If you’ve had the opportunity to see Mothers and Sons, you no doubt noticed the quiet power that Alana Barragan-Scott has onstage as Katharine Girard. This is Alana’s sixth show with Talking Horse Productions; she has previously performed in Crimes of the Heart, Praying Small, The Sudden Glide, Rapture Blister Burn, and Bingo the Winning Musical. Outside of Talking Horse, Alana has performed in numerous shows in Mid-Missouri, and has even had the chance to work with her children and husband. Her children are certainly an influence on her work, as she started acting fifteen years ago when one of her children did; as she mentions, “I was simply fascinated by it.”
Family also influences Alana’s view of her character in Mothers and Sons, and the way she approaches the play and the rehearsal process. Here are some of her thoughts.
1. Have you read or seen? If so, how did you find it helpful—or not—in creating your character?
I did have the chance to seeAndre's Mother. It is set closer to the time Andre dies and ends with the memorial service in Central Park. Many references inMothers and Sonsgo back to that time. It gave me ideas for helping fill in background details as I worked on my character and better understanding some references inMothers and Sons. An interesting thing aboutAndre's Motheris that Katharine's mother, Andre's grandmother, is in it. She was depicted as having a better relationship with Andre than Katharine did, which reinforced, to me, how alone Katharine feels, and always felt.
2. What similarities & differences do you see between yourself and Katharine?
That's an interesting question. I have children. Having expectations for them and wanting them to succeed as happy, productive human beings is part of being a parent, and that's very relatable to me. But Katharine heaped such enormous expectations on Andre. When those expectations weren't met and things went very, very differently than she had hoped and planned on, her heart closed into a hard fist. The world also changed a lot from when Katharine left New York to the time Andre died to the time of this play. I am a little younger than Katharine but I've lived through a lot of those changes. I think they're fascinating and good for society and humanity, but Katharine simply can't handle them.
3. What is your favorite thing about the rehearsal process for?
The Katharine character is complicated because for most of the play, she does not say, directly, what she wants and to some extent does not entirely understand it herself. It was wonderful to work with this amazing director and cast, exploring the meaning of this very rich script and having the "aha" moments when we realized we had figured something out.
4. What do you hope the audience comes away from this play thinking about, talking about, or asking themselves?
This play represents four generations and each has a very different perspective on family and sexuality. The characters are so human and real, and I hope that allows people to consider the different perspectives in a thoughtful way and to talk about them with one another. We need to have more thoughtful, in-depth conversations about difficult topics, as a society.