Rapture, Blister, Burn – Get to Know Renee Werbowski

20% Theatre Company is thrilled to present Rapture, Blister, Burn by Gina Gionfriddo at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage April 26 – May 10, 2014. In the weeks leading up to the show, we are giving you the chance to learn a little bit about the artists involved in the creation of this production. For this interview, we’d love for you to meet actor, Renee Werbowski.

Renee Werbowski_2895

Can you tell us a little but about yourself and your background? How/when/why did you get into theatre?

I have a Theatre degree from Augsburg College. Though, at first, I figured I’d better study something “serious”, so I thought I’d be a chem major- get a lucrative job in the cosmetics industry.  Ha!  That lasted exactly a day and a half, because though I made good grades in math/science in HS, I dropped my first chem class (it was way way, way over my head) and swapped it for a film class (this was a suggestion from my French TA).  And who was I kidding anyway~ I’ve always wanted to be an actress.  I used to do commercials into the mirror for various products in the bathroom when I was only 5.  I’d do Cher impersonations for my babysitters.  I got a tape recorder for Christmas one year and did Soap Operas, commercials, man-on-the-street interviews and variety shows on it. Somebody somewhere has evidence of this on cassette tape.

The first show I got cast in after college was A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the MN Shakespeare Co.  After that, I sort of “fell into” VO work and commercials~ what I wanted to do all along.

Tell us a little about the character you will be playing in Rapture, Blister, Burn.

My character is Catherine, and she is having a midlife crisis of identity and maturity.  She’s missing a feeling of comfort and “home” in her life.  She’s having trouble coping with these feelings.  And, she isn’t thinking clearly about the solutions, to this loneliness, that present themselves to her.

In what ways do you personally relate to this character?

I can relate to Catherine in how I can find myself wanting something- missing something but upon review, I see that I haven’t put forth any energy at all into attaining that thing.

What is exciting about your character? What are some of the challenges that you, as an actor, are facing in portraying this character?

Its going to be challenging to play an accomplished, confident person who is also at the most vulnerable point in her life so far.  There are layers here, layers and layers that have to be included in the performance.

Rapture, Blister, Burn is often called “a feminist play”. How would you describe the play? How do you feel about feminism and what it signifies today?

This play IS a feminist play.  It discusses the past and the current state of feminism.  It explores, in a very funny and intelligent way, the newest frontiers in feminism and where we all fit into it.

How do you personally balance the expectations of being female in our society with the concepts of feminism in your daily life?

Well in the beginning, I was very attached to the idea that I had to make the exact same financial contribution as my mate and he should do the exact same amount of laundry (Avery’s 50/50 theory). However, I have tended over the years to take the female house-stuff role.   This arrangement has just happened to settle that way~or did it?  Good question for discussion later.  Though my husband is 100% supportive of my two freelance jobs, what I still struggle with as a woman is reminding myself that housework IS a valuable contribution.  The money I make IS a contribution.  And, to beware of when I start to think that presenting beauty/sexiness is surmount to anything else I have to present (at a party or an audition).  That notion still creeps into my mind alot and produces so much anxiety.  And now that I’m getting older, it’s even more important that I keep that sh… stuff in check!

What else do you do in the world, outside of theatre and/or working on this production?

I am also a fitness instructor and personal trainer.  These days, I teach mostly Yoga.

Favorite restaurant to eat out at in the Twin Cities?

Yes, all of ’em.  I hate to cook.

Where did you grow up? Where are you from?

I have always lived in St.Paul/Mpls.

Do you have any pets?

I have no pets (though we will get a dog. when we’re really ready. it’s a huge responsibility.)