Some days Eden Teichman isn't quite herself. "When something happens to me during an average day, I try to think how my character would respond. I spend a lot of time on what makes a character tick. They all have to have their personality differences," says the 15-year-old School of the Arts sophomore. Thumb through the script for a play she's working on and you might find a dog-eared, detailed road map of her character's personality.
That depth of understanding doesn't come easily, says Kyle Barnette, artistic director at What If? Productions. "She is aware of everything going on around her at all times. She understands timing, how to share a scene with another actor, and she is someone who will — and has — saved a fellow actor on stage before," Barnette says. "That instinct comes not only with good training but is inherent in someone's personality."
At age 10, Teichman took her first steps on stage, thanks to Creative Spark's Sprouts Musical Theatre. Unaware that the role would earn her a paycheck, Teichman was mostly enticed by the opportunity to perform somewhere outside of the family living room. She landed role after role at Sprouts, and soon realized she had found her creative niche. Eventually, she decided to audition for the theater department at the School of the Arts.
To date, she has 20 productions under her belt. Wider Charleston audiences were first introduced to Teichman when she performed in Piccolo Spoleto's 1963 at Threshold Repertory Theatre and What If? Productions' Kate and Sam Are Not Breaking Up — the latter landing the budding starlet her first written (and glowing) review. "I started crying when I first read the review of Kate and Sam. It took 30 minutes before I could finish reading it." In Kate and Sam, Teichman plays a crazed fan of two Twilight-esque movie stars. "Teichman's portrayal of Becky straddles the blurry line between average teenage hellion and full-blown sociopath. Bravo," CP writer Paul Bowers wrote of her performance.
Both breakout roles were meant for young adults, but Teichman is grateful that directors Pam Galle and Kyle Barnette chose to cast an actual teen in their productions. Barnette admits finding the right actor for the part was a challenge, regardless of age. "In the original Chicago production of Kate and Sam, Eden's role was played by an older actress who just looked younger. Finding anyone who has the range to play this psychotic character, who understands the fast-paced comedic timing and when to turn that into rage and who can hold their own with three extremely talented older actors is already tough. So finding an actual 15-year-old seemed impossible, but Eden gives one of the wildest and most fully developed performances we have ever had on the What If? stage. She's the real deal," says Barnette.
And while Teichman finds herself acting with casts of all ages and competing against 20-somethings in auditions outside of school, she usually fits in despite her age. "People have been really cool and trust that I'm just as grown up as them," she says. "The only odd thing is after a show, the whole cast may go out for drinks and I'm the only one partying with a ginger ale."