At the Finish Line with Tara Sissom

At the Finish Line with Tara Sissom

Posted by: Elizabeth Elliott at 06/15/2012 01:05 PM

Six weeks ago we checked in with The Iceman Cometh’s Tara Sissom as she and her cast mates began what was likely to be one of the most exhausting (and exhilarating) experiences of their stage careers. With nearly 40 performances of the four hour and 45-minute epic ahead of her, we wanted to see how she was feeling as the show opened and compare it to how she felt with all those performances behind her. Now, with only three performances of Iceman left, we caught up with Tara and asked her the same set of questions as before—check out her old interview to see how her answers have changed.

What are your preshow rituals?
Consuming copious amounts of caffeine and sugar, while solving the world's problems in the alley with Stephen Ouimette.

How do you feel at the beginning of the performance?
Excited to see what the show has in store for us that night. Each performance is so dynamic; you never know what will happen.

Favorite line from The Iceman Cometh?
I have lots of favorites from other actors—again, too many to count. My favorite line to say is "Da big boob.” I've noticed it creeping into my own vernacular.

What is your favorite moment in the show?
I don't think I have a favorite—not for lack of incredible moments onstage, but because I love so many of them. In a five-hour show with such a talented ensemble and such a rich script, it's hard to find a beat or line that can't be topped by another. The show, for me, is a series of favorites.

One word to describe your experience on stage?

How do you feel at the end of the performance?
Proud, of everyone.

Most interesting/unique thing about your character?
She makes enough dough as a tart to pay off Rocky, make rent, buy drinks and take trips to Coney Island. Plus, in her closet are the following items: a velvet party dress, red leather gloves, a yellow lace scarf, a pearl-lined purse, a pearl necklace and a peacock-feathered hat. Pearl knows how to make a buck.

How has the show evolved from opening week to now?
The show has transformed so immensely from opening by way of hundreds of subtleties shifting, settling or being discovered by the ensemble daily. Things that an audience might never be able to differentiate after a single performance, the actors are finely aware of and reactive to. Changes in dialogue or unforeseen mistakes are obvious, but tiny details like a hand gesture, the clink of a glass, the shifting of a light cue, a different intention behind a line—these things shape a show. After 40 performances you come to a place of familiarity where it seems set in stone, but when 18 people actively explore the possibilities in the details and find something they didn't the night before, then the change is immense. 

What will you miss the most about The Iceman Cometh
Oh god. The people. Always the people.

Future projects lined up?

If you could summarize the take-away from your experience in one word, what would it be?

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