As Fat Men in Skirts’ Phyllis Hogan, Jennifer MacPherson gets to play the gamut of emotions. Her character is placed in a number of high stakes situations ranging from the darkly comic to the tragic. Like many of the other characters in Nicky Silver’s controversial play, Phyllis is flawed, relatable and three-dimensional.
Jennifer describes her as “a bit shallow. She craves attention and can’t handle being forgotten or ignored. She’s not a bad person; just fragile. She doesn’t know who she is anymore because she has always defined herself by what others want her to be. She has changed herself to fit their expectations over and over again.”
When creating a character, Jennifer finds the parts of the person who are easy for her to relate to and build from there. She found it challenging to find Phyllis because she is very different from other roles that she’s played. “I would like to think I’m stronger than Phyllis, but I have had a pretty great lift compared to her. I think I have had times when I felt pretty insecure and needy. I imagine that’s how Phyllis feels most of the time.”
Working with director Scott Stephen Kegler and the cast made it easier for her get inside her character’s skin. “I always enjoy working with Scott,” said Jennifer. “He really understands the show and the actors. His direction really brings out the best in us. I also worked with (fellow cast member) Roy Donnelly last year. It’s nice to come into rehearsals to see a familiar face. I love being a part of small casts. Rehearsals always feel super productive, and you develop a real comfort level working with everyone.”
And what does Jennifer hope audiences take away from the show? “I hope that if they are the types that beat themselves up, they will forgive themselves. As human beings, we are all a little frail and far from perfect – but at least most of us don’t resort to cannibalism, right?”
Fat Men in Skirts runs March 27 & 28, April 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 & 18 at HITW on 116 Main Street in New Britain, CT. Tickets are $20.00 (general admission) and $15.00 (students and seniors). They can be purchased at the door and online at www.hitw.org. The March 3rd show will be our Pay What You Can performance. In keeping with our tradition of presenting theater to everyone, HITW is offering a reduced ticket price of $12.00 to our patrons for Opening Night. We encourage you to bring a friend and enjoy a great night of theater.