From the Action Movie plays at Dad's Garage to more cerebral work with Synchronicity Performance Group and other theaters, actress Stacy Melich reliably offers performances that are both focused and fierce. In the Obie Award-winning My Left Breast, playing through Feb. 25 at 7 Stages, Melich explores the struggles of playwright and "The L Word" producer Susan Miller as she both fights breast cancer and comes out as a lesbian.
My Left Breast originated as a one-woman show performed by playwright Susan Miller. How is the new version different?
Our director, Melissa Foulger, approached Susan about the new production and the idea of breaking up the script for three characters, and Susan came down and helped us workshop it this way. I play Susan and we also have Man and Woman, who play all the people Susan talks about in her life. None of the words have been changed from the original version, but we now have active scenes the way they were told in the story. A lot of it is very naturalistic, but there are aspects that go beyond realism, and the set's not realistic, because it's a memory play.
Is it more of a challenge to play a real person whom you've met face to face, as opposed to a fictional character?
You definitely have the responsibility of telling their story, especially when it's actually their words. Susan has a line in the play, "I am a one-breasted Jewish bisexual lesbian mom, and I am the topic of our times," and this story isn't just about survival, but claiming who you are as a person. I think it's still artistic interpretation, and it's still remaining true to who Susan is. I'm playing this version of Susan, as opposed to doing an imitation of her.
How did you prepare for the role?
I've talked to women with breast cancer and with cancer in general, but it really hasn't even been research, just having that open conversation to find out what their journey has been. Most of our conversations in rehearsals have involved what happens to your body when you go through something like cancer, and what happens to your relationships with other people. There's a lot of stories written about people who've gone through this, but this is a survival story. This is one with a happy ending. That's why we're excited to tell it.
Read Curt Holman's review of My Left Breast.
Little harsh, in'it?
Oh that's right...I DID say enjoy yourself.
Go to hell Kombo!
When will you be accepting applicants for the 2014 competition?
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