PLAYBILL BRIEF ENCOUNTER With Yvonne Strahovski, Golden Boy's Incandescent Lorna Moon

By Mervyn Rothstein
16 Dec 2012

Strahovski and Seth Numrich in Golden Boy.
Photo by Paul Kolnik
Tell me about Lorna, and how you see this 1937 woman.
YS: Lorna is a survivor. I think she has had an incredibly harsh upbringing — it says in the play that her father is somewhere in the world, he's a drunk, she doesn't know him, he wasn't there for her, her mother's dead and she's had to fend for herself. I think she's very smart. She's witty, but she's harboring a lot of hurt inside, so she has had to put up a very tough exterior. It's really beautiful to see that exterior crumble in the play when she's confronted with her feelings for Joe and Joe's feelings for her. It's unexpected, and she doesn't really know what to do with it. She struggles with the loyalty she feels for Tom Moody because she made that choice to be with him, and he needs her. She runs a lot of his business for him. She constantly struggles and constantly hides, and in the course of the play we see her unravel.

You were born and raised in Australia. How did you connect with this very American, East Coast "tramp from Newark," as she calls herself?
YS: I connected with her because of all the layers of her past, the layers that make up her character. There's an element of tragedy about Lorna Moon, and I'm attracted to that as an actress because it allows you to delve deeper and deeper into a character. You have to figure out why she is the way she is and break it down again during the course of the play. It probably is the most challenging role I've ever played. It's complicated, and it's dark. She's just a human being trying to make it in the world, and during those years it was tough.

Could you talk about the rehearsal and the preview process, and director Bartlett Sher, and how you grew in the role?
YS: He really dove into this, and encouraged us to do the same, and pushed us. We talked a lot about what we thought was going on, the nature of Clifford Odets' writing, very colorful and full of subtext. The answers weren't always clearly on the page. There was a lot of exploring to do. I feel myself discovering something new every day, at every performance.

How did Golden Boy happen for you — you've been making TV series and movies, with much success. How did you suddenly wind up on Broadway?
YS: I was in Melbourne at the beginning of this year shooting the movie "I, Frankenstein" [further adventures of the monster, due out next year, with Bill Nighy and Aaron Eckhart]. During that time I had some days off to go and check out the Melbourne [International] Comedy Festival, and I ended up seeing all those standup comedians onstage, and I got nostalgic. I wondered what it would be like to be onstage again, because I hadn't done that in six or seven years. It inspired me a bit, and when my agent called and said there's this great role, you should look at this, I thought why not. I hadn't looked at any theatre because I've been so focused on film and television, and I thought I'll go in and see if I can even do a theatre audition. We'll start with that. And I guess the rest is history. Here I am.