Interview by Laura Ng
From training in traditions from Stanislavsky to commedia dell’arte, from performing with companies from Woman’s Will to Mugwumpin, from teaching dance to cohosting local storytelling event The Shout, there’s very little Rami Margron isn’t willing to try. Learn more about this professionally polyglot performer!
|TBA featured member Rami Margron. Photo: Bethany Hines
Tell us about your artistic path and process.
I was blessed to go to Camp Winnarainbow, a circus and performing arts hippie utopian summer camp, from age 10 to adult. We performed all day. We learned about social justice and possibility. That’s where I started doing improv comedy, playing broad characters, creating work, choreographing, appreciating absurdism, etc.
I have no degrees. I’m a high school dropout. I went to community college for a few years and took classes at the Bennett Theatre Lab, which taught the Stanislavsky Method of Physical Actions, voice and Shakespeare. (Funnily, my first acting job after my deep Stanislavsky training was doing broad, multicharacter children’s theatre tours!) I take workshops where and when I can; last year I took a commedia dell’arte workshop with Stephen Buescher. It was amazing. He is a Bay Area treasure, and you should all sign up the next time he offers a class!
I had/have pretty low self-esteem (like so many of us) and I didn’t build up the courage to go to auditions until sometime in my 20s. I also used to be really hard on myself because I’m not a particularly analytical person. Acting school made me feel like I was lazy, inarticulate, and not smart because I couldn’t name my actions and objectives. My script isn’t full of markings. I don’t take lots of notes. It’s taken me years to accept that my more intuitive, less analytical way is equally valid.
I’m also a dabbler. I’ve probably studied 20 styles of dance. I travel a lot. I dance everywhere I go. I’ve been in a handful of dance companies over the years. In the 90s, my friends and I had an African Diaspora dance theatre troupe called Project Reconnect. We would kick it and make art together, sometimes doing educational assemblies in schools, sometimes performing after midnight in clubs. We traveled together and tried to teach ourselves as much as we could. We did traditional folkloric dance and music, as well as hip hop fusion. Good times! I am so lucky to have been a part of that extraordinary group of artists and historians.
I stopped dancing for a few years because it seemed like there wasn’t enough time to rehearse both dance and theatre. I am so glad I’ve found ways to reintegrate dance into my life. I still prioritize theatre, and I don’t dance enough, but I am blessed to have a couple of companies I work with, and I can often squeeze a dance performance into a window between plays!
Do you have any bucket-list roles?
I don’t have a role that I’ve always wanted to play. I don’t tend to think like that. I just like trying things. I am happiest when whatever I’m doing is totally different than whatever I did last.
Favorite project/production that you were part of or inspired by?
Aaaah! So many. In my first show with Crowded Fire, my feet never touched the ground. My character lived on a basketball hoop and pole. (They gave me a couple of Chinese pole acro lessons.) I would exit up the pole and lie on a little black platform in the grid when I wasn’t in the scene. That was fun. I love the shows I’ve done with Mugwumpin. Future Motive Power (the remount of the remount) is one of my very favorites. All the shows I’ve done with Shotgun Players have been so dear to me, Precious Little being the sweetest of all. My two favorite entrances of all time were both in postapocalyptic plays by Liz Duffy Adams. Working with [all-female Shakespeare company] Woman’s Will taught me so much. I learned so much from my fellow actors about how to speak Shakespeare naturally in last year’s (almost) all-female Twelfth Night at Cal Shakes. And I just had a dreamy experience playing Moll Flanders at Pacific Rep. I could go on...
What off-resume skills or experiences have made a surprising contribution to your art?
Camp counselor. Losing my parents.
What do you like about the Bay Area theatre scene, and being a TBA member?
I love new work and weird plays. I love Crowded Fire and the other companies committed to these plays. I love that there are so many great playwrights among us.
Anything coming up soon that you are excited about?
I’m currently rehearsing Much Ado at Cal Shakes. At the time of this interview, I have no idea what it will be like! Can’t wait to find out.
Theatre Bay Area members: Creative. Committed. Community.