MICHAEL HAGINS ON THEATRE ROW: A Minute with a “Karen” … Alaina Hammond

Alaina Hammond – Karen

Alaina Hammond is set to portray the character of Karen in the highly anticipated and compelling production of S.U.N. in the U.S.A. opening at the end of June.  As a playwright as well as an actress, she has a solid foundation for being able to skillfully craft a role.

It’s the intensity of this play that drew Ms. Hammond to it.  “It’s unrelenting. The well-structured arc prevents the actors—and the audience—from feeling comfortable. It keeps rising and rising until the masterful climax. This is what gives it its tremendous power. I feel like it could be studied in English classes for years to come. Although it works very well on the stage, it also has profound academic literary merit.”

“That’s my dorky and long-winded way of saying: Damn this is a good play!”




S.U.N. in the U.S.A. is a story that looks at history through the eyes of an African-American Everyman known only as Black, who is “kindly” reminded just how good he has it in his time in the United States of America—from the beginning of African slavery to today’s culture.  

Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street, New York

Ms. Hammond’s creative process has to do with the phrasing and the pacing of the dialogue.  “Generally, I like to explore the poetry and the rhythm of the monologue. Where are the beats? The breaths? The pauses? Where should I hurry, if ever? Where should I linger? How does one thought follow the next?”

When undertaking a piece that has to do with serious or topically charged subject matter, some artists feel an added responsibility when presenting the material.  There is a certain level of sensitivity and care that must go into the portrayals.  When Ms. Hammond was asked if she feels this her response was, “In a word: Yes.”

“God, I don’t even know where to start.” is possibly the best response to what changed and what needs to change as a result of the pandemic.?  This pandemic has discombobulated the entire planet some of us just throw our hands up, tilt our heads and can’t even formulate words. 

“What’s next?  I also don’t know where to stop!”  Ain’t not stopping her now!  Whether it be the written word or the interpretation of the written word on stage, Ms. Hammond will be a creative force of nature for a long time to come.

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