In Rapture, Blister, Burn, Karen Janes Woditsch plays Gwen, a stay-at-home mother second-guessing her life choices after she reunites with an old college friend. During a recent break from performances, Woditsch sat down to answer a few backstage questions about the play and her life in Chicago.
|(L to R) Mark Montgomery (Don Harper) and Karen Janes Woditsch (Gwen Harper) in Gina Gionfriddo’s Rapture, Blister, Burn, directed by Kimberly Senior
1. Place of birth and/or hometown: I was born in Detroit, but have lived all over the Midwest: Michigan, Ohio, Iowa and finally Chicago, where I have been for the last 27 years. Wow, that dates me.
2. Current obsession (music, TV show, book etc.): I'm a lifelong Doctor Who fan. I recently introduced the series to my 11-year-old son and re-watched the last four doctors with him. I love the band Vintage Trouble. For books, I thought my son would like The Bartimaeus Sequence trilogy, but then I got completely sucked in!
3. Favorite Chicago spot (newly discovered or old favorite): I don't go out often, so old standbys are my go-tos like the Kopi coffee shop in Andersonville and Fernandos, a family restaurant on Lincoln near Addison. For date night we like Bistro Campagne in Lincoln Square.
4. What attracted you to Rapture, Blister, Burn? Working with Kimberly Senior again was the first big draw. After reading the play a couple of times, the role of Gwen both scared and intrigued me because I judged her almost instantly, but then realized I recognized her. Playing a character that makes me feel that way is a challenge, and that's exciting for any actor.
5. Who is the woman that inspires you most? That's hard. I find so many women inspiring. I would say my stepmom, who is politically the opposite of me and despises the word feminist, but she was an educational trail blazer for women. She raised nine kids in addition to rising through the educational ranks from a kindergarten teacher to becoming one of very few female school superintendents. She also served as a president of the American Association of School Administrators. So, without giving her the label of feminist, she certainly gave her male counterparts a run for their money.
6. What should audiences know before seeing Rapture, Blister, Burn? If you come into the theater having an expectation of what you might see, I guarantee you'll be surprised.