Rosemary with Ginger will spice up the stage at Capital Fringe Festival!
Edward Allan Baker’s one-act play, Rosemary with Ginger, raises many questions about the nature of family devotion. How much is too much? When do the mistakes of one generation stop haunting the lives of the next? What do you do when the person you love most in the world has decided to annihilate herself – and take others with her? This snapshot into the lives of two sisters at odds with each other and themselves presents characters fighting on one of the bloodiest battle fronts ever known – family. As the play unfolds, the sisters compare scars, open new wounds, and fight to change what appears to be a legacy of chaos, loss, and self-destruction.
This is Colleen McKenna’s second time performing the role of “Rosemary”; she workshopped the play for her final project as a graduate of The Theatre Lab’s Honors Acting Conservatory. “We had to do two-person plays, and we only had one guy in our group. Everyone was scrambling to find plays with strong female characters. I was at Backstage Books, browsing the shelves, and the title jumped out at me from the book spine. My mother’s name is Rosemary.”
Once she read the play, she found she loved the dynamic between the two sisters: “Everything that happens is anchored between the two of them. They mention the men in their lives, but the play is not about doing things to please them or placate them. Both women have their own unique strengths and weaknesses, which contribute to their troubles.”
Colleen enjoys the process of deeply understanding and fleshing out a character, skills she developed through her study at The Theatre Lab. Though, she is probably best known around DC for her improv comedy, and has performed as a member of the troupes “Pluto’s Last Stand” and “Loser Josh” all over DC and in UCB’s Del Close Marathon in New York.
When Colleen found out her “Ginger” from her Theatre Lab show was going to be out of the country in July, she set up auditions to cast a new actor in the role. She was pleasantly surprised when fellow improviser Jaime Fearer expressed her interest.
Jaime started taking classes at Washington Improv Theater in 2004. Soon, she found herself as a Teaching Assistant at WIT, and met Colleen, a student at the time, in one of the first classes she taught. Some of Jaime’s improv credits include performing as a cast member of Washington Improv Theater’s POTUS Among Us in 2008; as a member of WIT-affiliated troupes “The Shower” and “Season Six” as well as the independent troupe “Fuego”; and performing at the Del Close Marathon, the Dirty South Improv/NC Comedy Arts Festival, and the Charleston Comedy Festival.
For as much improv as she’s done, Jaime hasn’t acted in a scripted role since high school. “Memorizing is a whole new world, and slightly terrifying to me,” Jaime admits. However, she revealed that she was drawn to this project because of its similarity to the type of performing she has done in the past. “I liked that it was two people. Colleen is someone I’ve improvised with before, and enjoy working with because we’ve got good chemistry. I thought this play might be a comfortable place for me to start. It’s heavily conversational, which is similar to improv.” Colleen is grateful to have such a strong performer on stage with her. “Jaime has long-been a well-regarded, established improv talent in DC. I was a bit amazed that she would want to be involved with this little scripted project of mine. As soon as she read, though, I heard a sense of humor in the character that was different and fun. It has been so cool to work with her.”
Colleen says that as the two of them rehearse, she’s finding more humor in the play than she did the first time around, which is likely a by-product of their collective improv experience. Both actors are physical players and possess a readiness to be in the moment. Allowing for spontaneity during rehearsals, they found these sisters have playfulness between them that helps temper the more serious themes of the play, such as substance dependency.
Addiction is one of the main themes of the play. As the sisters discuss their family history, we see patterns gradually reveal themselves. “When someone is addicted in a family, it has far-reaching effects, across generations and even after they’re gone,” Colleen says. “But when there’s love, there’s hope. It takes a special kind of patience to help someone through something so destructive.” Colleen dedicates this production to all those who struggle with addiction and the people who love them.
Tiger’s Blood Theater is proud to present Rosemary with Ginger, with technical direction by Abe Woycke. Colleen and Jaime are also extremely grateful for the advice of directorial advisor Delia Taylor, who brings the magic of imagination and soulfulness to any production she touches. Delia is on staff at Theater J, a frequent guest artist at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Indiana, and a teacher and director with The Theatre Lab for the past 15 years, most recently presenting Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County.
At Fort Fringe – The Shop – 607 New York Ave. NW, in Washington, DC.
July 12 at 6:45 PM
July 13 at 11:00 PM
July 16 at 8:00 PM
July 19 at 6:30 PM
July 21 at 5:45 PM
July 28 at 1:00 PM
PURCHASE TICKETS HERE, or call (866) 811-4111.
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ABOUT CAPITAL FRINGE: Capital Fringe is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 2005 with the purpose of connecting exploratory artists with adventurous audiences by creating outlets and spaces for creative, cutting-edge, and contemporary performance in the District. Capital Fringe’s vital programs ensure the growth and continued health of the local and regional performing arts community by helping artists become independent producers while stimulating the vibrant cultural landscape in our city. Official Hashtags: #capfringe13 #CapFringeSoldOut