Rabbit Hole: An Interview with Actress Grace Gonglewski
Actress Grace Gonglewski with her daughter, Silvia
Beloved Philadelphia actress Grace Gonglewski returns to the Arden for the first time in three years. She last starred in Dancing at Lughnasa in 2006 and has appeared in 19 Arden productions including Hedda Gabler, Candida, The Real Thing, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Grace won a Barrymore for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical for Arden Theatre Company's production of A Little Night Music. Beth Yeagle, Arden's director of marketing, chatted with Grace in August.
BY: So how does it feel to be returning to the Arden's stage?
GG: It feels fantastic! It's just so great. I mean, I've got a husband and a five year old daughter and all stars need to align for me to be able to accept roles nowadays.
BY: Well you've picked a doozy of a role – tell me how you feel about Becca.
GG: Becca's so real. You know, it's hard to find great roles for women of my age. [She smiles and tells me she's 46. A footnote: with her tall physique, her summer tan, and her rich, melodic voice, she is absolutely stunning.] This play is so sad yet there are moments of real humor. Becca is carrying around so much grief. Yet she holds it all in. Me, I'm more of a believer in therapy. I'd be in the support group for sure. Actually, I'd probably end up running the support group. I understand the importance of emotional discharge in times of mourning. I've experienced loss. I've lived life.
BY: Tell me how being a parent has informed your acting and specifically how it will influence you in this role.
GG: Wow. Becoming a mother changes everything. [She beings to tear up] Silvia has enriched my life beyond measure. My love for her is unlike any love I've ever experienced. But such great love also made me deeply afraid. When Silvia first was born, I had nightmares of all the things that could hurt her. I think that's normal for a first time mom. You have complete responsibility for another human; it's a lot to wrap your head and heart around.
BY: Tell me more about working with [director] Jim Christy.
GG: Jim is a deeply feeling man who loves humanity. He loves his grandchildren. If you give him some whisky and his wife starts playing the piano, he will sing along. He's Irish. He's perfect for this production. I adore him.
BY: What do you hope audiences will take away from Rabbit Hole?
GG: I think they'll cry. I hope they'll laugh, too. I hope they'll realize how important it is to love and cherish your partner. Grief is easier to bear with allies. I hope they'll leave and decide to be kinder to their spouse. Regardless of the situation. And wouldn't that be a wonderful thing?