Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike- meet cast member Marilyn Pifer
What do I find appealing about Cassandra and the show?
Playing Cassandra lets me be dramatically wacky, and that’s always great fun. Moreover, the characters I’ve played in my last three shows have been either somewhat or completely evil. Cassandra is good-hearted (if a bit of a nut), and that’s a very nice change.
What have I learned about myself playing Cassandra?
With this role, I had to stretch farther than usual to develop my character and her backstory. I’ve never known anyone quite like Cassandra! Fortunately, the playwright gave me a lot to work with. I also needed help on her gentle Pennsylvania Dutch accent, which Howard, our director, was happy to give.
What do I want the audience to experience/take away from the show?
I hope that every audience member finds a situation or character in the show that s/he relates to. This very funny show has many tender moments and serious themes. If we as a cast treat those moments with both humor and respect, we’ll connect with our audiences and make them all feel happy they spent a couple of hours with us. And of course I hope they all laugh until their sides hurt!
How does this show differ from other shows I've worked on?
I love playing with such a tight ensemble. More than many other plays with a similar cast size, Vanya/Sonia involves complex relationships between every character and each of the others. That sociologic web is something that Howard emphasized right from the beginning, and it’s helped us work very well as a coherent team.
How long have I been acting and what made me get involved in theater? How did I get involved with LTA?
I acted in as many shows as possible in high school and college. Then due to job, family, and life events, I had a few rather long stretches away from the stage. It was only in early 2016 that I started acting in this region. Since then I’ve joined the board of the Vienna Theatre Company and have auditioned regularly with several different groups. This is my fourth show in the DC area, and my first at LTA.
What advice would you give others who are interested in working in theater?
See shows at several community theatres in the area, and if you like what you see, sign up for the theatres’ mailing lists. Watch your inbox and their websites for upcoming productions and calls for auditions and volunteers. Then go for it! Try out and/or offer your talent on the production side. Every show needs many volunteers. You might also take acting or technical production classes offered by LTA and other community and professional theatres. If you don’t get cast right away, keep trying. There are so many theatre groups in this area, you’ll have lots of possibilities.