Continuing my discussion with Nancy Dussault, who is appearing at the Rubicon Theatre Company this week in Love, Loss & What I Wore, co-starring with Conchata Ferrell, Lauren Patten, Sandra Tsing Loh, and Alyson Lindsay.
VCOS: Is there a dynamic that changes your portrayal, depending on who you’re performing with?
NANCY: Because I only performed with one group, I’m extremely curious and eager to see what this next group brings. In New York, Lillias White was in it, and Veanne Cox, an extraordinary, crazy actress. Then there was this young woman, the chef, and one from the fashion industry, who actually started Fashion Week in New York. It was so interesting how well we all did together, and of course, we thought we were the best cast that they could possibly have. And the producer and the stage manager said, “Well, everybody always thinks that.” Every group that they bring in thinks that, and I’m sure that will happen up at the Rubicon. You bond together very quickly in this show. I can’t quite explain it, but it just works that way.
VCOS: After your week is done, are you going to watch any of the other groups?
NANCY: If I can. A few days after I finish, my husband and I are going to Ireland for three weeks. He just got his Irish citizenship, so we’re off. But I would love to see another group. I only saw it once before I went into it in New York. But Conchata Ferrell is going to be in my group – look at me, I’m calling it MY group already. OUR group! It’s interesting, are you going to see it more than once?
VCOS: I don’t think I’ll have time; I’m just going to see it with you.
NANCY: Good! (laughs)
VCOS: I wouldn’t miss this because of you and because of Conchata, who is one of my favorite comediennes.
NANCY: Oh, yes, she’s just great. And I don’t know her, so this is a treat for me. It’s interesting because I think a lot of people think this is more of a woman’s show, and I’ll be curious what you think.
VCOS: You’ll have to watch for our review here on VC On Stage.
NANCY: I will! I’m sorry I can’t be more explicit about my Gingy character and how I affect it and it affects me. But I think you’ll see when you’re there. This is not a part that you study. We have a rehearsal. We rehearse one day. All day. But there’s no talking back and forth with another character. Each story is like a monolog.
VCOS: Do you anticipate changing anything during the week as you go?
NANCY: Probably. It just happens that I think this particular show allows it without any repercussions. When you rehearse, you discuss some of the dynamics and what absolutely has to be clear, but there are opportunities for a different energy level and for some different dynamics. I think it’s all there for you. I think it’s one of those shows where every story is really given to you, it’s like a great piece of music; you really don’t have to do a lot (laughs). I’m hoping to God my own personality comes through because that’s part of my goal. Because these are all very real, real, real people.
VCOS: Did you ever get to meet Nora Ephron?
NANCY: No, but I knew her sister, who was around quite a bit when we were doing it, but not Nora. By that time, she was quite ill, which makes me sad that I never got to meet her. She was a very extraordinary talent and a very special woman. Everyone absolutely adored her. And of course her writings are just superb.
VCOS: If you had had a chance to meet her and ask her something about this play, what would you have asked?
NANCY: I assume the character I’m playing is more or less her, but I’m curious about some of the people she chose to write about, and I think that they were a lot of people she knew. But I’m always curious about a writer and how they choose what they write about. Are they all real people she knew? She started keeping a diary or a journal about all of this, but she never thought it would become an evening in the theater. Ever. Or even that it would be published. What are you interested in in a writer?
VCOS: I like it when it’s drawn from personal experience.
NANCY: Well, this is, absolutely. She was a woman who had a very funny take on life situations, and very observant. Women really do relate to this show. They really get into it. In general, they are more aware of their physicality and the effect of all that. But it’s a great combination of something that seems unimportant in the long run. Like what dress you put on. I think it’s all kind of fascinating. But you’re going to be highly amused and touched by this. And the charm of it is that you do get into the individual performers also.
In our next installment, Nancy talks about her history in television, working with Dick Van Dyke and on Broadway in The Sound of Music and Do Re Mi. Love, Loss & What I Wore begins a four-week run at the Rubicon Theatre Company this evening and continues through May 18 with a different cast each week. See the VC On Stage Calendar for dates and showtimes.