I’m asking veteran local actors to name five dream roles and say why. The answers not only reveal aspirations, they may put an idea in the minds of artistic directors and producers — even choices that may seem outside the box.
Jacque Wilke as Ann Deever in All My Sons
Craig Noel Award-winner Jacque Wilke
“What a task! The easiest way for me to narrow it down was choose my favorite writers, and go from there. So much of acting, for me, is working with the text and being able to trust the words. Where the language is well developed, the character jumps right off the page. Here we go…”
1.) Katherina Minola, The Taming of the Shrew, by William Shakespeare. “She’s tough, she’s witty, and a hard egg to crack. I love her arc. She goes from being this wildly independent, child-like, and headstrong girl into a ‘tamed’ woman, all in the name of love. She has lovely comedic banter, rhythm, and physical comedy that make the role enticing and alluring to tackle.
2.) Blanche DuBois, A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams. “One of the most complex and tragic female characters ever written, right up there with Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Linda Loman in Death of a Salesman. They’ve been done time and again because they are classic, they are meaty, and they are powerful. The opportunity to delve into that much pain, humanity, mental anguish, and step into the skin of those women — it’s an actress’ dream!”
Jacque Wilke as Barbara Ellen in The New Century
3.) Macon, Abundance, by Beth Henley. “I think every actress is familiar with Beth Henley’s incredibly quirky and bold characters. Macon is a powerhouse of strength and intelligence. She’s a survivor; a business woman in the Wild West, when women were merely churning butter and baking breads. She has a hardness about her, but is breathtakingly human. The juxtaposition of humor and literal life and death make her an incredibly intriguing female character I would love to explore.”
4.) Miss Agatha Hannigan, Annie, by Thomas Meehan. “The first musical I saw as a child, and it was the movie (I may have just ruined my rep with all my musical theater friends, ha!). I grew up watching Carol Burnett play this child-hating, scheming alcoholic, and I have always — always — wanted a stab at creating Hannigan. The period, the music, and the feel-good story make for a delightful package. Plus, who doesn’t love to hate Old Agatha?”
5.) Any female character in Noises Off, by Michael Frayn. “Comedies and farces have always had my heart. I love the pace, the absurdity; ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. I find Noises Off absolutely hilarious, maybe because I’m in the theater, and theater people relate and find the humor that much more for this ‘play within a play.’ If given the opportunity to play all of the female roles at different times in my life, I could die a happy woman — and what an interesting journey that would be! If I had to take my pick, Mrs. Clackett would be the winner.”