Erica Pappas & Will Pullen on Daniel Talbott's Nick and Zoe / by Declan Maloney Drummond


THE DIONYSIAN: How did you get involved in Nick and Zoe?

ERICA PAPPAS: Daniel had directed me in a show back in 2016, and he asked me to come read his new play with Will, Shira-Lee, and their friend Lucy Thurber last June. We got together and read it at Shira-Lee's apartment and shared a plate of mozzarella sticks. Then Daniel asked if I'd take the role, and it was an obvious yes; who could say anything else to this play, this role, and the team behind it? I was hooked immediately, and I haven't stopped being grateful for the opportunity.

WILL PULLEN: I got involved with the project when Daniel Talbott called and said he had written a new play that he was going to send me and if I'd be interested in reading it and potentially doing the production. Daniel is one of my closest collaborators and like a brother to me so the answer was a yes for me as soon as he asked. Once I read the play, and saw how complex the two characters were and how tragically human, I knew it was something I had to be a part of.


THE DIONYSIAN: Tell us a bit about your character.

EP: Zoe is the kind of girl who appears to have it all. She has an impossibly wealthy family, the perfect apartment, and a long-term boyfriend who was more or less betrothed to her since childhood. Everything about her screams stability, but when she meets Nick, her whole world is shifted. It's like learning that everything she thought she loved was just a plastic version of the real thing. He's just the exciting and gritty and completely vulnerable force she didn't know she needed. Letting go of everything she considered an absolute truth about herself is scary, but once she does, she finds a new version of herself with him she never knew existed — complete with both that thrilling vulnerability and new emotional blocks she never knew were there. Zoe is so exciting and challenging to me because a lot of the walls she has up are so similar to mine, so playing her forces me to confront my own humanity, too.

WP: The thing that's central to Nick is his honesty. I think he believes in the truth, no matter how it sounds. He has a deep love and loyalty to his family, especially his brother and sister. Nick grew up very poor, in an abusive home, in rural upstate New York so coming to New York City to go to college is like a whole new world for him, and not in the bright, shiny Disney way. The way that is harsh, judgmental, and deadly. He has grown up always feeling less than, and not good enough and these feelings are heightened when he goes to New York.