A Day in the Life…with Kerry Washington

Photos   A Day in the Life…with Kerry Washington
Kerry Washington, who makes her Broadway debut in the world premiere of David Mamet's Race, gave Playbill an exclusive look inside rehearsal in the final weeks leading up to her big debut.

The Bronx-born actress is a well-known face on the big screen, starring in movies like "Ray" and "The Last King of Scotland."


I get up in the morning and go to the gym. It's important for me to have a physical, craft oriented check-in…yoga and running lines, or the gym and a voice lesson. Some sort of physical and mental artistic preparation for the day. I've never done a run this intense before. I'm trying to get as much sleep as possible…eating well and making sure I'm going to the gym to keep my endurance up. Our stage is raked, and as the only girl in the show, I'm on a rake and then on an extra rake because I'm in heels! So I have to make sure that my core and my alignment is in place.

Off to rehearsal!:
I don't like being late for rehearsal, so I usually go down really early. I was taking the subway to rehearsal, but I'm not really doing that anymore because the one day I ended up being late because I was recognized by a group of high school kids and it got a little intense so I got off the subway and ended up being late, which I hate!

Stop into the Chelsea Market:
We're across from the Chelsea Market so I like to go in there and get my lunch for the day. Sometimes there are classical performances inside the market. It's a good start to the day. Getting down to business:
I had to go to Washington, so I was gone for a little bit, and when I came back, they put up a "Welcome Home" sign for me! It's such a close-knit cast. It feels really apropos to be "welcomed back." I'm back in New York; I'm back home in the theatre. I fell in love with acting on the stage, not in front of a camera, so it feels like returning to my roots.

We're rehearsing at the Atlantic Theatre Company. It's very cool to be in a space that Mamet founded — to be in David's home. There are all these photos on the wall of him as a very young man first starting out. NYU has a partnership with them, so you hear the students doing warm-ups and going over their lines. It's nice to be sharing the space with kids who are in college and prepping for a life in the theatre.

Doing the work:
It's very complicated work, which I'm very grateful for because we'll be doing it for a long time, and I feel like I'll keep discovering new things about this play…it's very layered and complicated…in-your-face but also nuanced. It's exciting to be working with three other actors that are very smart, but at the same time, we're all grappling with the material. It's fun being the only girl too…I'm hearing a lot of jokes that I normally wouldn't hear.

I missed theatre like the way you miss a friend or your hometown. It had been a really long time. So I'm just really excited to be back. I feel a different kind of excitement because it's brand new. We're all discovering every day — there's no previous production to reference. Mamet has been really generous and very supportive. He’s an incredibly supportive director. He knows what he wants and he's very clear. He cares a great deal about the play and about his actors. It's very hard work, but it’s like that old saying: "If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life." It's exciting to sit on the other side of the room and watch him listening and listening and listening and you'll see him rewrite a line for you. And you know — this is history!

Winding down at the end of the day:
I like to go for a walk to unwind at the end of the day. Being back in New York it's great to walk around…I feel like I forgot how to walk! Living in L.A., we just don't walk as much.

I also get to wind down from the intensity of the play by tending to the other work of my career. Whether it's reading scripts, catching up on my emails, working for Loreal or Movado… there's a whole other life I have to tend to at the end of the day.

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