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Mary Cochran

Mary Cochran is no stranger to the stage. She knows full well the joys and challenges, having appeared in many shows at Theatre B, including The Year of Magical Thinking, Rabbit Hole, Wintertime, and Frozen, to name a few. But when Mary auditioned for Scrooge Macbeth; or, A Shakespearean Christmas, she did not know quite what to expect. She knew the script was going to change through the process, but she didn’t anticipate a different challenge: “When (Scrooge director) David Wintersteen called and asked if I’d play the part of the Stage Manager, as well as understudy Sylvia and perform that part the weekend of December 5th, I was like ‘oooooookay, how is this going to work?’ It was a bit terrifying. But I knew that David wouldn’t have asked if he didn’t think I was capable. It was flattering to think that he had complete faith in my talent and abilities. So I prepared as best I could. But I couldn’t prepare for this past Saturday.”

This past Saturday Mary had to take the stage a week early when fellow cast member Anna Pieri came down the flu. “It was surreal, life imitating art that way, because in the show, over half of the cast for A Winter’s Tale gets sick and it’s not ‘The show must go on’, it’s ‘A show must go on. Any show.’

So with half of the day to prepare, Mary stepped onstage Saturday night with, as the character Sylvia says in the show, ‘full-bore linear panic’. “Not only was it a matter of questioning whether or not I knew the lines, it was the fact that I had never actually walked through the entire show. I had never done the costume changes (there are 6), but I couldn’t think about it too hard. I just had to throw that sh*t on and get back onstage.”

The Year of Magical Thinking

Mary in ‘The Year of Magical Thinking’ at Theatre B

In spite of the challenges – of maybe because of them – Mary and the whole cast made it through the show. “It was a huge confidence builder. Yes, I was ready. It made me realize that we are very much a team, that I wasn’t alone. My fellow actors were going to bring me forward, no one would leave you hanging.”

Mary in ‘Frozen’ at Theatre B

With the exception of playing Sylvia last Saturday and this upcoming weekend, Mary plays the Stage Manager, a curmudgeonly character who hates Christmas medleys and learns a thing or two about Christmas cheer. “After our first workshop, I went up to (playwright) David MacGregor and told him ‘you need to expand this Stage Manager character, mostly so I get to be onstage more (laughs). It was an honor that the playwright crafted a role around the actress (more laughter). I don’t know if he really did, but in my heart I like to think so. It’s just been an incredible experience to originate a role, knowing that I’ll get to buy a published script, open it up and see my name. If I never get to do another piece of theatre again, I’ll be happy to go out on this one.”