Meet the Cast – Sarah Etkin

What’s your name?

Sarah Etkin.

Who are you playing?

Barbara Fordham, formerly known as Barbara Weston.

What town are you from?

I am from Springfield, Massachusetts.

Is this your first time at Hole in the Wall?

No, I’ve done two shows before here, She Kills Monsters and Wife/Worker/Whore.

How did you get into theater, and what is your background in theater?

So I started theater when I was five. I played a security guard in a musical about time traveling to Egypt. I have a B. A. from UMass Amherst in Theater. I also did a lot of classes at this acting conservatory in Springfield called The Drama Studio.

Describe your character.

Barbara is a, I feel like everyone says this about their character, especially if it’s like an older woman, but she’s a very complicated woman. I think it’s so easy to chalk her up to being someone that’s just like cold or, you know, bitchy, or just hard. But when people appear that way, it’s usually out of necessity or survival. And as you’ll see through the play, she’s gone through a lot, and more importantly she’s been let down by a lot of people in her life, including her parents, and husband, and at other times her sisters, and even her daughter.

If you could give your character advice, what would it be?

I think that… to not be afraid of endings because the more you hold on to them, the harder it will be for the better things to come in.

Why do you think the show got a Pulitzer Prize for drama?

I think because Tracy somehow was able to, or Mrs. Letts, depending on how she likes to be addressed, I think she figured out a way to interweave all of these different themes and issues that many families deal with. The biggest thing that she does so well is to talk about these families that grew up in these small towns that probably once had promise or character or more importantly industry and what happens to the family unit when a local economy or an economy at large breaks down.

Do you have a favorite book?

Yes, actually, and it’s kind of funny. It’s called “The Glass Castle” by Jeanette Walls. It talks about a woman and her relationship with her mom, and her mom was like a total… you know, just had a lot of issues. It’s very similar to August, and I was today years old when I realized that.

Do you have a favorite poem?

Ooh, poem. I’m trying to think. That might be a no. Or it’s gonna be one of those things like six hours from now. I’m gonna be like, oh wait, no, it’s this.

Do you have a favorite drink, alcoholic or otherwise?

I think everyone is well aware. Coke Zero, but specifically Cumberland Farms Coke Zero. With a quarter of an inch of Mug Root Beer in it.

Cumberland Farms Coke Zero with a quarter inch of Mug Root Beer?

It’s different. It’s like McDonald’s Sprite, but for me.

Okay, follow up question. When did that start?

Oh, God. Probably when I used to Instacart as a job. Because I was always away from my apartment and I was in the every Cumberland Farms in the Tri State area.

What’s a fun fact about yourself?

Ooh, I… I performed at a theater festival in South Africa my junior year of college.

Last question, is there anything else you’d like to say, any other ventures, shout outs?

I want to thank this entire cast. I think we had to pull a lot together in a very short amount of time and everyone’s worked so hard on this. Not even just the actors, you know. Looking at someone right now doing all this marketing for us and other stuff. It can be so easy to try to be serious all the time and to always feel this pain, but my personal theory is that to really feel pain you have to know what joy is like. Backstage, everyone has been so supportive and kind and that really helps the work I do on stage, so I just want to thank you all.