Cultural Currents: Your role as Reno Sweeney requires strong singing and dancing, as well as comedic timing. How do you prepare for such a performance?
Ashley Cowl: Yes, it does require stamina! It was imperative for me to be solid with the material before my first rehearsal so I felt free to nuance each element. Reno is bold and lives life out loud, but it’s always important to make those types of characters real people with a point of view as well.
CC: The original production was influenced by The Great Depression. Does this revival reflect our era of COVID pandemic experience?
Cowl: Our show is an entirely new version with an updated script that addresses the insensitivities found in previous productions. In times of collective crisis, we see the best next to the worst of society. Tension and fear often cause misdirected blame- sometimes directly aggressive, sometimes in micro-aggressions like mockery and jokes. In a post-COVID era, there’s an opportunity to evolve and resolve the narrative, and as artists, we have a responsibility to do just that.
CC: Our readers are ferry riders, so we’d like to hear your thoughts on waterfront themes expressed in this production and your own feelings about The Bay.
Cowl: The action of the play takes place entirely on an ocean liner, so there’s no shortage of nautical references! “There’s no cure like travel” is a sentiment shared by the passengers in our show, and I’m sure many of your readers enjoying the scenic trip across the Bay would agree. What a relaxing way to take in the city skyline and the natural beauty of the Bay. Bon Voyage!