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Laundry and Bourbon / Lone Star

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Keri Uribe
September 4, 2012

What is your job on this show?
Actor.

Do you like to read plays, or just perform them?
Yes, I very much enjoy reading plays, whether I plan to work on them or not. I’m fascinated by how intricately and intimately stories and relationships can be explored purely through dialogue and action. I also find that reading plays, both classic and modern, greatly enriches the rest of my work through a greater understanding of history, dramatic themes, character development and most importantly, of how people relate to each other under a variety of circumstances and conditions.

Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
I enjoy all mediums of acting: stage, film and tv, but will always return to theater. My initial training is in the theater and after two years as a company member of the VA Shakespeare Festival, I was hooked. I used to think that acting was acting, but now that I’ve expanded into film and television the difference has become quite clear. In theater, the actor is infinitely more in control of the final product, his or her character’s arc and ultimately the telling of the story each night from beginning to end. Once the show is up and running, it is a collaborative and unique union between the actors on stage and each nightly audience. In film and tv, the director, camera angle and editor ultimately decide what the end character, relationships and story are going to be.

Do you think the audience will talk about your show for 5 minutes, an hour, or way into the wee hours of the night?
I hope that the audience will still be discussing our show into the wee hours of the night. James McLure has an extraordinary talent for getting to the heart of relationships, be it between lovers, friends, siblings or arch nemeses. I think every single person in the audience will be able to relate deeply to at least one of these characters’ experiences. Some may even be discussing it for weeks to come. We have some pretty amazing southern colloquialisms in both shows that really stick with you, many of which have already worked their way into my everyday conversations.

Which cartoon character would you identify your show with: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Mickey Mouse, Marge Simpson?
Marge Simpson. This is largely because Marge so greatly parallels my character Hattie in "Laundry & Bourbon," a mother of three rambunctious children who is married to a hard-to-motivate husband. She has a distinctive accent, her own style and is a compassionate friend, but sometimes, she just needs a break from it all.

Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
Theater can certainly bring about societal change. Playwrights and artists have always been at the forefront of social and political causes. I believe that theater, when done well, can take the vitriol out of our sound-bite culture on hot topic issues and provide an intimate window into lives of people dealing daily with a variety of societal injustices. Theater is often a brave frontier, providing an initial forum for discussion of important issues that have not yet made their way into the national conversation, and a vital place of examination for those that have.