Resident Company "Snapshot" - Norma Roth

May 11, 2017

A member of our resident acting company as well as a professional theatre designer, Norma's previous credits on the Rosebud Theatre stage include  ‘Curious Savage’, ‘Cariboo Magi’, ‘Voice of the Prairie’, ‘A Rosebud Country Christmas’, and 'The Miracle Worker', among others. Some of her many design credits include ‘Valley Song’, ‘Last Train to Nibroc’, ‘The Secret Garden’, 'Queen Milli of Galt', 'Gifts of the Magi', and ‘Shadowlands’. Norma is a graduate of Rosebud School of the Arts (FRSA) and the University of Alberta (BFA).

How long have you been part of the ‘Bud?

I came to Rosebud in ’91. I came on a whim, was interested in theatre. Who knew what would happen as the result of one small decision…

You’ve been an integral member of the resident acting company for decades! Do you have a favorite show?

Hmm… not sure about a favorite. Christmas in the Country was pretty amazing. I got to play Mark Lewandowski’s stand up base for one song. Learned like, four notes. Felt so cool, you wouldn’t believe it.

Nathan Schmidt and Norma Roth in Christmas in the Country, Rosebud Theatre 2001. Photo by Morris Ertman.

You’ve also got a degree in theatre design. What’s the best part of the design process for you?

Finding something by chance that is perfect, better than I could have done by my own intention. If I was a spiritual woman, I might suspect someone else was involved :)

What’s the most challenging part?

That moment when you are just over half-way through and you are suddenly struck with the conviction [that] every thing, every single thing, totally sucks. I have learned, over the years, to ignore said conviction.

How do you approach shows differently as an actor vs. a designer?

As a designer, I approach the script with a pen and paper. What is being said about the characters, the location, the time period? Whatever I am responsible for. As an actor, I approach the script with my heart and body. How is this person me? What do I need to do to serve the story?

Coffee or Tea, and how do you take it?

Tea! I cannot stand the sight, taste, or smell of coffee! I would take garlic breath a thousand times over breath laced with the beans.

In ‘The Skin of Our Teeth’, you play a number of roles, but noticeably the Fortune Teller… a woman who calls things as they are. She's strangely capable of recognizing the weight of the time and events taking place around her. Do you identify with those abilities?

I do value truth tellers. The Fortune Teller could use a little more compassion but she is trying to save everyone. She doesn’t candy-coat it or coddle anyone, especially Sabina. The Fortune Teller sees things go round and round, lessons have to be repeated until they actually change the student. Maybe she isn’t compassionate because she knows it will keep happening come what may. That must be tiresome after the 2493rd time. I think life is very much like her character. Life isn’t there to make you feel better about yourself. You have to figure out how to manage. There are many, many resources available to help you figure out how to manage, but you have to make your own choices.

Norma Roth as the Fortune Teller in The Skin of Our Teeth. Photo by Morris Ertman.

What would the Fortune Teller say to you?

I think she would share her beer with me.

Anything unexpected happening in performances?

I didn’t think people would see the Fortune Teller as beautiful. So many people gush all over me in that costume. I feel gritty and hard and immovable. So I was surprised.

Has Rosebud changed much over the years? Anything you hope it might still become?

Oh, Rosebud is always changing! So much. When the place is required to get on with the next step, somehow it does. It just keeps going. That has to be supported, progress and all that, but I do hope what I loved and still love about it stays safe.

Any pearls of acting wisdom you hold on to?

Stop dropping the ends of your sentences. If people can’t hear you, no one will care. I think my best trait as an actor is that I want to communicate with the audience. I really want to communicate. I could spend the rest of time getting better at that.

How about for design?

If there is something in your design that doesn’t really tell the story, you don’t need it. Make sure what you create needs to be there.

Resident Company "Snapshot" - Norma Roth

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