Name: Lynne McCollough
Hometown: Didn’t really have one, we moved a lot when I was growing up. We spent the longest period of time in Tehran, Iran; second longest was Potomac, MD. I have extended family in Allentown, PA.
Education: Tehran American School; Emerson College, Boston.
Select Credits: The Hannah track in Angels in America at the Signature; Carol in Sam Hunter’s A Permanent Image at the Boise Contemporary; Jolene Palmer/Aileen Wuornos in Self Defense (or Death of Some Salesmen) at HERE; Six Women of Cairo, GA in Cavedweller at New York Theatre Workshop. And Esther in The Twelfth Labor, of course. She’s moving to the top of my list.
Why theater?: I was a very self-conscious and intense kid, and I think theatre helped me get out of myself – it gave me permission to take on different ways of being in the world, and that was liberating. And in learning about someone you are bringing to the stage, you are learning about yourself and about humanity – what makes us tick. It’s a rich world, being an actor. I love writing too, but the collaborative nature of theatre, when it is allowed to be collaborative, it’s just wonderful. Theater was my way into the world, and my way of being with others. Of being with myself, really. So it brought me full circle back into myself. What can I say, it completes me.
Who do you play in The Twelfth Labor?: Esther, aka Mama. She’s a woman who’s been deeply disappointed by life, but who has a will of iron and tremendous pride. She’s determined to see her family through a very difficult time, even if it means ‘giving up her soul’, in her words. She just wants her kids to have a better life than she has had and she’s doing her best to give them that, however flawed her approach may be.
Tell us about The Twelfth Labor: It’s the story of a young girl and her family, struggling to survive harsh circumstances on a poor farm in Idaho during WWII. Because Cleo is ‘special’, we get to see that world through her eyes and ears, so there’s whimsy and magic along with the very real pain of the family’s desperate situation.
What is it like being a part of The Twelfth Labor?: Pure unadulterated joy! To start with, I love this play. LOVE it. And this role is an actor’s dream. But what really makes it glorious is the talented group of people the Loading Dock has managed to assemble. I had worked with Steve and Matt and Erin before, and had been really hoping to do so again. Now, on top of that powerbase, we’ve got a terrific cast, crew and design team that couldn’t be better. I’m just so excited to be bringing this to an audience at last!
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I really love doing new plays, exploring something for the first time. I love theatre that’s rich in language, poetry, images. Theatre that tells a story that puts us in touch with our lives by making visible, in some way, what’s going on in the lives of others. Something that shares that human experience. To have that happening - live, in the moment, with a room full of seeming strangers all come together for a few precious hours – feels like the closest I could ever get to god.
Any roles you’re dying to play?: I take delight in pretty much any role, and like to think I have a good range. Since I do love doing new work, I may not have met the roles I am dying to play yet :-)
What’s your favorite showtune?: Anything by Sondheim, I played West Side Story to a nub when I was a kid. “Something’s Coming,” if I had to pick one.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: It was Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and it will take me a while to accept that loss. I don’t dare separate anyone else out after that, but there are so many extraordinary actors out there, known and not – I am determined to work with as many of them as possible.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I’d be played by the love child of Fran Lebowitz and Eckhardt Tolle, and the movie would be called “The Long Haul – Late Bloomers are the Last to Fade.”
What show have you recommended to your friends?: Most recently, And I And Silence, at the Signature. For movies, “A Most Wanted Man.” Documentary, “Paradise Lost I, II, and III.”
What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: I’m embarrassed to admit, I don’t listen to music very often. I can’t do anything else when I listen to it, except maybe dance or exercise. I’ve been doing more reading these days, so music has been neglected by me lately.
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Crunchy Cheetos! And pumpkin pie with Cool Whip.
What’s up next?: I’m writing a performance piece (tentatively titled I Ran Far, See?), about growing up in Tehran before the Islamic Revolution. Stay tuned…