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BWW Interview Andrea Goss and Jasmine Batchelor Chat About The River at TheaterWorks

BWW Interview Andrea Goss and Jasmine Batchelor Chat About The River at TheaterWorks

Jasmine Batchelor and Andrea Goss star in The River opening this month at TheaterWorks in Hartford, Connecticut. The two actresses sat down with to chat about the upcoming play, the characters, and what the best advice they ever received when first starting out in the business.

Tell us a little bit about your characters and what makes them unique.

Jasmine Batchelor: "The Other Woman" is a whirlwind of youth, spontaneity, and fun when we first meet her. She's someone who is less interested in the rules and what should happen - she's more excited about what could happen. She is, above all, searching for truth and true love - and while that may be a universal objective, her methods for getting to the bottom of the truth and seeing a love through are hers and hers alone.

Andrea Goss: I play The Woman in The River. At the top of the show, you meet her as the new girlfriend of The Man. She desperately wants to find a connection with a man but also has deeply rooted trust issues that she has to overcome. I find her wit, insecurities, and desires to be so honest and relatable and it is a joy to work on discovering what makes her tick.

What makes The Man so interesting to these two women characters?

JB: Because (The Other Woman) is so interested in truth and true love, her ideals match up with those of The Man's. They're both looking for that agape love - and that's what drives their attraction. I also believe that his adherence to the rules - his old-fashioned sense of an obsession with words, poetry, fishing, the retro environment of the cabin, all of this appeals to her. Opposites attract. He's a man of the woods - or at least presents as such - and she digs it.

AG: There is a passion, charm, and masculinity to The Man that is undeniably attractive. I think when you see an intense passion in a person, whether or not it is something you are passionate about, you want to understand and be a part of whatever it is. Also, he wants to share his passion and I think my character finds it extremely alluring that he is willing to be so open and giving with her.

What are you most excited about with this play? Whether it be a certain plot twist in the story or working with someone on the team.

JB: I had a great time working with Billy and Andrea - they're consummate professionals and incredibly wonderful people on and off stage. With such a small cast, you hope your mates will be this open, kind, and daring - and they are. We really have each other's backs - and Billy's even babysat my cat while I was away for a weekend in New York.

AG: I think the incredible writing is what drew me to this play initially. It is a fascinating, complex story with beautiful poetic writing and the characters are so relatable. I am excited to see the audience's reaction. There is major a plot twist, which I don't want to give away for anyone who is going to see a production of The River, but it is definitely a show with a quiet intensity that captivated me from the first time I read it and I am intrigued to see how they respond.

What do you think the audience will take away from this show and why?

JB: You know, I'm not sure what they take away from it. I think that's the beauty of it. And the incredibly frustrating part. I'm not sure what we will spark when the curtains close. I hope that people are inspired to be honest with their significant others. To perhaps take a more bold approach to love - and to take less for granted, especially when it comes to love.

AG: This is one of those shows that every audience member will take away something different. Is it about the male and female relationship, recapturing something you once lost or is it something more mythical? A lot of questions are raised, but very few concrete answers are given and I think audiences will be hooked.

If you could be any character in a show/story, who/what would it be and why?

JB: It's been my lifelong dream to play Lorraine Hansberry in a biopic. I'm saying it now to put it in the Universe and hopefully make it happen! She's my inspiration and sister-of-sorts. I love her plays, her writings (if you haven't read Les Blancs or To Be Young Gifted and Black, please do). If they ever made a biopic of Eartha Kitt, I'd be first in line for that one, too.

AG: There are so many shows and characters that I would love to step into. However, the work that I am drawn to the most is new material where I can create a character without any knowledge of how it was previously played. Also, I would love the opportunity to play Iago. Even though it is usually played by a male I find the character to be fascinating and I would love to step into Iago's shoes with a female perspective.

What is one tip you received when you first started out in the theatre that helped your career?

JB: Jim Houghton taught me a lot about community, and his lessons on making the theater accessible (a community that reaches out to its surrounding community), being an artist of the world and giving back and speaking up. Knowing how to listen to those around you and recognize that individually we may be great, but together, we make the work sing. Those lessons changed my life. I am thankful every single day for that man and his legacy. Because of him, I know the work comes first. The sharing comes first. The community is what's important.

AG: I think the biggest lesson I have learned over the years and wish I understood when I was first starting out is to simply bring myself into each audition room and not try to be what I thought the director or producers wanted. It sounds so simple, but it took me years to really let go of my ideas of how a role has been played or what I thought the director would want and allow myself to trust that what I brought was enough.

The River runs at TheaterWorks from October 4th-November 11th.

Photos courtesy of Jasmine Batchelor and Andrea Goss

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From This Author Carissa Chesanek