In preparation for Rep Stage's upcoming reading of NOMS DE GUERRE as part of their commemoration of the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, I connected with our company about their careers in the theatre and the relevant themes of the play. Click here to learn more about the reading and please enjoy this wonderful interview with cast member Dawn Ursula.
JACQUELINE LAWTON: To begin, why did you decide to get into theater? Was there someone or a particular show that inspired you?
DAWN URSULA: It turned out to be the only occupation that made me happy. I tried other jobs with other artsy hobbies on the side but they didn't satisfy or stick. I was inspired by the other students (my competitors) when I performed in dramatic oral interpretation for my high school Forensic's team. I think that's how and when this all began.
JL: NOMS DE GUERRE is a socio-political drama that addresses the U.S. military policy and the damaging impact of PTSD on veterans and their family. Why do you feel this play is relevant to today’s audiences?
DU: I wonder how often we might interact or pass someone in the military who is struggling with what they've experienced while serving or maybe a loved one or relative of a military personnel who is struggling and never know. We should know. We should be aware. They and their loved ones shouldn't suffer in silence. To end war, we are going to have to advocate for and empathize with our armed forces as victims too.
JL: NOMS DE GUERRE also addresses women’s rights and recent restrictions places on health care for women. It’s been 50 years since the Women’s Liberation Movement swept the nation, where do you feel we are in terms of gender relations in the U.S.?
DU: As compared to 50 years ago, better. As compared to 50 years ago not hardly as far along as we should be.
JL: Which character are you playing? What, if anything, do you have in common with this character’s passions, values, intentions or belief system?
DU: I'm playing Mira. I don't think I want to express what we may or may not have in common, but I will say I love her devotion and passion for everything in her life: her career, her husband, her friends, her constituents, her political party. She wants to give the best to all things. Discovering her fight and failures in this heroic endeavor is both inspiring and heartbreaking.
JL: What’s next for you as an actor? Where can we follow your work?
DU: Early next year, I'll be in "Ruined" by Lynn Nottage, directed by Tazewell Thompson at Everyman Theatre, then "Zombie, the American", by Robert O'Hara directed by Howard Shalwitz at Woolly Mammoth. www.dawnursula.com
About Rep Stage
Rep Stage, a professional regional theatre in residence at Howard Community College, is celebrating its 22nd season. The company is a member of the League of Washington Theatre, the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance and Theatre Communications Group. Rep Stage is recognized by Theatre Washington as professional DC Metro area theatre company and is eligible to be nominated for the Helen Hayes Awards. Performances are made possible by Howard Arts Council, Howard County Government, and the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency funded by the Stage of Maryland and National Endowment of the Arts, as well as through generous individual contributions. Rep Stage is proud to be a partner of Howard County Tourism and promotion. Rep Stage’s Artistic Leadership is helmed by Co-Producing Artistic Directors Suzanne Beal and Joseph Ritsch.
I'm a playwright, dramaturg, and teaching artist. It is here where you'll find my queries and musings on life, theater and the world. My posts advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in the American Theatre and updates on my own work. Please enjoy!