Debbie Maslowsky as Clara in Miracle on South Division Street (Bruce Monk)
Commitment to the character, the story, the process is the same no matter what the role or genre.
—Debbie Maslowsky, actor
Actor Debbie Maslowsky has been entertaining Winnipeg audiences for more than two decades, singing a pretty tune and twirling across the floor, frequently on Rainbow Stage.
Now she's nabbed a lead role on the mainstage in Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre's current production of Miracle on South Division Street in her very first non-singing role.
SCENE wanted to find out what the experience has been like for her.
How do you feel about your first lead role on the mainstage at MTC?
Like I'm the luckiest person in the world! I did have another incredible opportunity to play the role of Mrs. Tottendale in The Drowsy Chaperone in 2010 (a co-production with Theatre Calgary). That was another 'horseshoe' experience for me. It's an incredible honour to be part of a company like MTC no matter the amount of stage time, but this is really amazing.
What is your first on-stage memory?
I think I was in grade 2. I was a Chanukah candle and I wore a white blouse and an orange skirt.
How have your myriad past productions prepared you for this role?
Every experience--in life or on stage--prepares you for the next role.
Commitment to the character, the story, the process is the same no matter what the role or genre. In a musical, in addition to the dialogue, there are also lyrics, choreography, singing the right notes at the right time...So lots going on--and it's soooo important to realize it's not all about singing and dancing. If your character isn't believable or real, no one really cares if you can do a time step or sing triplets on a high C.
I think it's working with (director) Robbie Patterson and this incredible stage family that has prepared me the most for this role. And experiences in my own family life to be the matriarch of quirky Nowak family.
It may sound hokey, but I did grow up in the most wonderful and supportive family--nothing like the Nowaks, who are constantly imparting opinions as truth. Of course, my siblings and I argued, our parents played refs, we went through some very sad times together and some incredibly happy experiences (and still do) together.
What it comes down to for both the Maslowskys and the Nowaks, it's about family and being supportive. You may not agree with all of your child's decisions (no matter the age of the child), but s/he is still your child and you're there for them. That's something to which I can totally relate. Supportive and caring, even after some yelling, crying and laughing--that's family.