Just last fall, New York Press named Susan Louise O’Connor one of the city’s best kept theater secrets. Slowly but surely, that secret’s getting out: O’Connor is currently playing the role of a secretary with secrets of her own in the new Victor L. Cahn play. (Cahn also co-stars in the two-hander, currently playing at Theater Row’s Clurman Theater.) We caught up with O’Connor to hear more about her experience on this show.
NYP: What drew you to this play? And this character?
SLO: I was drawn to this play for a variety of reasons, the most obvious being the opportunity to be in the world premiere of two-person play on Theater Row. It’s such a gift to be on stage the whole time riding the wave of performance with your scene partner and the audience.
NYP: You have worked with producers Eric Parness and Rachel Reiner before, right? What do you like best about them?
SLO: I worked with Resonance Ensemble on Charles Mee’s play, Mail Order Bride, that Eric directed. It is a fantastic company to work for – they are inventive, focused and have a great mission statement. I bet they’ll around for a long, long time and I hope to work for them again. Rachel and Eric are the epitome of professional.
NYP: What do you like best about Patricia? What drew you to the character?
SLO: Patricia is complicated and needy and by the end of the play, so strong. I love the challenge of rooting Patricia’s choices in emotional needs that come about on stage in front of the audience. Adam Fitzgerald, who is an AMAZING director, has been so supportive and imaginative in helping me discover these onstage triggers. I don’t normally play femme fatale roles, and it’s a wonderful and constant challenge to find the vulnerability in actions that could be perceived as nasty and mean. How do you share with the audience the decision making that goes into those ‘nasty’ choices, root those same choices in real needs, and stay true to the script and the author’s intent all the while? I love those questions and I love trying out the possibilities.
NYP: As an actress, how do you justify the things she does?
SLO: Patricia wants to succeed. She wants someone to mentor her and care for her, but more than anything, she wants to succeed. She is excellent at her new-found job and in it, has found the thing that lights her fire. So, she fights hard for the thing she loves.
NYP: Have you ever held a secretarial/admin gig? If so, how did that go?
SLO: I have been an administrative assistant. I am, as Victor, the talented and kind playwright will tell you, a bit of a Type-A personality and there are things about office work that very much suit me. But, I’m also kind of like a trapped bird when I’m in an office for an extended period of time. I keep slamming myself against the window trying to get out.
Getting the Business runs through September 1. For more information about this show, go to http://www.rachelreiner.com/.
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