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Tammy Hoier, PhD – Psychologist and Actress (Part 2 of 3)

By Admin | December 29, 2008


How did you get interested in acting?

I had a friend who I met through a client. This woman was a costumer; she did theatre tech which involves costuming and set design. I have always been redesigning or renovating our farmhouse, which is 130 years old, as a hobby. So I thought I would love to do the set design thing. My husband was so relieved.. that school would be less expensive than renovating.

And, I decided coincidentally around 2001 I needed to do something else with my life besides just work as a psychologist because I was really getting tired.

So, I checked into set design in the theater department at WVU. As a prerequisite you had to take some kind of introto acting course and an overview of theatre as prerequisites. I got kinda hooked actually by the professor who taught the acting course, who said I should be an actress.

You got into acting through set design?

Yeah, I was going to get a degree in set design.

To get out of psychology?

No, to do both.

So, you took acting 101?

I took it as a summer course for two weeks at the university. And, I had a great time.

Had you done any acting before?

I had in junior high school. I got pulled into it by my mom. I was really shy and I had a lot of performance anxiety. And, I made it into the acting club and that was great until I had a lead role and I totally blanked out and dissociated.I was full of shame and I left the club.

I had grown up as a kid dreaming of musical theatre. I’d sing to musicals and dance and do all that as my solitary play. The middle school experience finished that off.. for about 40 years.

Is anybody in your family an actor?


So you have been acting since 2001?

Yeah, I got really small parts in the acting in the productions at the university partly because they have people thirtyand under. Some times they need an older person. I don’t have a lot of competition.

You aren’t going for the ingénue roles?

Ah, no. I think those days are over. I think even having a love interest that is younger than thirty is really over too.

What has been your favorite role?

I think my favorite role was a project that I did with two graduate students from the department. We did it in ourcommunity theatre. We did it in April 2008. It was a Canadian play Elizabeth Rex that was put up initially byStratford up in Ontario. It won the Canadian equivalent of the Pulitzer.

It is really interesting. It is about Elizabeth the first in her last yearsof life, the night before her last lover is executed for treason. It is a really smart play. It was really fun. My friend who is an actress, she played the male actor who plays female roles for Shakespeare.

In Elizabethan England they didn’t let women play roles at all. The men played the roles. So, Denise played a guy who played the women. It was wonderful, it was really fun. It was a thrill.

Do you do this professionally?

No. I would be interested in auditioning professionally but there is nothing close and I don’t want to disrupt my life. I have friends here, I have my husband, I have my clients. I am really happy doing community theatre.

So, where do you want to go with your acting?

I take one project at a time.

Do you want to direct?

Yeah, I would feel comfortable now directing. I haven’t directed anything yet but I feel I know enough to start doing it.

Do you write plays?

I have been taking intro to playwriting courses. I have taken two and a friend of mine is a poet. She wrote a series of poems about Sago, the mine disaster in 2006 and we have talked about doing a joint project and I am writing a script for my class and I hope to get at least a reading at the community theatre.

You are both an actor and a psychologist. Do your find that your acting helps you more in doing therapy or does your psychology background help you more in your acting?

At this point, I have had enough training and experience that I can marry them. I think my acting helped my therapywork and some of the things I use in my office from acting school have been really useful.

Like what?

How to properly do breathing to calm yourself. People say they are relaxed but they don’t do it right, they don’t do diaphragmatic breathing. I can reenact for somebody their nonverbal communication. I can say “this is how you said it to her” to a couple. I can play the other partner and show them how they used their tone of voice and inflections and they usually accept that.

I use things about voice and tone of voice – the higher ranges is a social trained and you are not using your natural voice. You are using a tense voice, it is not really grounded.

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