RS: Walking Across Egypt, Dancing at Lughnasa, Romeo and Juliet, and Outlander at Parkway, The Giver and Our Town at TheatreUNCA, and The Nutcracker with the High Country Ballet.
Q: What is a typical day like for you?
RS: After retirement, I drink coffee and take care of my 94yo mother in the morning, watch Braves baseball and hike in the woods with my dogs in the afternoon, either go to rehearsal at Parkway or drive over mountain to TN to see my sweetie/fiancée.
Q: Have you met new friends in the cast?
RS: Most of my circle of friends come from Parkway, with new members arriving with every production: from hops-tasting with microbrewer Doug Shaw, to discussing the virtues of fender rust with Bruce Chuvala, to nacho and script sampling at Bootlegs with Andrew Gall.
Q: At what age did you first know you wanted to act?
RS: Age 15. I went to an all-boy school, and had to hike up the road to the girls’ school because that’s where the theatre was. The play was The Importance of Being Earnest, and I thought I could do one of the butlers. To my surprise, I was cast as Jack Worthing, a lead. As I had never kissed a girl before, and the part called for an extended onstage smooch, I had to have kissing lessons with the cheerleader girl cast opposite me. I knew then that this was the kind of on-the-job training for me!
Q: What’s the #1 reason someone should see this show?
RS: LITERATURE – LOCAL – LAUGHTER – LOOMING. LITERATURE: Sharyn McCrumb has researched her novel with meticulous care, and written in a modern style, slipping time back and forth, until the characters have delivered all the information of the story in the order we need to hear it. Andrew Gall (as of this writing, as this is a new script in progress) has crafted a theatre piece that is actable and watchable that serves the novel well. LOCAL: This is the Civil War story told from a mountain perspective, both Union and rebel, both history-loving and re-enactor mocking. LAUGHTER: The spectator is let in on the local’s POV, laughing at each other and themselves. LOOMING: Realism vies with the supernatural in an effort to bring this war to an end — 150 years after Appomattox!
Q: If you could appear onstage with any classic actor or actress, who would it be and why?
RS: I have ASM’d Derek Jacobi’s Hamlet, and he wrote a recommendation letter to my graduate school. In 1977, he told me his career goal was to be acting at age 70. But I would love to time travel to play a nameless lawyer in a scene with Charles Macklin’s Shylock. At the end of a long career, Macklin took that character and locked it down as his own. Maybe there’s a Shylock in my future before 70.
Q: What is it like to work on a world premiere play?
RS: It is titillating! Knowing where it came from in literature, knowing the region and the people (at least the descendants), working with talented artists that push you to do better — we are making a baby, here! Something no one has every seen before. We will be listed as the “Original Cast” in the published playbook. For better or worse, we are making history telling history.
Q: Anything else that you’d like people to know about you?
RS: I love working in a venue where bankers, preachers, students, moms & dads & their children, teachers, factory workers, mail carriers, and, yes, ne’er-do-wells are valued and welcomed.