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Glen Ellyn siblings take turns in 'Wait Until Dark' role
By Jack Helbig | Daily Herald Correspondent

Molly Hernandez of Glen Ellyn plays Gloria, left, opposite Emjoy Gavino's Susy in Court Theater's "Wait Until Dark."

 

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Published: 3/20/2009 12:01 AM

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Sister acts are not rare in theater. But Molly Hernandez, 12, and her sister, Erin Hernandez, 9, of Glen Ellyn, have found an interesting twist on it. Both girls appear in Court Theater's current production of "Wait Until Dark" playing the same character: Gloria, the spoiled little girl whose theft of a stuffed doll sets the twisty suspense plot in motion.

"We switch off performances," Molly Hernandez says. "But it's not like we are the same. We have the same lines. But we present them very differently from each other."

"We are like total opposites," Erin Hernandez says.

"We play the same character with different personalities," Molly says. "We add our own personalities to Gloria."

"I am more of a tomboy," says Erin Hernandez, who likes swimming when she isn't working on her acting.

Their styles might contrast, but their paths to acting follow a familiar route. Molly wanted to get into acting when she saw her brother, Conner Hernandez, perform.

"I thought it looked like a lot of fun," Molly says. So she tried out for a local production of "To Kill a Mockingbird" and was cast as Scout, the young girl who both appears in and tells the story.

Molly, in turn, was her younger sister's inspiration.

"My first play was 'Oliver!'," Erin says. "I tried out for it because I saw my sister and I thought acting would be fun, too."

Now the Hernandez family has three working child actors. Conner appeared last season in Court Theater's production of the Greek drama "Thyestes."

Both sisters are working at doing voice-overs and commercials. But for now, their whole focus is on "Wait Until Dark."

"This is our first professional theater job," Molly says. All of their previous acting gigs have either been smaller, nonprofessional theaters or in the better paying, but less certain, world of film, TV and print.

Five days a week (the show is done Wednesdays through Sundays) Molly and Erin and family drive from Glen Ellyn to the theater in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago.

"Sometimes we are let out of school early," Molly says. "But we try not to miss too much school."

They do homework on the way to the theater and during breaks in rehearsal and performances.

The two sisters clearly love the experience, although it can be hard to keep up the schedule on school nights. "We usually sleep in the car on the way back," Molly says.

That's one reason the Court Theater cast two young actors to play a single role - to give each actor a chance to recover from a performance and have a regular life.

"I like playing Gloria," Molly says. "At the beginning, she is bratty but she has a change of heart."

"It is really fun to be someone you totally aren't," Erin says. "That is why I like acting."

"Gloria gets to be a big brat," Molly says. "The bad guys have the most fun in shows. You get to let it all out. You get to be someone you could never do in real life."

"She gets to throw things. She gets to be bossy," Erin says. "Then she gets to be nice."

• "Wait Until Dark," runs through Sunday, April 5 at the Court Theater, 5535 S. Ellis, Chicago. For tickets call (773) 753-4472 or visit courttheatre.org/boxoffice/.