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It is our great pleasure to introduce to you the four young actors who will be starring in SpeakEasy Stage Company’s New England Premiere production of BAD JEWS, running Oct. 24 – Nov. 29.
The play, which The New York Times called “the best comedy of the season” focuses on the battle between two cousins, Liam and Daphna, for ownership of a coveted family heirloom. Also in the fray are Liam’s brother Jonah and Liam’s girlfriend Melody.
Gillian Mariner Gordon, the actress who plays Melody, shares her thoughts on her optimistic and sometimes “Pollyanna-ish” character.
How would you describe your character?
Melody is Liam’s non-Jewish girlfriend. She has an all-American quality, and at the same time, is a very new soul. Melody’s kindness is what buffers her naive and uncomplicated ideas. But do not be mistaken: she has a fire in her that blazes at times!
What parallels can you draw between you and Melody? Do any of your own beliefs and customs inform your take on Melody?
We both share an interest in music, however, we’ve followed VERY different paths! I’m also a quiet person, so I can relate to how Melody sometimes feels when interacting with the other characters. In addition, I don’t live with organized religion in my life, and I am not sure Melody does either. She is deemed a Christian by one of the other characters, but she never actually mentions a connection to any religion; I think that we may have that in common too.
What has been your biggest challenge when approaching this piece?
Melody is more lightly drawn than the other characters in the play, and is, in the mind of the other characters, a bit simple. My goal is to demonstrate that her take on life does not mean she is not an intelligent person. It’s difficult to make that distinction, but I think that’s what makes Melody human and a compelling character.
What is your favorite quote from the play (from any character) and why?
I like the line when Melody says: “We’re going to respect (Daphna) and listen to her because we are good people and that is what good people do.” If everyone took a page from this quote, had the patience to allow others to be heard, and respected and listened to others’ beliefs, I am sure we’d all be in better shape. It may sound Pollyanna-ish, but one shouldn’t stomp on others’ beliefs or their right to speak their mind. It’s a golden nugget of a quote.
Has playing a character so similar to your own age been challenging or has it made the connection to Melody easier?
It has been refreshing to play a character so close to my age. At times, I find playing Melody comforting because it gives validation to the fact that being a “twenty-something” is scary and raw for everyone. At other times, playing the character is a bit disconcerting because of the ugly ways in which these characters settle (or don’t settle) their problems. Also, because the characters are a tiny bit further ahead of me age-wise, playing someone close to my age is a reminder of the unlikely places life can take us.