The Saratogian 04-25-2012

Source: The Saratogian

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Brenny Rabine at home in ‘God of Carnage’ at Cap Rep

Posted:  04/25/2012 9:52 AM
ALBANY — Home might be where the heart is, but if you’re a professional actor, home usually isn’t where the work is.

This is why Saratoga Springs resident Brenny Rabine feels she’s on a working vacation. She spent the last few weeks at Capital Repertory Company rehearsing for “God of Carnage,” a four-person play that starts previews on Friday in preparation for Tuesday’s opening.

Not only will she get to sleep in her own bed and spend time with her family until the show closes May 27, but almost immediately afterwards she starts rehearsals for “Black Tie,” at Adirondack Theater Festival, in Glens Falls June 28 through July 7.

“I’m a lucky, lucky girl,” she said. She makes the point that not only is she lucky to be a working actress performing near her home, but she feels fortunate to be associated with two quality professional theater companies that give her the opportunity to work with great material. “Sometimes you have to take any role that is offered, but in these two cases, I play characters that will challenge me and delight audiences.”

She points to “God of Carnage” as an example. She plays Annette, a high-strung, almost mousey woman who is married to Alan, a type-A high-powered lawyer. They visit another couple, Michael and Veronica, he is a self-made wholesaler and she writes lofty books.

The visit is an attempt by the four civilized and successful grownups to try to amicably settle a schoolyard fight between their 12-year-old sons.

Rabine said that what the adults discover over the 90-minute play is, “The truth is, few of us ever move far from the playground. As tensions escalate, the adults regress. Instead of defending our children, each person releases the child within us.”

The result, she says is “a shockingly funny piece of theater that permits us to say some terrible things to each other. That’s why it’s called a comedy of manners without the manners,” said Rabine, who calls “God of Carnage” “the most physically challenging and grueling play I’ve ever worked on, and that includes those five-act plays of Shakespeare.”

She said the audience will know and identify with the characters. Rabine is a mother of a 14-year-old son, but doesn’t feel the play is specific to her experience as a parent. “The play is grounded in real life but it’s about a bigger subject,” she said. “I think this is the first time the characters have dropped their masks to reveal what they think has been hidden — even from them. The question that has to be answered at the end of the play is “Do we learn anything from this?’ ”

Rabine has appeared at Capital Rep before. She played the narrator in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” acted in “A Christmas Story” and performed the play-stealing role of the maid in “Boston Marriage.” You might recognize her from the local television commercial as the woman who is taken advantage of by a bully auto shop mechanic.

She conceded that living in Saratoga makes being a professional actress more complicated. “We actors in the Capital Region have to work twice as hard to be a professional. There is not a single day that goes by that I don’t think and work on some matter that might further my career.”

It is critical to travel to New York or Boston auditions on a regular basis, she said. “It’s not only to be seen. It’s important to demonstrate to producers and directors that you are willing to make sacrifices. And, if cast, you’ll continue to sacrifice.”

She’s won recent roles in Massachusetts and Vermont and just finished a play in Poughkeepsie. Basically, her rule of thumb is to work close enough to get home sometime during the run.

“That means the West Coast is out,” she said, adding “at least for now.” College is in her son’s near future. “As his tether gets longer, so does mine,” she said.

It’s a continuous struggle to work as a professional in theater, but Rabine insists having time with her enormously supportive husband and her son is worth it. And, she loves living in Saratoga and the Capital District. “To be able to work in a great play at a great theater and know I am contributing to the culture of my community is worth any sacrifice. As I said before, I’m a lucky, lucky girl.”

God of Carnage

Where: Capital Repertory Theater, 111 N. Pearl St., Albany

When: Preview Friday through Sunday; opens Tuesday, May 1; Tuesday through Sunday through May 27

Tickets: $20 to $60 weekends; $20 to $60 weekdays; $16 students; call 445-7469 or go to


Photo Credit: Brigitte Viellieu-Davis, left, and Brenny Rabine in a scene from “God of Carnage,” a dramatic comedy opening Tuesday, May 1, at Capital Rep. Joe Schuyler photo

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