For the Love of Shakespeare

We welcome Rachel Flynn on her first show at The WorkShop Theater! In her last six years in New York audiences have been lucky to see her in Baby No More Times (Knitting Factory), Stop the Virgins, featuring the “Yeah Yeah Yeahs” (St. Ann’s Warehouse) and Heathers the Musical (New World Stages) where she originated the role of Stoner Chick.

Actress, Rachel Flynn

Q. What attracted you to the role?

 A. Laura wrote a beautifully strong character that I am enormously lucky to get to play. It is still embarrassingly rare for female characters (particularly female characters in love) to be endowed with as much agency, intelligence and humor as the boys. Whenever a female character gets to be in love, or in pain, or in trouble and still act according to her own conscience and intuition (instead of serving to teach a valuable lesson to the guys, or serving as a woeful cautionary tale) it’s a lucky day for actresses. At the end of the day, Laura wrote a wonderful love story and a smart, smart interpretation of a classic. I’m a lucky duck to get to be a part of that.

Q. What is the biggest challenge of playing Alyssa in this production?

A.  Logistically? Staying on task with a group of folks as fun as this one. It’s a problem. These folks are funny. Character-wise? Playing a love story without giving in to the tragedy all around us in this show. People show up knowing that Romeo and Juliet does NOT end well for most of the folks onstage (…spoiler alert? 600 year old spoiler alert?), but it’s important not to play the heaviness of that.

Q. Have you performed a lot of Shakespeare?  Do you feel it’s important for this piece, or not?

A.  I was crazy lucky to grow up next to Tina Packer’s Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA. I’m a proud and grateful student of their education program, which meant getting to stand up and grapple with Shakespeare’s text from the age of 12. We learned text work, stage combat, Linklater technique, and how to be open, engaged company members. It is very much one of the reasons I’m an actor today. Then I moved to New York and started doing musical theater and promptly never did any more Shakespeare. Oh, life. But now I get to do this!

Q.  What can audiences learn from your character? 

A.  Love means doing the hard thing. And when in doubt, sing some karaoke.


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