Each week we spotlight a member of the "Melissa Arctic" cast. This week we spoke with Laurie Okin, a Road member since 2012.
Who do you play in “Melissa Arctic”?
My character is Mina (the Hermione character). She is the mother of baby Melissa and for months has been dealing with her rapidly unraveling husband as well as the new baby. She is highly maternal and loving, but has her own breaking point, and finally draws the line when she feels that Lenny's volatility is a threat to the physical safety of her daughter.
What do you feel she contributes to the play?
I feel that what she contributes to the play is in setting the emotional tone of regret, loss and then ultimately redemption and forgiveness. Her character provides the echo of actions that cannot be undone and the reverberations they cause for the people left to grapple with what has happened, and also the will to not only survive but flourish in the life that is left to be lived.
Describe how you prepared for this role.
I am a mother myself, so finding the heart of Mina has been a matter of simply looking at my own feelings about my child and remembering back to when she was a helpless, nurture-seeking baby. Apart from that, it's been about trying to nail the elusive Minnesota accent!
How are audiences reacting to Mina?
I think the audience will relate to Mina, as we can all relate to someone who is trying her hardest to keep it all together with patience and love. If I'm doing my job, they will feel sad about what happens to her but they will see the hope that her presence will have inspired in those she was closest to to carry on and forgive one another.
What do you hope audiences will take away with them?
I hope that what they will take away from the play is that as long as there is love, there is hope. There is connection.