By Sarah Mills Bacha, CATCO Press Representative
Well-known central Ohio actor and arts administrator Mary Trapp Gray will perform in Life Sucks. at CATCO, March 20 through April 7. She took time recently to share her thoughts about her upcoming role and her interest in theater and the arts.
Sarah: Describe your path to theater.
Mary: Ever since I was a child, I enjoyed dressing up and performing for others. The real theater bug bit during my high school years as my family moved four times between my freshman and senior years. I discovered the best way to make friends at each high school was to audition for the school plays. I was so taken by acting, I earned a degree in theater from the University of Michigan.
Sarah: What has been your favorite role?
Mary: The roles I have been offered in my 50’s have provided me the opportunity to do some of my personal best work, thus making them some of my most favorite roles: Short North Stage’s Follies (Carlotta Campion); New Players Theatre, Good People (Jean); Curtain Players, Rabbit Hole (Nat) and my current role as Babs in CATCO’s Life Sucks.
Sarah: What has been your most challenging role?
Mary: In the mid-80’s, my very first CATCO role was Freddie in the Tommy Tune musical The Club. Along with six other actresses, I was transformed into a dashing male, and often compared to a young Clark Gable. Ha! It was a complete stretch, and a very gratifying, memorable experience.
Sarah: You are working with your husband, Dan Gray, who is the set designer for this production. Have you two worked together in the past?
Mary: The year we married, 1995, Dan designed and I performed in CATCO’s production A My Name is Still Alice.
Sarah: Do you two enjoy working together?
Mary: Sure, and it works because I don’t give him design suggestions and he doesn’t give me acting notes! Also, we have a lot of mutual respect for one another’s work.
Sarah: Why did you audition for Life Sucks.?
Mary: If one is fortunate enough to live a life filled with a variety of experiences, there is a rich base from which to draw. I have suffered great tragedy and enjoyed tremendous happiness in my life, so I know first-hand, as Babs points out when asked if life sucks, “Yes, sometimes. But not all the times.” And knowing the set would be first-rate was another attraction. Wink.
Sarah: What do you hope audiences will take away from the show?
Mary: In simple terms, that life is a continuum and there is no getting around the fact each of us will face ups and downs throughout it. Nothing is constant in life, but if we can keep an open mind and heart, we can survive all that life presents us.
Sarah: You have worked in arts administration and in theater? Which do you prefer?
Mary: I can’t say I prefer one of over the other, though theater is what I have done for decades for the pure pleasure of it. Arts administration had been my life’s work until I retired a little over a month ago. It provided me many years of incredible opportunities to work with creatives and arts enthusiasts from across the state of Ohio and beyond.
Sarah: What do you do in your spare time?
Mary: As novice retiree, I am in the midst of figuring it out!
See Mary Trapp Gray performing in Life Sucks. at CATCO, March 20-April 7.