Meet the Cast: Rebecca Lea McCarthy as Mommy

Rebecca Lea McCarthy as Mommy in The American Dream; AD for The Zoo Story

Aloha Friends of TAG.  Well, this is a bit awkward, to be truthful. I don’t normally have conversations with myself, well not out loud … much. But seeing how I’m the one who talks with folks on this little ol’ blog, I’m placed in that strange position of having to interview myself and introduce myself to you.

So here we go, I’ll try not to make it terribly annoying, but it might be a little bit of a split personality experience.

Yo Rebecca, howgozit?

Okay, you know.

Do I?

Well, I bloody hope so.  You’re me, after all.

Right! So I am. Well, let’s tell the TAG readers about ourselves.

Should we?  I mean, we want folks to like us, right?

Ya, ya …. good point. So, maybe just start with theatre stuff – like your official bio.

Okay, that’s easy – that’s just a copy and paste function.  Here we go …. (clicking on Command-C and now Command-V):

Rebecca Lea McCarthy was last seen at TAG playing Randy in Superior Donuts, and she’s super excited to be playing Mommy in The American Dream, a play written by one of her favorite playwrights. She graduated with a BFA in theater from Cornish College of the Arts and has a Ph.D. in Comparative Studies from Florida Atlantic University. But the love of her life is theatre, and she has been lucky enough to live a life filled with theatre, improvisation, and clown work,  performing and directing throughout the Northwest, NYC, Florida, Arizona and Hawaii. Some of her favorite roles include Meg in Defiance, Doris in Same Time Next Year, Betty in The Anastasia Trials in the Court of Women, Edith in Blithe Spirit, Martha in Arsenic and Old Lace, and working with the CBGB Improvisation Group in NYC, and guesting with On the Spot Improv in Hawaii.

Nice!  That wasn’t so hard, was it?

No, not really. So, what’s next? Do I do a tap dance; I am taking tap with Anna Motteler and jazz with John Rampage at Diamond Head Theatre now; I can fake it!

Ya, not sure folks are ready to go there with you just yet, Reba. So, you better save it for another day.

Point taken.  Okay, so now what?

Why don’t you tell folks how you got into theatre.

Well, when I was a little girl my mom took me to see Camelot, the movie. I can’t tell you how excited I was by that experience. Camelot touch something in me that I didn’t know existed; and from that moment on, I told my mom I was going to be one of the little people inside the television sets. You see, I was convinced there were little people inside television sets. Well, to be perfectly honest, I think there are good arguments to be made proving that theory: there are little people who live inside our television sets. It’s too bad we don’t feed them more often.

Stick to the script, will ya Reba.

Ya, right. Well, I was hooked. I did my professional play in 7th grade and my first commercial when I was six years old, and I did a GREAT impersonation of Melissa Gilbert (I looked like her double as a kid). It got me in trouble once because a kid in Tucson asked me for my autograph, and I signed it Melissa Gilbert. That did not go over too well with my mom.

You were a bit of a mischief maker weren’t you?

Still am, at least I am sure folks would attest to that. 🙂

And because I am you, I happen to know that mischief makers are high on your list for acting inspiration!

Why you … stop reading my brain! Didn’t anyone ever tell you how rude that was?

But, err, yes; you are right: Harpo Marx, Groucho Marx, Buster Keaton, Lucy Ball, Carol Burnett, Whoopi Goldberg, Gilda Radner, Shirley MacLaine, Lily Tomlin and the list goes on.  I am inspired by those actors who can improvise, and do comedy as well as Drama. The versatile performer who can make fun of their self and, at the same time, engage their audience with an opportunity to learn a lesson. The actors that can fail big with a smile on their face, and carry-on that same smile when they are triumphant. That, for me, is beauty in motion.

Wow, you turned serious on me. Seeing as I have you in a serious mood, let me talk to you about this play. 

Okay me. Remember, it can all turn on a dime. I could leave you in a second for a bar of chocolate.

