Theatre is all about artifice, so there’s no shock in disclosing that the lead character in the Players Club of Swarthmore’s play Dear Edwina is older than she’s made out to be. Really, though: 22 year old Kara McGee of Swarthmore, title character of SPC’s new children’s play, looks closer in age to her character, 13-year old advice columnist Edwina, than to many of her contemporaries.
“Being cast as a 13-year old is perfect, because I’m really a kid, or at least I really feel like a kid,” Kara says. The Temple University senior is totally in her element with younger actors. “I direct and work with students at Upper Darby Summer Stage, and I have one rule there: have fun! If you aren’t having fun doing it, no one is going to have fun watching.”
Kara definitely expects to have fun in this Children’s Series show: the Raymond W. Smith Stage at PCS is a few feet away from the crowd, engaging the actors with kids in the audience. In fact, she’ll be literally carried through the crowd, and looks forward to putting herself out there as a comic actor, a singer and a dancer in this feel-good musical, with rewards for adults in the audience as well as kids.
Kara said of the play by the authors of Junie B. Jones: The Musical, “It’s shockingly well written. When [producer] Cathy Baum e-mailed to see if I was interested in the role, I hadn’t heard of Dear Edwina. PCS is like a second home to me, so I gave the play a chance, and I was really impressed when I read it.”
Edwina Spoonapple is a small town girl with the aspiration to make it big as an advice giver. Funny and true songs and situations advance the story as Edwina, her friends and family make her dreams a reality.
In the real world, Kara’s future is under way. With less than a year to go to finish her theater studies degree at Temple, she is into “tons of stuff,” but is particularly inclined to go west and try film acting, or to stay in the east and work on her craft as a director. And she has a decidedly adult mindset.
“Theater is all about who you know — like Cathy Baum thinking of me for this role,” Kara said. “The theater community is so small, you have to watch yourself and never burn any bridges.”