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 Lolita Marie.
ACQUELINE LAWTON: To begin, why did you decide to get into theater? Was there someone or a particular show that inspired you?
LOLITA-MARIE: In 2003 I worked with a gentleman - Tillman Figgs, that did theater part-time and he encouraged me to audition for a show he was in. After being cast, I quickly fell in love with the theater culture, process, and experience and have been acting ever since. The show that I always credit with my love for theater before ever setting foot on a stage is "Shout Up A Morning." It was the first professional theater performance that I saw as I child in the nations capital.
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?
LM: There was a time when the old folks would refer to someone being in "the war," and based on their age you could pretty much guess which war they were referring to. Not so any more. So many wars, so many countries, so many victims. The countries recognition of the impact and reach of PTSD does not make it any easier for veterans and their families to appropriately identify and address the myriad of forms in which PTSD manifests itself. The more publicity and knowledge that we can provide in various forms (such as the stage), the better equipped we will all be to recognize, understand, and address PTSD issues. Ultimately influencing policy makers, impacting PTSD policy, and helping in the efforts to support healthy veteran families.
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.?
LM: We still have a long way to go when our country has to keep revisiting legislation regarding the reproductive rights of women with each political candidate. The disparity is further illustrated, in recent news, with the vocalized ignorance of major company CEOs in regards to equal pay for women. Though we can now fight alongside our men in wars, even play football (in those few places that actively support and encourage girls and young ladies to play), our country still struggles with how to legislatively balance, support, and protect those whom they still see primarily as the "mother." Or, at the very least, those who they see as a person with the potential-to-be-a-mother.
JL: Which character are you playing? What, if anything, do you have in common with this character’s passions, values, intentions or belief system?
LM: I play Jude Nolan-Belizaire. Like Jude, though not a journalist, I am passionate about truth in my "works"-professionally and personally. I strive to ensure that my work reflects my integrity, ethics, and drive. I also, like her, struggle with balancing the demands of such a quest with the needs of those I care for. For every action there's a reaction, right? For every passion there is something else that is being neglected.
JL: What’s next for you as an actor?
LM: I will be working with Fords Theater in the winter as an understudy for the African American female characters in "The Widow Lincoln."
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!