In Part 5 of a series of interviews with the cast of The Montgomery Playhouse’s Postmortem, meet Nora Zanger.
Joel: Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you perform before on local stages.
My name is Nora Zanger and I play Marion Barrett in Postmortem. Marion is Gillette’s sister and married to Leo. She is an actress. The last time I worked with Montgomery Playhouse was in their production of Evita. I have performed in various community theatres in Virginia and Maryland. My last big performance was in the musical Hairspray where I played the fun role of nasty Velma Von Tussle. I have performed in both musicals and plays. Postmortem is my second Ken Ludwig play, having played the role of Meg in Leading Ladies with 2nd Star Productions in Bowie MD.
Why did you want to become a member of the cast of Postmortem?
I wanted to be in Postmortem because I was I intrigued when I read the synopsis of the play. It sounded like a fun play and also a different kind of show. I’m always looking to expand my experiences and welcome the opportunity of doing different kinds of shows.
Who do you play in the show and how do you relate to this character?
In Postmortem, I play the role of Marion Barrett. She is the sister of William Gillette who is the one to bring the whole group together for this mystery weekend. Marion is a long-time actress, married to Leo Barrett, and niece of Lily. She is friends with Bobby. I can totally relate to Marion because not only is she an actress, but she is also very loyal to her family, and also stands up for herself. She wants to be loved and appreciated, and sometimes she has to hide her vulnerability. At times Marion can be cynical and she definitely holds on to some past grudges. But she means well and wants to have her turn in the spotlight.
What were some of the challenges you faced while learning your role and how did Director Loretto McNally help you with these challenges?
Some of the challenges I faced were coming to terms with whether Marion was a likable person or not. She’s rather cynical and sarcastic at times, but a lot of those qualities are caused by her insecurity and her need to feel loved and appreciated. She has some jealousy issues and questions herself as to whether she measures up to other people. She sometimes wonders if her own husband truly loves her. Loretto gave me a lot of time to find this character and make her my own. She listened to my suggestions and allowed me to try new things. Loretto is very supportive of her actors and is very collaborative. We talked as a cast about our characters a lot and what their motivations were in certain scenes.
What does Postmortem have to say to today’s audiences?
I believe this play really shows the relationships between people – brothers and sisters, husbands and wives – and shows how women of that era were trying to become more independent and find their place in a changing world.
Which character is most like you and why and how?
I am probably most like Marion. Like Marion, I am an actress. I also want to find love and be in a loving relationship. I deeply care about my friends and family, but I also do not allow people to take me for granted, and will always stand up for myself. I agonize that sometimes I do get jealous of other people and compare myself to others. I do feel a need to be loved, appreciated and have my time to shine. I can also by sarcastic at times.
What are your favorite lines that you recite and your favorite lines that other characters recite in Postmortem?
Most of my favorite lines would give too much away about the characters and the play. I love the cynical or sarcastic remarks that I say to some of the other characters but I also love some of the sweet and loving lines which demonstrate Marion’s positive characteristics. I love that the character of Marion is very three dimensional; at times she can make the audience annoyed at her and other times make them care about her.
What are you performing on the stage after Postmortem?
I don’t know. I have a few auditions that I’m planning to attend, so I’m hoping I’ll have something new to look forward to soon.
What do you want audience members to take away with them after seeing you perform in Postmortem?
I hope the audience enjoys this ensemble show, and will appreciate the time and effort every actor took to make these roles their own, and make them interesting. I hope the audience gets caught up in the story and the action and that the story will keep them guessing about all of the twists and turns and that they’ll be surprised by how things end up. I also hope that audience members will be entertained and have a wonderful night at the theater. Every actor has worked extremely hard and I hope that we keep the audience guessing about what really happened to Maude. I hope the audience really love the show and will spread the word.
Postmortem plays through November 20, 2016 at The Montgomery Playhouse performing at the Kentlands Arts Barn – 311 Kent Square Road, in Gaithersburg, MD. For tickets, call the box office at (301) 258-6394, or purchase them online.
Meet the cast of ‘Postmortem’ at Montgomery Playhouse, Part 1: Gemma Davimes.
Meet the Cast of ‘Postmortem’ at Montgomery Playhouse: Part 2: Dell Pendergrast.
Meet the cast of ‘Postmortem’ at Montgomery Playhouse: Part 3: Sydney Ouellette.
Meet the Cast of ‘Postmortem’ at Montgomery Playhouse: Part 4: Carole Preston.
Meet the Cast of ‘Postmortem’ at Montgomery Playhouse: Part 5: Nora Zanger.