Chat with... Hilary Webster, lead in DAC’s “Baby”
DARIEN — Hilary Webster has a lot in common with Lizzie, the college student she’s playing in the Darien Arts Center’s production of “Baby.” While Webster, 27, graduated Gordon College with a degree in theater in 2015, like Lizzie, she’s still trying to decide what she wants to do with her life.
“There’s one song they sing about how they want it all and I can relate,” Webster said. “I’m fresh out of college and there’s so much I want to do and it’s so hard to narrow it down to one thing.”
Before playing the role of the pregnant student in this musical comedy, Webster was living in New York City for a few months, trying to break into the theater scene. Before that, she was doing a theater intensive in Boston. Last spring, she taught children’s theater around New England and before then, she was living at home in Raymond, N.H., and performing historical reenactments of the Salem Witch Trials in Salem, Mass.
“We played the witnesses and the audience cross-examined us,” she said, adding the audience then got to decide the fate of the “witch.” “People came into it with their own agenda. They’ll be like ‘I want to hang her’ or ‘I want to change history.’ Some came into it with a Puritan mindset which is what we wanted.”
Webster’s performance experience began with an advertisement in the newspaper, something that’s been a theme throughout her career (she found out about auditions for “Baby” when her boyfriend’s mother showed her an ad in the newspaper). When she was 8, her older sister saw an ad for auditions for “The Wizard of Oz” and convinced her mother to let Webster try out. Her mother was apprehensive after seeing Webster’s sister upset after missing out on theater roles, but let her second daughter go. Webster was cast as a poppy and in the lullaby league and has done theater ever since.
“I love being part of a team and creating something with a good group of people,” she said. “That’s something I love about the Darien Arts Center ... They’re working to create a community.”
Catch a show
“Baby” will be performed April 28, 29 and May 5 and 6 at 8 p.m., and April 30 at 2 p.m at the DAC Weatherstone Studio at 2 Renshaw Road, Darien, CT 06820, behind Darien Town Hall.
For tickets, visit darienarts.org, or for more information, call (203) 655-8683.
Besides performing, Webster also works at The Glass House in New Canaan in the design store. She moved to Darien in December to be closer to her college boyfriend, but also to escape New York City, where she found she didn’t enjoy living.
“I love it here,” she said of her new home in Darien. “I love the suburbs and the quiet.”
Webster said she’s still deciding what her next move will be after “Baby” closes on May 6. Right now, she’s enjoying exploring design at The Glass House and might audition to perform on a cruise.
Her struggle is both similar and different to her “Baby” character: Lizzie is a college junior who has just moved in with her boyfriend, Danny and also wants it all for her career. But when she finds out she’s pregnant, she must balance her dreams of a career with having a baby.
“Lizzie is very optimistic and out to conquer the world,” she said. “Sh me ends up getting pregnant. Both throughout the pregnancy [her and Danny] discover different things about each other and things they can’t control. When she first gets pregnant, she’s like ‘oh, another thing to conquer’ and then she realizes the baby will take up her time, but then she finds the joy in motherhood. She realizes she’s not superwoman and she can rely on her partner for help.”
Despite exploring themes of motherhood, Webster says the show, in its essence, is about the relationship between the couples.
“I think the play is more about love,” she said. “Love during hard time, compromising and standing up for each other and couples working together through the hard times of pregnancy.”