In Part 4 of a series of interviews with the cast of The Little Theatre of Alexandria’s production of Charles Morey’s Laughing Stock, meet Abigail Ropp.
Joel: Where have local audiences seen you on the stage?
Abigail Ropp: At LTA last fall and most recently at Ambassador Theater in DC.
Why did you want to be part of the cast of Laughing Stock at LTA?
I’ve done a lot of dramatic work lately and wanted to get back to comedy, plus I loved my last experience at LTA and wanted to work here again.
Who do you play in the show? How do you relate to this character?
I play Mary, the classic ingenue type. We’ve all been a little bit “Mary” at some point – a little naive, inexperienced, but so enthusiastic and eager to learn anything she can. She’s a little self-centered, but without much of an ego, which I think makes her likable and fun, even when you’re rolling your eyes at her.
What’s the show about from the point of view of your character?
It’s about making it. Meeting professional artists, mentors, friends (lovers?), and the people that are going to shape the rest of your sure-to-be wildly successful career.
Which character is most like you and why?
Mary. Absolutely. We both have a tendency to look on the bright side and aren’t the type to give up easily. We’re focused and good at finding ways to have it all, whatever the obstacles, but I don’t think we’d hurt anyone to get it. And maybe we’re both a little naive and too idealistic sometimes.
What did you perform at your audition? Where were you when you got the call that you had the role?
One of my favorite pieces, History Lesson by David Lindsey Abaire. I got the call on my way to work, waiting for the train to arrive.
What have been some of the challenges you have faced preparing for your role and how has Director Shawn Byers help you through these challenges?
It’s a very physical show, which is so fun, but I’m a very cerebral actor, so while I can think through and visualize every move and decide what’s funny and what’s not in a very intellectual sense, getting my body to project the idea in my head is always one of my actor challenges. Shawn knows how to do that and how to communicate what he needs from me in a very specific way that’s really refreshing and reassuring.
What is your favorite scene that you are not in and why?
I love the scenes with Gordon and Sarah. Their relationship is kind of the heart of the play and I love watching Lars and Melissa navigate their characters’ messy past and how it affects their present – and who knows, maybe their future!
What is your favorite line or lines that your character recites and what is your favorite line that someone else recites in the show?
Oh man. There are some good ones, but I use the phrase “Way skankin’ yucky,” whatever that means, which is hilarious. Daisy has a line about storytelling that is really lovely and sums up what I love about theatre.
What are you doing next on the stage?
Oh jeez. I’ll let you know when I do.
What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing Laughing Stock?
The show is infinitely quotable, so I think they’ll walk out still laughing and quoting lines. We’re all playing very recognizable people – that’s where theatrical character archetypes come from, regular people you know and are or will become – and I think if people can walk out of there feeling like maybe us crazy theatre people aren’t so different after all, I’d feel pretty good about that. But most of all, I want audiences to relax and have a great time.