Sarah Rudinoff in City Arts Magazine Mar 25, 2016
Like many great performers, Rudinoff blends professional craft and personal charm in equal measure. But unlike many great performers, the breadth of roles Rudinoff chooses or creates seems limitless. Whether she’s delivering intimate, rapid-fire dialogue in Dayna Hanson’s poignant dance theatre piece The Clay Duke, camping it up in Wes Hurley’s Capitol Hill or wailing in turned-up-to-11 grunge musical These Streets, each role is distinct yet instantly recognizable, imbued with something ineffably Rudinoff.
NowNowNow, her fourth solo show, wades into the murky waters of self-definition, exploring the permeable barrier between personal and professional personas. “The elevator pitch on this one is really hard,” she says with a laugh. She describes the full-length show, coming to On the Boards this month, as both “absurdist” and “a meditation,” centered on ideas of expression and identity—on the modern self and on how we share that self with the world around us.
The roots of NowNowNow trace back to its precursor, The Pretenders, a 45-minute piece Rudinoff created for a symposium at Smoke Farm a few years ago. The Pretenders was a far-reaching and personal rumination on the metaphorical masks we all wear and why she herself was called to a career built on pretending.
“What took me there?” she wonders, contemplating her original thought process. “What’s free about it and wonderful about it, and in some ways confusing about it for a personal life?”
Rudinoff knew she’d hit on something worth exploring. She joined forces with director and friend David Bennett to refine her ideas and in 2014 she performed a section of the show at On the Boards’ NW New Works festival. The nebulous contemplation on identity that was The Pretenders had crystallized in her brain. Only now it was joined by the influence of social media and the tools we use to imprint our personas onto the world. “Is it possible to share our three-dimensional selves in a two-dimensional medium?” Rudinoff asks.