In Part 1 of a series of interviews with the cast of Peace Mountain Theatre Company’s A Delicate Balance, meet Nancy Blum.
Joel: Please introduce yourself and tell readers where they have seen you perform before on local stages.
Nancy: Hi, I’m Nancy Blum, and I last appeared in the title role of
Miss Witherspoon by Christopher Durang at Silver Spring Stage. Other recent performances include Humble Boy also at Silver Spring Stage, Tying the Knot at Fells Point Corner Theatre, The Eccentricities of a Nightingale (Rude Mechanicals), The Goddess Diaries (Capital Fringe Festival), God Don’t Like Ugly (Venus Theater, The Importance of Being Earnest (Maryland Ensemble Theatre) and Night Mother and The Little Foxes (Rockville Little Theatre). I have also played Mrs. Barker in The American Dream, an early one-act. I was very young to play Mrs. Barker and had no idea what I was doing. Nor did the director, I fear.
Why did you want to be part of the cast of A Delicate Balance?
I love Albee’s writing style, each word is perfect, you absolutely cannot paraphrase – you just cannot say it better than he has. Also, I have seen other plays directed by Laurie Freed and I knew she could put an excellent production together
Who are you in the show and what is your relationship to the other characters? How do you relate to your character?
I play Agnes, the wife and mother. Agnes is often caustic, can be cruel. But she has suffered a great loss and is sometimes disappointed in or angry with what she still has – her husband, daughter and sister, her home. But she is fighting for an ideal that she strives to maintain – the ideal of a loving, supportive, nuclear family. She has “old school” values, but they are values none the less. I understand her impatience with her family members – who hasn’t felt that – even while loving them? I had the opportunity to play Julia, the daughter, when I was in grad school in Pittsburgh and it is a real treat to come back to this script as the mother and to fully understand how annoying and spoiled the child can be. How many chances for a “do-over” do we get in life?
With Edward Albee’s recent passing, how does it feel to be working on one of his masterpieces?
He was one of our greatest playwrights. Every moment is a new discovery. It is an honor.
What do you think Edward Albee’s legacy should be? And how would you define an ‘Albee’ play?
Perhaps Albee’s legacy is the dissection of the “traditional, American nuclear family.” A Delicate Balance is 50 years old. Today our definition of family is so much broader, more inclusive, and yet the specific challenges within each relationship, husband/wife, father/daughter, mother/daughter, etc., are universal and remain valid. So, the American family today may look different than it did when Albee wrote this play, but the fragility of intimacy and the fear of “otherness” and nothingness are themes that resonate strongly today.
What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing A Delicate Balance?
I hope they will realize how common the “terror” is that is encountered in the play. Fear of the unknown, of societal changes, of death. If these fears are not talked about, shared, they can become contagious, overwhelming to an individual. Also, I hope people will see how much can be lost by retreating into silence, the sad, darkness of reserve and habit. It may be easier to retreat, but why waste those precious moments we have we those we love?
A Delicate Balance plays from November 10-20, 2016 at Peace Mountain Theatre Company performing at Congregation Har Shalom – 11510 Falls Road, in Potomac, MD. For tickets, purchase them at the door or online.
Bringing ‘A Delicate Balance’ to Potomac: Peace Mountain Theatre: Company will produce the Edward Albee play in November by Ashley Claire Simpson in The Potomac Almanac.