Thursday, August 15, 2013

Spotlight On...Gloria Rosen

Name: Gloria Rosen

Hometown: NYC

Education: BA/MA History/Theater NYU

Favorite Credits:
How To Break Up With Your Mother (Mother); Anna Christie (Marthy); On The Beach (Clair, winner Estro Festival)

Why theater?: The most exciting aspect of theater is to perform each night as if it’s the first time every time. It’s a live organism that keeps growing and changing and there are infinite possibilities.  Audiences can subtly affect a performance – sometimes a line that always gets a laugh does not but something else will – it’s always a surprise and always exciting. And it has very personal meaning for me – because way back before caption tv, there was myself sitting in front of the little black and white set mouthing every word that was said so my deaf parents could  follow the stories. And one day I took a puppet to school and created a whole act for us and finally got to be the one on stage talking out loud and laughing and crying and I thought that was just great. I still do.

Tell us about Listen…Can You Hear Me Now?:
This is my personal story of growing up as a hearing child and sole interpreter for my deaf parents – it was a unique situation because I was not allowed to learn sign language – although this was my father’s primary means of communication.  In the course of the performance I play myself as a young child involved in the action of the piece, and  as my present day grownup self communicating directly to the audience. In addition -  I morph into 26 other characters, a small sample being: Jewish Grandma; Little Puppet Head; Deaf Parents; Frustrated Actor Relay Operator; Liberating Best Friend; Loud Mouth Aunt and Clueless Social Worker.

What inspired you to create Listen…Can You Hear Me Now?:
There is both a who and a what here.  The who was my acting coach and mentor, Peter Flint.  I started sharing some of the stories of my life with him, and it was his idea to write a play – even though I was pretty sure I did not remember anything worthwhile!  But Peter was gently relentless – and in 2005 I did start to write it all down and began performing a 20 minute version in 2007 and it has now grown up into a full hour. As for the what – on the surface this is about being an outsider to my parents deaf world. But there is a more universal theme –it’s for anyone who grew up not quite fitting into the “norm” –  could be gay or too big or too small or the wrong color or a strange accent – all of these can make one feel excluded and of little value. But we are all unique – and we can all find our own voices and be  happy with who we are and take joy in that.  That’s what I want for this show – to let people know that someone hears them and is listening.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Theater that celebrates the heroic.  Actors who cross the line and leave it all on the stage without self indulgence.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I think it would be great fun to work with any of my coaching students!

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Always Les Miserables (the Broadway version) – for celebrating the hero and its glorious music that stays with the soul forever.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Christina Ricci as she was in "The Addams Family" would be just deadpan enough to play me as a child in my own show.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: I would love to find the time to go sit under a big tree with a book and read all day while snacking on tiramisu.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: No options here…theater is my life.

What’s up next?: The book version of the show.  Since I now have enough material for War and Peace, I guess it’s time to get it started. In addition – I recently was asked to perform part of the show with a talkback for a high school sign language class.  Traveling with the show to venues such as this one – to entertain and to inform – would be ideal.