Gray Mole is blind. And he loves to burrow. He has an incredible ability to sense the world around him and a lyrical way of describing it. He can be extremely shy at first, but eventually warms to his surroundings.
How do you prep for a role like this one or roles you have played in general?
I always start with research. And I must say, this role has been especially fun to unearth. I have read a great deal about this tiny, velvety insectivorous mammal. Thanks to Fletcher Free Library, Google, and YouTube, I am well-versed in this fascinating fur ball. Videos have proven to be particularly effective when exploring the shape, gesture, movement, and rhythm of this character. I am aware that I will not fully uncover Gray Mole in books and Google searches, however, I find that research gives me a rich foundation of specificity from which to build the character. The more vivid the palate, the more vivid portrait.
What do you like most about this play? Like least?
Blackberry Winter is not a true story, but one that is truthful. It is fearless in its language and singular in its telling. I admire plays that don't look or feel like anything I've ever seen before.
I confess that I did not like the way this play ended when I read it. It felt incomplete. I wanted more. But, as any thespian knows, a play is not meant to be read, but to be performed. I finally saw the last scene performed by the brilliant Karen Lefkoe at the end our first week, and it took my breath away. Now, I get it.
How would you to describe this play to our audience? Thematic elements? Style, etc.?
It's a one-woman-show plus. The White Egret and Gray Mole are merely players in Vivienne's world. In terms of its tone, this play is unabashed. It's poetic. It's real. It's witty. It's wise. It is heartbreaking and uplifting and everything in between.
What would you like them to leave thinking/ talking about?
As Vivienne is processing a harsh realization toward the end of the play, she speaks a line of text that I quickly underlined, highlighted, and repeated out loud when I came upon it for the first time: "Let me never wish away a moment of this life." I have not yet zeroed in on precisely what playwright, Steve Yockey, is saying with this play, but that line will be my takeaway.