AN INTERVIEW WITH PEOPLE, PLACES & THINGS‘ MARIANNA BASSHAM

AN INTERVIEW WITH PEOPLE, PLACES & THINGS‘ MARIANNA BASSHAM

February 3, 2022

What is the plot of People, Places & Things?
Emma is performing her big scene in Chekhov’s The Seagull, but she can’t get through it because whatever drug or drugs that she’s on won’t let her. Shift to rehab, a place inhabited by doctors, nurses, therapists, and patients, all in recovery. It’s a battle between them, fighting for their own health and survival, and Emma, who tries to blow up the process at every turn.

What attracted you to the show?
I first read this play many years ago and while it isn’t exactly a “thriller,” it felt like one: the turns, the surprises, the horror, the questions it raises. That’s how it affected my nervous system. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

Tell us about Emma – the character you play?
Emma is an actress and an addict, and she is finding the lines between those two things blurry. She’s mean and broken and determined and smart and hilarious.

How have you been preparing for the role?
I’ve been researching addiction– reasons why it happens and what it does to families, and to the body, brain, and spirit. It’s a family disease, I’ve learned; everyone is affected by that central addiction. I don’t really have to research being an actor!

How does this role compare to others you have taken on?
I’ve played roles that had mountains of text, but not sure I’ve ever talked on 103 out of 106 pages, or had to juggle that with embodying the conditioning forces of addiction and withdrawal. (Blanche Dubois come close!)

A play about addiction and recovery seems like it might be dark and heavy. Are there bright spots? moments of humor?
This is a fast, moving and very funny play. There is fear of and longing for connection. Incredible moments of grace. It goes everywhere so get ready!

You have worked with director David R. Gammons before? What is it like to collaborate with David?
This is my fourth project with David. He creates wonderful playgrounds for actors, and he is brave about controversial topics and human complexity. He creates an environment where actors feel invited to be wild, be dangerous, and collaborate openly with everyone in the room.

Why is this play a good fit for David’s style?
David has a gift for creating fascinating, detailed, and layered theatrical spaces and curating insanely talented design teams. Duncan McMillan has written a world that asks for pretty radical creativity and resourcefulness. It’s a terrific match.

This show features an amazing ensemble of Boston talent. What has the rehearsal process been like?
These characters are sharp and specific– and everyone is doing stunning work. I’m working with friends, brand new (to me) people and even past and future students! Everyone is surprising me. It is a warm, supportive environment where we are sharing our experiences and pitching ideas.

What do you hope audiences will take away from seeing this show?
I’m so excited to be a part of bringing this play to audiences; if people feel anywhere near what I felt reading it, we are onto something. I hope people will leave exhilarated, a little weirded out, and like they’ve been on a thrilling sensory and emotional journey.

Because of You

Your donation sets the stage for a new season of Boston's most intimate, entertaining and provocative plays and musicals. Our shows make powerful connections with our audiences-- and they are only possible because of you.

JOIN THE FUN

Sign up for our email list to get the latest updates on all our shows, readings, workshops and programs.
CLOSE