Meet the Cast – Krysten Drachenberg

What’s your name? 

Krysten Drachenberg.

Who are you playing? 

I play Johnna Monevata.

What town are you from?

New Britain.

Is this your first time at Hole in the Wall Theater?

No, I’ve been here for over 12 years.

How did you get into theater and what is your background in theater? 

Alright, so how I got into theater is actually a funny story. When I was a kid, I was bullied a lot, I didn’t have a lot of friends, and one day in middle school, sixth grade, I saw everyone signing up for this thing, and I didn’t know what it was. But I wanted to try to make friends, so I was like, okay, I’ll go sign up, and turns out it was Drama Club, and I ended up with a part in a show, because I signed up for it. So that’s how I ended up in theater, and I just really liked it a lot, and I did make friends, and I wanted to keep doing it. 

Describe your character.

She’s a caretaker who Beverly hires.

If you could give your character a piece of advice, what would it be? 

I don’t know. I’m very similar to the character in, in a bunch of ways. I used to be a caretaker myself. I don’t know what advice I would give them, though.

Why do you think this show got a Pulitzer Prize for drama? 

It’s fantastic. It’s been one of my favorite shows for a long time, and I’m super excited that we’re able to do it. The way that it’s written shows the intricacies of this dysfunctional family. You can see the relationships between the people very well. You can see how well the drama is created. It’s wonderfully emotional and cathartic in a lot of ways.

Do you have a favorite book? 

I do. It is Greg Allman’s “Not My Cross to Bear.” It is his autobiography. It is fantastic. I love the Allman Brothers and reading it, my dad actually took it out of the library one day. He said, “oh, Krysten, come here. You need to read this.” And I picked up the book. I read the thing he asked me to. And it was a wonderful, funny story. But then I just kept reading the book and I never gave it back to my dad. Now the New Britain Public Library, their copy of Greg Allman’s “Not My Cross to Bear,” has pages that have come off the binding and a stain from a blueberry smoothie because I literally did not put that book down. 

I’m gonna report you to the NBPL.


Do you have a favorite poem? 

I’ve always liked Robert Frost’s, poem with two paths, the really popular one. Which… feels so cliche, but, my interpretations of it, I, I’m able to interpret it in a number of ways for myself, for my personal life, and I, I think any art, when you’re able to interpret it in that way, is fantastic. So that’s why it has meaning for me, but I don’t really know a lot of poetry.

Do you have a favorite drink, alcoholic or otherwise? 

I don’t drink alcohol. If I do, a little bit here and there to taste. 

I’ve seen you do it. 

Yeah. I’m very interested in how things taste. But, alright, one of my favorite drinks is chocolate milk. Mm. I can’t have dairy. But, chocolate milk is delicious, and my cousin’s dad started working at Guida’s ten years ago, and he would always bring home the little cartons of chocolate milk that you would get at school for lunch. And this was when I lived with them. So I would always drink the chocolate milk, and then I got a kidney stone. Don’t drink too much chocolate milk. That is the lesson. 

What is a fun fact about yourself?

Alright, fun fact about myself, I have a great love of history and medical history in particular. Especially, circa the 18th century. And I can tell you in detail how they would amputate a leg during the Revolutionary War. 

How would they do that? 

Alright, so… I shouldn’t have said in detail… basically, they would apply the tourniquet, and they would designate where the cut would need to be made, above  or below the joint. They would take out a knife, cut all the way around the limb, as fast as possible, down to the bone, kind of in a conical shape. They would separate the flesh and then take out the bone saw, cut through the bone, and then they would have this little hook like instrument that I can’t remember the name of, and they would use it to go in and there would be tiny ties on this instrument and they would use it to pull out the arteries or veins and tie them off with those little ties. The conical shape is so that you get this flap of skin that you could then use to close the wound, so you don’t have a bone protruding out of your amputated limb. I am not 100% sure if this is where the phrase “bite the bullet” came from, but soldiers would have to bite down on something, sometimes a bullet, sometimes, like a piece of wood, something in their mouth so they don’t bite their tongue off. Surgeons would have to do this all as quickly as possible, cause, no anesthesia. One of the fastest surgeons was actually, Robert Liston, who I believe, got down to like two minutes for an amputation. It was very quick. 

That was amazing. Last question. Is there anything else you’d like to say? Other ventures? Shoutouts?

I’m about to start school, and my goal is to go for a Master’s in Epidemiology. I’m continuously working on shows here at HITW. My boyfriend is directing a show coming up, The Curious Savage, and I will be directing, The Time of Your Life, next year for the 2024 season. It was the first show that HITW ever did, and we haven’t done it in our current space – 116 Main Street – which is why I decided to propose it.

Appended: “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.