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‘night, Mother

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Laura Siner
April 3, 2013

What is your job on this show?
actor.

What is your show about?
Winner of the 1983 Pulitzer Prize, 'night, Mother tells the story of a seemingly regular Saturday evening in rural America at the ranch-style farmhouse that Thelma occupies with her middle-aged daughter, Jessie. The evening starts off normally until Jessie inquires about the whereabouts of her deceased father's gun.

When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
I first became involved in theater in grade school and by high school was very actively involved, but in college I began to try to push this passion aside. I had some idea that I should expose myself to new activities and pursue more “practical” subjects. But about a year after arriving in New York after college, I couldn’t ignore the itch to take a scene study class at night for fun. The joy in coming back to acting and theater made it clear to me that I could not push it aside and it would always have to be a part of my life.

Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
I can’t explain it very well, but there is something special and magical about the imaginary world created in the theater and the energy that flows between the performers and the audience. I love the process of collaborating with all the other individuals working on a show to create these experiences that are the same yet different every night. It is simultaneously satisfying, exhilarating and terrifying that once the lights come up no one will ever yell “cut!”

How did you meet your fellow artists/collaborators on this show?
I worked with Cyndy A. Marion when she directed In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel back in 2007. I’ve been a fan of White Horse Theater’s shows since then and jumped at the chance to audition for ‘night Mother.

Which famous person would you most like to get a fan letter from: Denzel Washington, Maggie Smith, Ang Lee, Jennifer Lawrence?
Well, if it can’t be Kathy Bates (who originated the role of Jessie on Broadway), then I’ll go with Maggie Smith, as her lengthy and impressive resume includes loads of theater, and it would be a thrill to find she even knew I existed.

Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
Not all theater pieces are created with this intent (nor need to be), but theater can be extremely powerful in the way it connects with the audience. Theater can raise issues, expose new ideas, deepen awareness about ourselves, and increase understanding of others. All of these things can foster personal and societal change.