Marilyn Hausfeld will debut Just Between Us – A Piano, A Mic, A Memory, October 1 – 4, 2015. She has performed in numerous theaters in the D.C. area including the Kennedy Center, Round House, Theater J, Source, Smithsonian and U.S. Holocaust Museum. Favorite roles include Golde in Fiddler on the Roof, Gorgeous in The Sisters Rosensweig, Stella Adler in Stella, Kate in Broadway Bound and Fanny Brice in In Good Company. The two person Beyond Shadowlands took her on a national university tour as the poet wife of C.S. Lewis. She also created the role of Debbie Strauss on NBC’s “Homicide” Marilyn holds a B.A. from Brooklyn College and an M.A. from George Washington University. She was chosen to be a fellow at the International Cabaret Conference at Yale. MarilynHausfeld.com. Follow her on Facebook.
Why are you a playwright?
I feel a bit presumptuous using the title of playwright. While I have created a theatrical piece, I don’t think of myself as a playwright in the traditional sense. This is actually the very first theatre piece I have written. I have been a professional actor for the last thirty years, with roles ranging from an alcoholic nymphomaniac to the Jewish mother of a Catholic priest.
In this solo play I can do what I have never done before – be myself on stage! No other medium would give me the chance to share my story face to face with a live audience. Removing the fourth wall is liberating and interactive! Music moves me in the most powerful way. The songs woven through the monologues punctuate the comedy and drama in a way that no other medium could allow.
What type of theatre most excites you?
Every type of theatre excites me. Whether it is fiction or fact, I am touched by a story that is honest.
What starts a play moving in your imagination?
Since this is my first play, my point of reference is specifically here. I didn’t even know that my experiences would be interesting to other people. Case in point – I was telling my musical director, Alex Rybeck, about my very first audition for the original Broadway production of The Sound of Music. I was about ten and had never been to a Broadway audition. My voice teacher handed me a piece of music I had never worked on and sent me to the Wintergarden theater, the largest on Broadway. I stepped out onto an enormous stage and started singing to a glowing cigarette in the middle of a totally dark theater. I suddenly froze completely. No sound came out of me. A voice said “Thank you very much dear” and I ran off the stage.
Alex interrupted and said that I should write all that down. I wondered why anyone would want to hear about it. It’s not like I am a famous person who people would want to know personal details about. Alex said that if a story is real, human and honest it is relatable to everyone. He was right. When we workshopped Just Between Us, so many responses were about how other people identified with incidents in their own lives where panic took over. This is a long answer to the question, but in my case, the play started moving in my recollection of real experiences.
WOMEN’S VOICES THEATER FESTIVAL
Just Between Us – A Piano, A Mic, A Memory
October2 – November 1, 2015
Washington Women in Theatre
at Source Theater
1835 14th St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
Details and Tickets
Do you have a favorite writing place?
I don’t have a particular writing place. I keep a pad and pencil next to my bed and on the dashboard of my car. I better explain the second one. I DON’T write while I’m driving! Sometimes I hear music and I get an idea. I pull over when I can safely write it down. In my show, for example, I talk about a composer/lyricist friend who was a huge influence on my life. She was the funniest and most talented person I have ever worked with. I had been searching for just the right song to describe my feelings after she died. A song came on the radio and I started crying on the Beltway. I knew I had just heard the song that captured everything I felt.
How did you choose this play to debut at the Festival?
Choosing this piece for the festival was simple, since it was the only piece I have written. I am a woman, mother, grandmother, actor,singer and writer. I have worked with Washington Women in Theatre as an actor and doing this particular work was a perfect fit. Karen Berman, Artistic Director, asked me to represent her theater and I am proud to be part of a festival celebrating women’s experiences.
Which female playwrights have influenced your writing and how?
Wendy Wasserstein, Sarah Ruhl, Paula Vogel, Anna Deavere Smith, Elaine May, Lillian Hellman and so many more I’m probably not remembering. All of these women knew how to convey heartfelt emotions in an honest way.
What’s missing from theatre today?
What’s missing in theatre today is an audience under the age of fifty. We need to find ways to get people hooked on theatre early in life. It is crucial to provide theatre experiences for children and teens so that they are open to going to and being part of theatre as they mature.
What are you working on now?
I am currently working on finding ways to take my theatre piece to other venues. I would like to encourage other women to share their experiences.
Answer this: “If I weren’t a playwright, I would be … “
If I weren’t a playwright, creator of theatre, or an actor/singer , I don’t know how I would fill my soul.
Anything you would like to add?
Being selected for an incredible cabaret program at Yale a few years ago, changed my life. I never thought I would be writing and performing a one woman show at my present stage of life- too old for “American Idol” and too young for bathtubs that open in the front. I’d like audiences to know that it is never too late to discover yourself. We all have stories that have been writing themselves in our heads. Mine just happened to present itself with a sound track.
DCTS’ Guide to Women’s Voices Theater Festival
More interviews with WVTF playwrights
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