Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Streetcar Named Desire - meet cast member Abigail Ropp

What do you find appealing about your character and this show?

I have several small character roles, but most notably I play a Poor Woman and a Strange Woman. I grew up in a remote rural area in Michigan, so I can appreciate the economic dichotomy between Poor Woman and Blanche at the top of the show. Strange Woman at the end of the show is cold and emotionless. While that might not make her too appealing as a human, I love contrasting her austerity with Blanche's mania. She has about four or five lines, but each one is fraught with meaning and an intensity that I find fascinating.

Streetcar is an all-time favorite of mine, as is Tennessee Williams. There are amazing female characters in this show, beautiful, fragile, hard, complex women. You might not always agree with their words or decisions, but you sure understand them. Williams' text reflects his characters in Streetcar - smart, beautiful, intimate prose that knocks you down and kicks you while you're there.

What have you learned about yourself in playing the role of Poor Woman/Strange Woman?

For an actor, the terrible/wonderful thing about working on a Tennessee Williams play is the realities you're forced to accept about yourself. I am completely capable of shutting down emotionally and not giving a damn about the human pain and suffering I bear immediate witness to. Being a caring, compassionate human doesn't just happen - it's an effort you have to make all day, every day.

What do you want the audience to experience/take away from this show?

Love each other. Listen to one another. Feel each other's pain. Hug each other. Forgive others. Forgive yourself.

How does this show differ from other shows you have worked on?

More than any other show I've been a part of, Streetcar is emotionally exhausting. Hearing the words, watching my castmates experience what Williams asks them to, over and over again, is so hard. But it's also weirdly inspiring. It makes me want to be a better person and ease some of the hurt in the world.

How long have you been acting and what made you get involved in theatre? How did you get involved with LTA?

I guess my first role was chorus in Beauty and the Beast in the fourth grade. My initial impetus for getting involved was because my big sisters did school plays and it seemed like I should too. My next role was a unicorn when I was ten, a non-speaking part that basically pranced around and caused trouble. I didn't think much of the part until we opened - and people applauded. For me. I was just up there, doing what came naturally, and I got so much positive feedback. For a shy kid with hardcore middle child syndrome, that was a game-changer.

Streetcar is the first show I've auditioned for with LTA. I'm a recent transplant to the area, and a friend came across the audition announcement and encouraged me to audition.

What advice would you give others who are interested in working in theatre?

If you're going to do theatre (or anything else in life), commit. If you don't care, no one else will. Take classes in what you're interested in, pursue the art in you, and keep going. Tell your story, the rest will take care of itself.
 Tickets can be purchased online at

1 comment:

  1. Nicely done interview .I like your final comment about pusuing the art in you and telling your story.