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THE CREATIVE PROCESS: Spotlight on Deborah Strang

By A Noise Within
October 21, 2015

Rafael Goldstein (Chris Keller) and Deborah Strang (Kate Keller) in All My Sons.
Rafael Goldstein (Chris Keller) and Deborah Strang (Kate Keller) in All My Sons.

“Deborah Strang outdoes herself in this performance, one of her very best I have seen.”
-Daniel Lowenstein, Director, UCLA Center for the Liberal Arts and Free Institutions (CLAFI)

Ms. Strang sheds light to the creative process of character development:

Kate has watched her two sons and all of the neighborhood children grow up. They’ve played in her backyard all of their lives. She made them grape drink from the grapes in her arbor–I even looked up a recipe she might have used. She made them sandwiches. To further the process, I asked all the young actors to share pictures of themselves when they were babies, age 6-ish, and as gawky teens. So now when I say to George, “You can’t fool me, I diapered you,” I don’t see Aaron, I see that chubby-cheeked baby.

ANW's All My Sons family portraits.
ANW’s All My Sons family photos.

When I describe Frank, the next-door neighbor, as “that big dope next door, who never reads anything but Andy Gump,” I see the dorky little boy with the Indian headdress. Annie becomes the little girl missing her two front teeth. Chris is that stunningly beautiful boy with the haunted look in his eyes. Lydia is the beauty in her prom dress. It personalizes each of these relationships for me. For my missing son Larry, I have pictures of my brother with his gun holster and cowboy.

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