In Part 1 of a series of interviews with the cast of McLean Community Players’ Unnecessary Farce, meet Marilyn Pifer.
Joel: Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you on local stages and what roles you have played.
Marilyn: I’m Marilyn Pifer, returning to the stage after an absence of several years. I’ve played in several community productions, but this is my first in the DC area. So you’ve missed me as Lenny in Crimes of the Heart, Melissa in Love Letters, Gerry in Play On!, all Three Sisters in The Good Doctor, and the Magic Mirror in Snow White, among others.
Have you appeared in a farce before? Why did you want to be part of Unnecessary Farce?
I’ve appeared in (and directed) several comedies and a British-style pantomime, but this is my first farce. The script is so well-written I was hooked from the time I started to prepare for the audition – even the stage directions made me laugh!
How does farce differ from comedy? Is it more difficult from an actor’s point of view?
Farce reaches a higher level of silliness; it’s more physical and even more dependent on timing than most comedy. In that sense, it is more demanding and requires the actors to work together seamlessly.
Who do you play in the show, and how do you relate to your character? Does this character have any of your personality or character traits?
I play Mary Meekly, the Mayor’s wife. It’s one of the smallest roles in the show, but a very important one. Mary is worried about her husband, and for good reason, though not the reason she initially suspects. I am afraid I share very few character traits with this sweet lady.
What is your favorite line in the show?
“Och! Fur cripes cryin’ Christmas oan a bike!” (My other favorites are spoilers.)
What have been some of the challenges you have had during rehearsals, and how did Director Jessie Roberts help you with these challenges?
Did I mention the need for great timing? Jessie makes sure the pace of this 8-door farce is just right.
My character, Mary, has a few lines in Scottish that could have been a real struggle. Jessie found a great dialect coach to work on the Scottish accents.
What has impressed you most about your fellow cast members?
Especially as we’ve gotten closer to opening night, I love seeing the little embellishments each member of the cast is bringing to their performances. Everyone has a great comic sense and is quite willing to appear ridiculous when necessary – which in this show is rather often.
What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing you perform in Unnecessary Farce?
I hope that, in the relatively short time Mary Meekly is on stage, she can impress on the audience that even the meek Mayor’s wife has some unexpected depth to her character.
Unnecessary Farce plays from April 29-May 14, 2016 at McLean Community Players performing at The Alden Theatre – 1234 Ingleside Avenue, in McLean, VA. For tickets, buy them at the box office, or purchase them online.