In the latest exchange article with TDF Stages, we’re excited to bring you a story about Gabra Zackman, an actress in her seventh year with Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, a theatre in upstate New York that has several shows rotating every summer. This summer, Zackman is playing all the female leads in the new hit comedy, The 39 Steps, and also inhabiting the role of a dairy maid in Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost.
For those of us who have balked at memorizing lines in a single page (c’mon, admit it!), imagine memorizing two plays worth of lines – or more!
Below is an excerpt of the article by Mark Blankenship. You can read the entire article by visiting TDF STAGES.
All My Characters Are Talking To Me
By Mark Blankenship
Just by itself, The 39 Steps is a challenging job for an actress: A low-tech, high-energy spoof of Hitchcock’s spy film, it requires four actors to play dozens of roles, hurl set pieces, and occasionally make shadow puppets.
But for Gabra Zackman, those hijinks are only half the equation. This summer, while she’s playing all the women in The 39 Steps, she’s also playing a bawdy dairy maid in Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost.
It’s all part of the schizophrenic life of a repertory player. This is Zackman’s seventh year with Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, which rotates multiple shows every summer in its elegant upstate venue. (This season, which runs through September 2, also includes Romeo and Juliet.)
As complex as it is, however, Zackman says that if she had a choice, she’d always do repertory work, never performing the same show two nights in a row.
“It never gets dull because you’re not allowed to be complacent,” she says. “You’re never allowed to sink into a routine because you don’t have that liberty when there’s another play every night.”
Plus, all those characters eventually “talk” to each other, or at least…