Cambria Herrera sits back in her chair. Listening, thinking. Her arms and legs are crossed as she watches the scene in front of her unfold, pauses and all. Her eyes move from actor to actor, then stare out into the rehearsal room. Every once in a while, a slight smile appears on her face, then fades before reappearing.
It’s five weeks into rehearsals for David Auburn’s Proof, last fall’s production at Valley Repertory Theatre in Newberg, Ore. Tonight is the first night the four actors are off-book – no scripts in hand – and such a transition inevitably means some pauses, some “ummmms,” some exasperated laughs and calls for “line.”
The scene reaches its end. Herrera stretches her arms out to the ceiling. “Great!” she says, and sits up straight. “How did you guys feel about it?”
They answer, laughing, groaning. Herrera nods in agreement, leans forward in her chair and asks questions. “How did that go for you guys? The last bit?” “Did you feel good sitting there for that long?”
They’re good questions, and the actors know it. “She’s never dismissive, never impatient,” says Nicole Greene, one of the four actors Herrera directed in Proof. “She’s creative, she’s highly intelligent, and most of all, she’s deeply talented.”
She’s also 20 years old.