By Frankie Kujawa
Running through Sunday, April 2nd, TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS continues to tug at the heartstrings of audiences at Baltimore Center Stage. The performance is based on the best-selling book by Cheryl Stayed, and adapted for the stage by Academy Award nominee Nia Vardalos (MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING). The performance explores Strayed's time as The Rumpus' anonymous advice columnist, Dear Sugar. This play personifies the questions and answers that "Sugar" was publishing online from 2010-2012. Cast-member Caro Dubberly recently chatted about their role as one of the many letter writers in this production.
Frankie Kujawa: In your own words, could you describe what audiences can expect from this performance of TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS?
Caro Dubberly: Laughter and tears, sometimes right after each other at breakneck speed. Communion with fellow audience members as well as the actors onstage. A deeper appreciation for the little things in life, as well as themselves as human beings. Catharsis, introspection, and joy.
Frankie Kujawa: Could you describe a little about your character in TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS?
Caro Dubberly: I play one of the Letter Writers, meaning I get to embody 20-ish different characters in the span of the 90-minute piece. Each character was lovingly (and sometimes goofily) crafted in the rehearsal room under the deft direction of Ken-Matt Martin[Director and Interim Artistic Director], who made sure that we never forgot the fact that every single one of these letters, and every single one of these people, are real. As a non-binary actor, it was especially important to me that Ken-Matt allowed me to explore human beings that span the entire gender spectrum.
Frankie Kujawa: As a performer, what went into preparing for a role such as this?
Caro Dubberly: The table-work discussions we had as a group were so helpful in crafting this world and each character we play. On a completely different level, the material deals with such heavy themes that self-care and rest were vital contributors to a successful rehearsal and performance period. I’m so grateful that Ken-Matt and the leadership of Baltimore Center Stage created space for us to have real rest during our weeks together, and made sure that the humanity of the entire team was the number one priority while putting up this production.
Frankie Kujawa: Why is this such an important play for Baltimore audiences to experience?
Caro Dubberly: There are so many Maryland artists involved in this production, which is kind of unique for a theater at this level. It’s really special to bring this story about community to a theater that cares so deeply about its community, and in a city that does as well.
Frankie Kujawa: Baltimore Center Stage has brought many fantastic and thought-provoking productions to Baltimore this season. In your words, could you describe performing in a theater such as Baltimore Center Stage?
Caro Dubberly: It’s truly a dream come true to create theater alongside the many brilliant artists who have worked at Baltimore Center Stage. It’s still kind of a “pinch me” moment for me, because there are so many people there I admire and look up to, and getting to play in the same room as them is unreal.
For more information, please visit: www.centerstage.org/plays-and-events/tiny-beautiful-things/