverstone) and motherly eldest Jess (Jennifer Mudge) – Lind grew up in the middle.
Granted, it was only by a matter of minutes.
"I'm the older twin, but I do feel more like the middle child," Lind says over iced tea at a café near New York City Center, where the Manhattan Theatre Club production is running through July 26. Her identical twin sister Christina Bennett Lind is also an actor. "I definitely see more of the baby sister in her. I thought about her a lot working on this."
Of Good Stock
follows the Stockton sisters as they reconnect at their family house on Cape Cod for Jess's birthday. The play's nuanced interactions rely on the fact that each sibling is entirely different from the other, but in her real life, Lind can't escape comparisons to her twin. (Her older sister is a museum educator.)
"A lot of people think we're the same or they can cast us interchangeably," she explains. "Those jokes are funny and I totally get them, but it's almost like, if we could we would. But I actually think in our work, our uniqueness comes out in a way it does in everyone. It's just clearer when you're twins. For a while, that was troubling to me, but now it's exciting and liberating. No one person is exactly the same, no matter what your genetic material is."
Of Good Stock
puts three women at the center of the story, an unfortunate rarity on stage, and Lind says working with MTC artistic director Lynne Meadow, who also directs this show, was one of the reasons she wanted to do the project. And while Lind has nothing but good things to say about the three actors playing the sisters' boyfriend, fiancé, and husband, she notes that men aren't often asked to play supporting roles to female leads.
"We were all like, 'If I was called to play the fiancée or the wife or the girlfriend of a guy at MTC, I would jump at the chance! You get to play the wife! That's almost the lead!'" she says. "What's interesting about gender politics in theatre is once you're just doing it, it's not about gender. We're just doing a play. When it's not equal, it becomes such an issue because people are like, 'Well it's a women-directed, women-written, women-centric play.'"
Lind has had many opportunities to play the center of the story in her career, moving between contemporary and period works both in theatre and on film. For instance, she's spent the last year portraying the spy Anna Strong on the AMC series Turn
, about espionage during the Revolutionary War.
Asked about performing in a period piece, Lind says, "It feels great to wear all the costumes and the corsets because then you're automatically not yourself. It's such a relief because you don't want to be in your life all the time. But in contemporary plays, you don't have that little crutch, so when you're in rehearsal wearing what you normally wear, there's a huge panic. I'm like, 'I'm not acting! This must be bad. How is this interesting?' A huge challenge actors have is feeling we're worth being watched."
No matter a character's historical era, Lind often plays the rebel. Whether it be as Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion
at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2013 or Jessica in The Merchant of Venice
on Broadway in 2010, she enjoys taking chances onstage that she might not take in real life.
"I feel like I'm drawn to these people who don't want to follow the rules," she says. "Because in my life, I'm a total rule follower, and so I'm like, 'What is it like if you say no to people? What is it like to be a person in the world like that?' Consequences in real life are so scary and irreparable if you go too far."
She's found a similar connection with her latest role. "I'd like to be more rebellious in my life, which is probably why I love these characters so much. Because I admire them," she says. "But sometimes they're stupid! I don't think I envy Celia right now. But I do envy her spirit."
Suzy Evans is a writer and editor based in New York City
Photos by Joan Marcus. Top photo: Heather Lind in Of Good Stock