The versatile SUSAN IZATT, has been lucky to perform some amazing roles. But it’s no accident as she is versatile, vulnerable and commanding on stage. Back on the Main Stage in COMPOSURE she tells us about the experience.
Q. What first attracted you to COMPOSURE?
A. I’ve been doing some amazing roles with very, very strong writing, and that is what excites and attracts me the most as an actor. One of the most powerful pieces I ever worked in was a verse piece 1953, written by the UK Poet Laurette, Craig Raine, and it was no accident he was the Poet Laurette, the effect of his language and speaking in his verse was undeniably powerful. Another favorite roles are Rita in Educating Rita, I felt I was realy advocating for working class women and personal freedom as that character, and I loved playing Titania in A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream at The Will-A-Thon with Charles Gerber. I think her speeches are some of Shakespeare’s best, and they are eerily relevant to the politics and power players of today.
But my very attraction to the play? Actually, I was first interested because Scott wrote it. I am a big fan of his work and wanted to audition because of that. For me the writing is always the most important thing, and working with strong, beautiful writing is always so wonderful as an actor. And a great story. It’s everything. That said, the story is very moving, and actually very relatable, very human, and there is so much love (and pain). Of course it is a particular story, my character Amanda’s husband reveals he is gay after 14 years of marraige, he has that journey, and there are powerful subplots of death and loss. But all of the stories are about the power of love and our need for human connection. Love and loss are the bigger themes. That Romeo and Juliette’s story is woven thoroughout the play just adds to the artistry and beauty to the piece. It’s just a beautiful play.
Q. You were with this show in the JEWEL BOX, how is it different for the MAIN STAGE?
A. It’s really amazing actually, our director Fritz is working with us in a new physical equation, and the staging of course is shifting with the new set design and beiing on a proscenium stage. All that shifts and adds new layers to the piece. Being in a differant environment in a play is much like being in a new situation or place in life, it can help you see yourself afresh and to gain new perspectives. Just at our last rehearsal Fritz reworked the staging of a scene between Amanda and Jeff, with totally differant movement for the new set environment, and what was powerful to experience as an actor was how much the new staging effects the dynamic between the characters. That is part of the magic and artistry of staging and direction, it is not a static, set thing, it’s alive and it effects the whole of the character. So it’s intriguing to get to experience a new and deeper understanding of the character and the play’s situation this way. And I am so very grateful to get to work with Fritz again, and with CK. There is a level of trust that comes from having worked together before, and in some ways it feels like a continuation, with these characters we love, and we are getting to know them more than we had the chance to before, and we get to turn the play upside down a bit with the new environment, and experince how things shift and open up. And having been in previous versions, we are more intimate with the script and the characters, so every rewrite or any edit from Scott is especially informative, and deepens our understanding of the characters. I love it. And of course soon we will be working in our new costumes and the lights and sound. The fuller production design is very exciting. So, it’s really wonderful and exciting to get to approach the play again in a new environment.
Q. Your character deals with a lot of different types of losses… how do you as an actor deal with that?
A. I am not sure how to answer that. There is no recipe for that. One hopes to tell the truth of the character’s experience, to allow that. It is a beautiful story and yes there is so much love and loss.
Q. What about COMPOSURE feels most on the pulse of what is happening in the world today?
A. Well, of course the play’s plot line and story of the brutal shooting at the college is sadly current. Candle light vigils are something we see too often nowadays, the news is filled with horrifying events that should never ever happen. All of that “senseless” loss theme in the play is heartbreakingly current. I think the play’s way of dealing so honestly about love, and how love between people comes in many forms is a strong theme that is also very contemporary. And something that is maybe some of the best part of modern humanity: How we define love in more ways than at other points in history. I feel good advocating, as an actor and storyteller, for LOVE (caps intended) to be a driving force in the play. Even through Amanda’s pain, LOVE is there. Jeff chooses LOVE over fear. Everywhere, LOVE triumphs. Yeah, I can advocate for that. (Though, jeez who knew Scott C. Sickles was such a crazy romantic.)