Travel through three generations of adventure, grief and love. Co-presented by 20% Theatre Company Twin Cities and the Sabes Jewish Community Center, we are pleased to bring you Leah’s Train by Karen Hartman March 7-22, 2015 (all performances at theJCC). Before and during the run of this show, we will be giving you a chance to learn a little bit more about the artists involved in our production. In this first interview, meet actor Laura Mason.
Laura, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background? How/when/why did you get into theatre?
I did my first community theatre show when I was seven. I don’t remember if I asked my parents if I could do it or if I was too dramatic and they decided that I needed an outlet. I just remember that it felt really natural – I did all kinds of skits and stuff in my church as a kid, so I loved being on a real stage! I did a couple shows in the community in middle school before I switched schools to a high school that had a drama program….and now I’m majoring in it!
Is this your first show with 20% Theatre Twin Cities? If not, what may we have seen you perform in in the past?
I was in If We Were Birds last September. I was in the Chorus of bird-women.
Tell us what originally drew you to the Leah’s Train script. What interested you in auditioning for this show/company?
I found out about the show because Claire asked me to consider auditioning for it. I actually wasn’t able to read the script before the audition, but I liked the premise of the story and I trust Claire! Once I did read the script though, I was very impressed with Hartman’s style and the force of the characters.
Tell us a little bit about the character you play?
I play Leah, who is a twelve-year-old Jewish girl looking for her brother and nephew. She is matriarchal force to be reckoned with in her later years, but even as a girl, she is described as “brave” and “legendary” and a “child Moses.”
How has this experience been different than the one for If We Were Birds?
There are so many things that are different that I will start with one of the only familiarities I see. Both plays contain major themes of family dynamics, specifically of how mothers relate to their children. Birds concluded that mothers have a lot more power of possession over their children than Leah’s Train, which deals more with the power of succession – the expectations of the matriarch. Hartman’s mothers set very high standards for their children and manipulate them emotionally, rather than physically as seen in Birds. Not to spoil the ending of If We Were Birds, but the children in Leah’s Train end up a lot better after the treatment from their mothers.
What else do you do in the world, outside of theatre and/or working on this production?
I am a full time student at the University of Minnesota and work at Juice So Good, which is a cafe that provides healthy options to the corporate skyway crowd. I have a lot on my plate as a double-major (Theatre Arts AND Communications) but I enjoy my classes so much, it’s almost not even fair.
Are you still studying at the University of Minnesota? Do you have any big plans for after graduation?
I’m a Junior! Woohooo! At this point, everything is still kind of in the ether, but I’m looking at internships in Marketing or Media Production/Broadcasting and continuing to make art in Minneapolis. It would be awesome to eventually continue my education in physical theatre by studying Commedia dell’Arte and at some point I want to be a part of a legit feature length film…whatever that means.
What is your favorite type of transportation?
I like Streetcars / Light Rails / Strassenbahns. They seem really efficient to me, and they usually don’t smell as bad as underground transit, and they’re not as bumpy as buses. It’s a very satisfying form of independence to be able to rely on a streetcar to get around a city.
If you have one, tell us a little bit about your most memorable train ride?
I used to live in Vienna, Austria and the trains over there are a much more legit system than what we’ve got going on over here. The train ride that stands out to me the most was when my family took an overnight train to Venice. It wasn’t uncomfortable, but a member of my family snored the whole night so we were all cranky and had remember to love each other just as much in tiny, metal compartments as we do when we’re not invading each other’s space.