Jocelyn Roddie: In Depth

jocelynWhat excites you most about this show?
I love the passion and personalities of all of the characters [in A Month in the Country]. James [Nelson], our director, told us from the get go at auditions that this is a show that lives and dies by its relationships. These relationships are beautifully complex and full of goodies that we actors get to play with, and the characters give us a lens to look through and compare to our lives. My fellow actors have already made me in awe of their abilities and profound thoughts about the play during our tablework, and it is, as Arkady puts it, “astonishing”!

Tell us about your character.
Katya is a servant of the house and is what I’d call a very reluctant romantic. She’s being pursued by her fellow servant Matvey and doesn’t seem to want to have anything to do with him. Why she’s avoiding him or what will happen will have to wait until people see the show, but she’s very “demure and knowing”, as the script puts it. It’s fun to be the eyes and ears of the household, especially since Katya is a bit of a gossip. She’s smart and not quite ready to be vulnerable.

I can relate to Katya’s wariness of love and commitment. I fell in love earlier this year and am still reeling from the effects of it as I continue my relationship with an amazing man. It’s a wonderful but sometimes scary ride, and to me, it’s all worth it. We’ll see if Katya agrees. In general, I connect a lot to many of the experiences that each character goes through in this play: moments of desire, loss, grief, pride, love, etc. There’s something in each character that I think we all can relate to.

What is your greatest challenge with this show?
I think allowing myself as an actor to have real vulnerability is the biggest challenge. This is a show where everyone’s emotions are completely on display. It’s absolutely beautiful, absolutely fun, and absolutely terrifying.

What kind of research have you been doing to prepare for the role of Katya?
I’ve been looking into a lot of 1840’s Russian (and general European) history, especially in terms of the women of lower class. I’ve got a lot more studying to do, I think!

What have been some of your favorite previous productions?
Besides the shows I’ve done on the Barn stage, which were all great, my favorites include Sweeney Todd (I got to play Mrs. Lovett about 20 years too early), King Lear (I played the Earl of Kent), and Shrek (I played a plethora of crazy fairytale creatures). But the list goes on. I love playing interesting and challenging roles.

A Month in the Country opens Friday, March 13 and runs through Sunday, April 12th. Buy tickets here.

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