Shout Out: Claire Rutkowski, a receptionist by day and actress, theater company member at her other job

Chicago Tribune 1 day ago

Actor Claire Rutkowski has found an artistic home with the Saint Sebastian Players. She is playing the role of Emily in Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town,” her first role since being named an associate member of the Chicago-based company. Performances are Oct. 25-Nov. 17 at St. Bonaventure.

Q: How would you describe Emily?

A: Emily is your typical girl-next-door who is so full of life and curiosity. She wants nothing more than to be loved and to be seen. She has all these dreams that she wants to pursue. But unfortunately she only gets to pursue so much because she dies so early.

Q: What makes her an interesting character to play?

A: I relate a lot to her in the sense that when I was her age I didn’t really have the confidence to speak up and possibly hurt somebody’s feelings when I felt something was wrong. She is very tactful in how she goes about confronting people or taking on new challenges.

Q: Why did you want to be a Saint Sebastian Players associate member?

A: I first performed in their “10-Minute Play Festival,” the first year it began in 2018. I felt very comfortable there; I felt very welcomed. I met some very fun, inspiring, amazing people. There’s no other artistic home that I would feel more welcomed. They educate you; they encourage you.

Q: What was your first show?

A: “Three Billy Goats Gruff” in an acting class with the Arlington Heights Park District. I was three. They would have the acting instructor onstage with you saying your line for you, then you would repeat it but you had a costume and you had blocking.

Q: Where else did you perform as a child?

A: I took summer classes at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre for six summers. I performed professionally for the first time in their 2004 production of “A Christmas Carol.”

Q: Do you have a day job?

A: I’m a receptionist at an advertising agency.

Q: Besides your theater activities, what’s your favorite Arlington Heights memory?

A: My friends and I would hang out in that downtown area quite a bit. We felt so adult.

Q: Do you have a favorite Arlington Heights restaurant?

A: I loved California Pizza Kitchen. I remember going to Carlos & Carlos a couple of times with my family and they have some pretty awesome food.

Q: What do you do for exercise?

A: I walk everywhere.

Q: What would be your dream vacation?

A: I really, really, really want to go to Europe—London, Paris, Ireland.

Q: What movie would you recommend?

A: My favorite movie of all time is “Submarine.”

Q: What TV show can’t you miss?

A: A show on Netflix called “Sex Education.” I binged that in one day.

Q: What book are you reading?

A: I have a goal to read every single Charles Dickens books. I started that in high school.

Q: What advice would you give young people who want to become actors?

A: Keep your head up. If there are any people who are constantly supporting you, keep them close. If anybody’s trying to tear you down, walk away from them.

Myrna Petlicki is a freelancer.

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