One of the best descriptions of actress Anna Rebek, who plays Emmi in MOXIE’s Skinless by Johnna Adams, is the story fellow cast mate, Rhona Gold, tells about her. As Gold tells it, she came to see MOXIE’s production of References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot, in which Rebek played the role of “cat,” and was so mesmerized by Rebek’s performance, she knew she HAD to get on stage with her. We understand her reaction.
Anna Rebek is a physical actress who uses her whole body to tell a story. This was obvious when she was playing the role of a “cat” but her technique really shines in the role of Emmi, the determined graduate student in Skinless, playing now through Dec 8, 2013 at MOXIE. Most of Rebek’s scenes take place in a small office, intellectual conversations about academia and theory, but she talks with her whole body. She’s up, she’s down, she reaching, banging things and then in an instant she’s so still the audience holds their breath. We caught up with her just before the closing weekend of performances to learn about her SKINLESS process.
SKINLESS is full of poetry as well as fantastic dialogue. What’s your favorite line in the play?
Her hipbones soared outward and upward until they formed thick walls.” This is a line from Zinnia’s story Housewife. I’ve definitely been seduced by the vibrancy of the anatomical descriptions in the play. And visually hipbones have always seemed so ancient and perfectly designed to house life, that this line was a delight to imagine.
What’s been your favorite part of the SKINLESS process so far?
It’s been cool being in the first production of this show. No one’s every played these characters before so it has been a privilege to be among the first to give life to the words. Also to observe Delicia, the director, in collaboration with Johnna, the playwright, has given me such insight into how plays travel from an imagined work into a logistical reality, and the thousands of decisions that develop to let the play bloom.
How is your character different from other character’s you’ve played?
I would say that Emmi is the most emotionally grounded and focused character I’ve ever played. She still has a sweet need for approval and validation from someone who is damaging, which is so human and flawed and true.
What kind of research or prep work did you do to play your character?
In an effort to douse me with a feminist education, Delicia gave me a book called “Manifesta” by Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards. This text has lived in my bathroom since then, where those five minute sessions of dense history have caused me and anyone who uses my bathroom to emerge saying, “yeah, I think I’m a feminist.”
Don’t miss Rebek’s performance which closes this weekend. Buy Tickets Now Online or call the box office at 858-598-7620