Ya, ya. I get it. In The American Dream, you play Mommy. What is it about this character that speaks to you personally.

Nothing. I mean, I am not much like Mommy at all, which is why I wanted to play her.  My dream role is Martha in Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and Mommy has a bit of that flavor to her. The two characters are somewhat related except Mommy’s core egoism, her self-consuming egoism, comes from herself and it is not enhanced by being an alcoholic like Martha is. Martha has a little bit of an excuse as to why she behaves the way she does, Mommy does not. It’s been both interesting and very difficult to tap into what makes Mommy tick. Just because a character is mean or angry, doesn’t mean I can play mean or angry on stage. This behavior has to come from somewhere. There needs to be a reason for that behavior, and this is what I’m working on trying to find for Mommy; the reason for her behavior may not seem reasonable to you or to me, but it must seem reasonable to the character. It’s a wonderful challenge.

Yes, it is a super duper challenge, I know because I am you.

WHAT!? You are not me, you …. you …. nitwit, you; I would never wear that outfit you have on! How dare you.

Oh please, sweetheart, I see how you dress. Wearing red comic Flash T-shirts with purple skirts? You’d better hope to aspire to my fashion choices.

Touché me. Good for you!

Well, we need to end this, so I give you … me…your … err… my last two questions for you ….. (oh bother). The first one has to do with the language in this play if you think you can get your head out of fashion row, and back onto the topic of theater.

Whatever, fine. Go on. I’m listening.

You just gave me a line of Daddy’s!

HA! Yep, when I memorize a script, I MEMORIZE a script!

Okay. So, tell me about the language in this play.

It’s complicated. No, seriously, it’s complicated! Edward Albee knows how people talk, and we talk with a lot of similarities (similar phrases and words) but with tiny differences thrown in, just to mix things up. This is fine when you are talking off the cuff, when you are just you and you are not trying to be somebody else, and getting his or her phraseology exact, then it becomes a little bit of hell. The language so perfectly reflects the people who are speaking, but that’s what makes it so difficult to memorize and to get it right. And you’ve got to get it right. As an actor, we should do this with all playwrights period, but when you’re dealing with a playwright such as Edward Albee, the last thing you want to do is screw up his words. There are reasons why he writes in a script introductory words such as “why” instead of “oh” or “well.” You or I might interchange these words, but when you are presenting them, you can’t. The language in this play is fantastic, because it’s precise, because there are lots of layers there, and because you can see how people might relate to each other through their use of language. It’s impressive, it’s difficult, and it’s a little bit maddening.

csgj9dgwsaahyfzYep, maddening would be a good word for it.  And talk about maddening, I am now at that point where I have to ask you that strange question you assigned to everybody, the one folks are saying WTH (that’s what the heck to you and I) about? The question is this: if you lived in an Escher universe, how would you get to work?

Duh! I’d fly to work on a broom!

There you have it everyone, my interview with myself. I sincerely hope you will see The American Dream, and The Zoo Story, at The Actors’ Group.

Rebecca believes in the power of comedy, pratfalls, communication and a well placed whoopee cushion! Mahalo to my family, my TAG family, and my dear friends who lift me up daily! Rebecca’s Webpage can be found at Follow her on Twitter at

TAG, you’re it!

The world needs theatre and TAG needs you! 

An Evening with Edward Albee: The American Dream and The Zoo Story runs May 6th through the 29th. Tickets can be purchased on line at or 808-722-6941




One thought on “Meet the Cast: Rebecca Lea McCarthy as Mommy

  1. Well I must make a confession. I was close to deleting this blog cause I thought what do I need to know about theatre in Hi . Especially since I can not go to the shows except once a year when I visit?
    This my dear was the most exhilarating interview I have read yet! You are a women of many talents and I am proud to think you are a part of my extended family( sort of ) .
    Keep up the good work. Maybe I may be lucky enough to once again enter the theatre doors where you are Living out one of your passions that bring you joy!!!!


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