It is harder for me to write about this next company member than I thought it would be. She is a mystery to me in so many ways, yet I think I understand her more than just about anyone I have ever worked with. Her smile and natural magnetism shine on the stage. Her fabrications of the truth (not lies) are the stuff of legend and she makes you glad to be part of the joke. Like a later day Holly Golightly she makes you feel, for lack of a better cliché, alive.
She has acted in The Illusion, The Scarlet Letter and Fair Ladies at a Game of Poem Cards. She is the one who presented us with what seems to be one of the company's favorite shows Family Stories: A Slapstick Tragedy and taught me the word hagiography. She has worked at Theater J a lot despite any religious conflict one might expect. Her turn as Tamora the evil queen in Titus at WSC made my jaw drop for a lot of reasons.
I miss her every time I don't see her. The one the only Rahaleh "Halley" Nassri.
1. Place of birth?
Tehran, Iran (lower east side)
2. First experience in theatre?
I played Tiny Tim in the seventh grade production of A Christmas Carol at Clover Junior High School in Clover, South Carolina.
3. Where you went to school?
University of South Carolina in Columbia for a few semesters, took a year off to dole out free (and fake) espresso cup fortunes in a tiny Italian-speaking town in Switzerland (Bellinzona), but finally graduated with a BA in International Affairs from GWU. Which is how ended up in this swamp. I can’t believe I’m still here.
4. What do you do?
Usually an actor. I have been known to produce and dramaturg and will soon make my “directorial debut” (that sounds hot doesn’t it?) with Rorschach’s next show A Bright Room Called Day.
5. What was your first experience with Rorschach?
I went to the green house of the old Hechinger to see Rhinoceros, only to find out it had been cancelled. What kind of company is this Rorschach? Then I met Jenny and Randy at a bar (something Tavern) after a performance of the first play I ever did: Sexual Perversity in Chicago. I thought they liked me. They pretended to. Asked me if I could audition for God of Vengeance. But they didn’t cast me. What kind of company is this Rorschach? I didn’t see that show because I was too bitter. Then they cast me in The Illusion. I really like them now and have seen every show since.
6. Company member you would most like to be if you were not yourself?
Tie: Deb Sivigny because she’s always so relaxed and in my next life I want to be a costume designer. Jenny McConnell Frederick because she’s the most adorable human being I’ve ever seen and can think fast and talk fast and still make a lot of sense. Or any of the other girls, really. I just don’t want to be a boy.
7. Some story about working on a Rorschach play that either made you laugh or touched you deeply?
During Scarlet Letter rehearsals, Jenny and I had a little tiff one night. When rehearsal was over we both pouted for about two seconds and then started weeping. “I love you.” “Well, I love you,” was the gist of the dialogue. Is that touching? Or funny?
8. Where do you think Rorschach will be in the next ten years?
We’ll have our own space, complete with a nursery for the ten kids born of couplings within the company.
9. What is your favorite Rorschach show that you were not in?
Tie: Family Stories and Master and Margarita
10. Scott McCormick harmless adolescent or world conquering super villain?
Neither. He’s MY bitch. I own him. See blog entry Owned.