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 Natalie Graves Tucker.
JACQUELINE LAWTON: To begin, why did you decide to get into theater? Was there someone or a particular show that inspired you?
NATALIE GRAVES TUCKER: I knew I had a gift of public speaking through winning 4-H competitions, but didn't think about theatre until many years later. My grandmother nurtured the cultural arts in me through piano and forming a ballet school for black children that still exists today in my hometown. She was definitely my inspiration.
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?
NT: This play is most certainly relevant today. Many people have served their country or know of someone who did and those scars are real no matter which war or conflict. It's important to hear or see someone else's story.
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.?
NT: We have made progress but we still have a ways to go. Just like the commercials out there focusing on what it means to "throw like a girl” is highlighting, at a young age, that women are strong and equal if not better to their male counterparts. It transcends into the arts, workplace and even in the home.
JL: Which character are you playing? What, if anything, do you have in common with this character's passions, values, intentions or belief system?
NT: I play Leeda Ramsey who is a former JAG Attorney and assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I love being the woman next to THE man or woman because they trust you enough to have you in the room because of your skills and you make them look good. She knows where all the bodies are buried, literally so she's trustworthy yet a force to be reckoned with. I love those qualities.
JL: What's next for you as an actor? Where can we follow your work?
NT: I just finished a voiceover for AARP's RealPad android tablet that is being sold in stores. My voice is on the tutorials to help older people learn what an app is or how to use email. You can follow me at www.natalietucker.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!